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First Inhabitants

The Andaman and Nicobar islands have been inhabited for several thousand years, at the very least. The earliest archaeological evidence yet documented goes back some 2,200 years; however, the indications from genetic, cultural and linguistic isolation studies point to habitation going back 30,000 to 60,000 years, well into the Middle Paleolithic. 

In the Andaman Islands, the various Andamanese people maintained their separated existence through the vast majority of this time, diversifying into distinct linguistic, cultural and territorial groups. By the 1850s when they first came into sustained contact by outside groups, the indigenous people of the Andamans were: 

 

  the Great Andamanese, who collectively represented at least 10 distinct sub-groups and languages;

  the Jarawa;

  the Jangil (or Rutland Jarawa);

  the Onge and

  the Sentinelese (most isolated of all the groups).

 

In total, these people numbered somewhere around 7,000 at the time of these first encounters. As the numbers of settlers from the mainland increased (at first mostly prisoners and involuntary indentured labourers and settlers of Bangladeshi refuges, later purposely recruited farmers), these indigenous people lost territory and numbers in the face of punitive expeditions by British troops, land encroachment and the effects of various epidemic diseases. The Jangil and most of the Great Andamanese groups soon became extinct; presently there remain only approximately 400–450 indigenous Andamanese, the Jarawa and Sentinelese in particular maintaining a steadfast independence and refusing most attempts at contact.

 

Andaman & Nicobar

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands (is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean and a Union Territory of India. The territory is located in the Indian Ocean, and geographically is part of Southeast Asia, 150 km (93 mi) north of Aceh in Indonesia and separated from Thailand and Burma by the Andaman Sea. It comprises two island groups, the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands, separated by the 10° N parallel, with the Andamans to the north of this latitude, and the Nicobars to the south. The Andaman Sea lies to the east and the Bay of Bengal to the west. 

 

The territory's capital is the Andamanese town of Port Blair., the total land area of the territory is approximately 6,496 km2 (2,508 sq mi). 

 

British Colonial Period 

After an initial attempt to set up a colony in the islands by the British was abandoned after only a few years (1789–1796), a second attempt from 1858 proved to be more permanent. The primary purpose was to set up a penal colony for dissenters and independence fighters from the Indian subcontinent. The British used the islands as an isolated prison for members of the Indian independence movement. The mode of imprisonment was called Kala pani. The Cellular Jail in Port Blair was regarded as the "Siberia" of British India. The islands were administered as a Chief Commissioner's Province. The British continued their occupancy until the Japanese invasion and occupation of the Andaman Islands during World War II.

 

Pre-Colonial Era

Rajendra Cholan I (1014 to 1042 CE)one of the greatest kings of Tamil Chola dynasty occupied Nikobar Islands to use it as a strategic naval base to launch a naval expedition against Sri Vijaya kingdom(an ancient Malay empire based on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia). The cholas called the 'Nicobar' island as 'Nakkavaram' which is inscribed on the Tanjore inscription of 1050 CE. Nakkavaram in Tamil means "naked man" or "land of the naked" which should have been evolved to the modern name "Nicobar". Marco Polo (12-13th Century CE) also referred this island as 'Necuveran'.

Name of the island 'Andaman' might have been evolved from the Indian monkey god Hanuman. The islands provided a temporary maritime base for ships of the Marathas in the 17th century. The legendary admiral Kanhoji Angre established naval supremacy with a base in the islands and is credited with attaching those islands to India.

Danish occupation of the Nicobar Islands

The history of organized European colonization on the islands began with the Danish East India Company in 1754–1756 when they were administrated under the name of Frederiksøerne from Tranquebar (in continental Danish India); missionaries from the Moravian Church Brethren's settlement in Tranquebar attempted a settlement on Nancowry and died in great numbers from disease; the islands were repeatedly abandoned due to outbreaks of malaria in 1784, 1807-09, 1830–1834 and finally from 1848 gradually for good. Between 1778 and 1783, Austria attempted to establish a colony on the islands on the mistaken assumption that Denmark had abandoned its claims to the islands. Danish involvement ended formally on 16 October 1868 when the Danish rights to the Nicobar Islands were sold to Britain, which made them part of British India by 1869 when the British took possession.

Indrolian Cont

The islands were nominally put under the authority of the Arzi Hukumate Azad Hind of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Netaji visited the islands during the war, and renamed them as "Shaheed-dweep" (Martyr Island) & "Swaraj-dweep" (Self-rule Island). General Loganathan, of the Indian National Army was made the Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. On 22 February 1944 he along with four INA officers—Major Mansoor Ali Alvi, Sub. Lt. Md. Iqbal, Lt. Suba Singh and stenographer Srinivasan—arrived at Lambaline Airport in Port Blair. On 21 March 1944 the Headquarters of the Civil Administration was established near the Gurudwara at Aberdeen Bazaar. On 2 October 1944, Col. Loganathan handed over the charge to Maj. Alvi and left Port Blair, never to return. The islands were reoccupied by British and Indian troops of the 116th Indian Infantry Brigade on 7 October 1945, to whom the remaining Japanese garrison surrendered. At the independence of both India (1947) and Burma (1948), the departing British announced their intention to resettle all Anglo-Indians and Anglo-Burmese on the islands to form their own nation, although this never materialized. It became part of the Indian union in 1956. It was declared a union territory on 1956.  

 

 



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