Andaman And Nicobar Island

History of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

HISTORY>>Andaman and Nicobar Island

Andaman and Nicobar Island


History of Andaman and Nicobar Island




History of Andaman and Nicobar island starts from very ancient time. Marco Polo, a merchant from Venice, who passed by these island after A.D. 1290 spoke of the Andaman as a "very long island" .He used the word, `Andamanain` considered to be an Arabic dual. The name of Andaman is found in 9th century Arabian literature. This tourist destination spot was used by many Kings from India as the camping location of army troops.
May be in old times, but still contemporary with Hindu navigation, the Barren Island volcano was active and that Brahmin saint Brandon recognised it as the `pit of Hell.` Andaman were on a trade route and, therefore, a fitting rendezvous for pirates. Reference to the Andaman and Nicobar islands is also found in the works of Friar Odaric who passed by the Andaman in A.D. 1322. Nicolo Conti in A.D. 1440 calls the Andaman islands as `Andamania` which he explains to mean, `The Island of Gold`.

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 isolation studies point to habitation going back 30,000 to 60,000 years, well into the Middle Palaeolithic.

Rajendra Cholan I (1014 to 1042 CE) one of the greatest kings of Tamil Chola dynasty occupied Andaman and Nikobar Islands to use it as a strategic naval base to launch a naval expedition against Sriwijaya Empire (a classical Hindu-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'.
Legends in Hindu say's that Name of the island 'Andaman' might have been evolved from Lord 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 settlers of the Danish East India Company arrived on Nicobar Islands on 12 Dec 1755. On Jan 1, 1756, the Nicobar Islands was made a Danish colony and renamed 'New Denmark'. In Dec 1756, the Nicobar Islands was renamed 'Frederiksøerne' (Frederiks Islands). During 1754–1756 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 between 14 Apr 1759 - 19 Aug 1768, from 1787-1807/05, 1814-1831, 1830–1834 and finally from 1848 gradually for good.

From 1 Jun 1778 to 1784, they were occupied by Austria, and renamed 'Theresia Islands', attempting 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.


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


There are 394 islands in the territory having an area of 8,249 km2 (3,185 sq mi). Of these, only 38 are permanently inhabited. The islands extends from 6° to 8° North latitudes and from 92° to 94° East longitudes. The Andaman is separated from the Nicobar group by a channel (the Ten Degree Channel) some 150 km (93 mi) wide. The highest point is located in North Andaman Island (Saddle Peak at 732 m (2,402 ft)). The Andaman group has 325 islands which cover an area of 6,408 km2 (2,474 sq mi) while the Nicobar group has only 24 islands with an area of 1,841 km2 (711 sq mi).
The northernmost point of the Andaman and Nicobar  group is 901 km (560 mi) away from the mouth of the Hooghly River and 190 km (120 mi) from Myanmar. The southernmost island, Great Nicobar's southernmost point, called Indira Point, lies only 150 km (93 mi) from Sumatra in Indonesia. The capital of the union territory, Port Blair, is located 1,255 km (780 mi) from Kolkata, 1,200 km (750 mi) from Visakhapatnam and 1,190 km (740 mi) from Chennai.

For more Information you can read in wikipedia History Of Andaman




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