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Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a
union territory #REDIRECT Union territory#REDIRECT Union territory A union territory ( hi, script=latn, kendraśāsit pradeś, , centrally administered province) is a type of administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , ...
of
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
consisting of 572 islands, of which 38 are inhabited, at the juncture of the
Bay of Bengal The Bay of Bengal is the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five oceanic divisions, covering or 19.8% of the water on Earth's surface. It is bounded by Asia to the north, Africa to th ...

Bay of Bengal
and the
Andaman Sea The Andaman Sea (historically also known as the Burma Sea) is a marginal sea of northeastern Indian Ocean bounded by the coastlines of Myanmar and Thailand along the Gulf of Martaban and west side of the Malay Peninsula, and separated from the B ...

Andaman Sea
. The territory is about north of
Aceh Aceh () is the westernmost province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision ...
in
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
and separated from
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is located at the centre of the Mainland Southeast Asia, Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , wi ...

Thailand
and
Myanmar Myanmar, ); UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John C. Wells, John ...

Myanmar
by the
Andaman Sea The Andaman Sea (historically also known as the Burma Sea) is a marginal sea of northeastern Indian Ocean bounded by the coastlines of Myanmar and Thailand along the Gulf of Martaban and west side of the Malay Peninsula, and separated from the B ...

Andaman Sea
. It comprises two island groups, the
Andaman Islands The Andaman Islands is an archipelago in the northeastern Indian Ocean about southwest off the coasts of Myanmar's Ayeyarwady Region. Together with the Nicobar Islands to their south, the Andamans serve as a maritime boundary between the Bay o ...

Andaman Islands
(partly) and the
Nicobar Islands The Nicobar Islands are an archipelago, archipelagic island chain in the eastern Indian Ocean. They are located in Southeast Asia, north of Aceh on Sumatra, and separated from Thailand to the east by the Andaman Sea. Located southeast of the I ...

Nicobar Islands
, separated by the 150 km wide
Ten Degree Channel The Ten Degree Channel is a channel that separates the Andaman Islands The Andaman Islands is an archipelago in the northeastern Indian Ocean about southwest off the coasts of Myanmar's Ayeyarwady Region. Together with the Nicobar Islands to ...
(on the 10°N parallel), with the Andaman islands to the north of this
latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the ...

latitude
, and the Nicobar islands to the south (or by 179 km). The Andaman Sea lies to the east and the Bay of Bengal to the west. The territory's capital is the city of
Port Blair Port Blair () is the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a union territory of India in the Bay of Bengal. It is also the local administrative sub-division (''tehsil'') of the islands, the headquarters for the Districts of India, d ...
. The total land area of the islands is approximately . The territory is divided into three districts: the Nicobar District with Car Nicobar as its capital, the
South Andaman district South Andaman district is one of the 3 districts of the Indian Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands located in the Bay of Bengal. Port Blair town, the capital of the Union Territory is the district headquarters. The area covered by this di ...
with Port Blair as its capital and the
North and Middle Andaman district North and Middle Andaman district is one of the 3 districts of the Indian Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands located in the Bay of Bengal. Mayabunder town is the district headquarters. The area covered by this district is 3251.85 km ...
with Mayabunder as its capital. The islands host the
Andaman and Nicobar Command The Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) is the first and only tri-service theater command of the Indian Armed Forces The Indian Armed Forces are the armed forces, military forces of the India, Republic of India. It consists of three profess ...
, the only tri-service geographical command of the
Indian Armed Forces The Indian Armed Forces are the military forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (po ...
. The Andaman Islands are also home to the
Sentinelese people The Sentinelese, also known as the Sentineli and the North Sentinel Islanders, are an indigenous people Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distin ...
, an uncontacted tribe. The Sentinelese might be the only people currently known to not have reached further than a Paleolithic level of technology, however, this is disputed, as evidence of metalwork was found on their island.


History


First inhabitants

The earliest
archaeological Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complexity, complex topic or Substance theory, substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better underst ...
evidence documents some 2,200 years. However,
genetic
genetic
and
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior among two or more organisms within the same species, and encompasses any behavior in which one member affects the other. This is due to an int ...

cultural
studies suggest that the indigenous
Andamanese The Andamanese are the various indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular place. T ...
people may have been isolated from other populations during the
Middle Paleolithic The Middle Paleolithic (or Middle Palaeolithic) is the second subdivision of the Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek wikt:παλαιός, palaios - old, lithos - stone), ...
, which ended 30,000 years ago. Since that time, the Andamanese have diversified into linguistically and culturally distinct, territorial groups. The Nicobar Islands appear to have been populated by people of various backgrounds. By the time of European contact, the indigenous inhabitants had coalesced into the
Nicobarese people The Nicobarese people are an Austroasiatic The Austroasiatic languages , also known as Mon–Khmer , are a large language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gest ...

Nicobarese people
, speaking a
Austroasiatic The Austroasiatic languages , also known as Mon–Khmer , are a large language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and wri ...

Austroasiatic
language, and the Shompen, whose language is of uncertain affiliation. Neither language is related to Andamanese.


Chola empire period

Rajendra Chola IRajendra may refer to: * Rajendra (name), a male given name (including a list of persons with the name) * ''Rajendra'' (moth), a moth genus * Rajendra Radar
, a phased array radar {{Disambiguation ...
(1014–1042 CE), used the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as a strategic naval base to launch an expedition against the
Srivijaya Empire Srivijaya (, ; , ) was a Malays (ethnic group), Malay Buddhism, Buddhist thalassocracy, thalassocratic empire based on the island of Sumatra (in modern-day Indonesia), which influenced much of Southeast Asia. Srivijaya was an important centre ...
(modern-day Indonesia). The
Cholas The Chola dynasty ( ta, சோழ வம்சம்) was a Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysian ...
called the island Ma-Nakkavaram ("great open/naked land"), found in the
Thanjavur Thanjavur (), formerly Tanjore,PletcherPletcher is a surname. Notable people with the surname include: * David M. Pletcher (1920–2004), American historian * Todd Pletcher (born 1967), American thoroughbred trainer {{Short pages monitor
Thanjavur
inscription of 1050 CE. European traveller
Marco Polo Marco Polo (, , ; September 15, 1254January 8, 1324) was a merchant, explorer, and writer who travelled through Asia along the between 1271 and 1295. His travels are recorded in ' (also known as ''Book of the Marvels of the World '' and '' ...

Marco Polo
(12th–13th century) also referred to this island as 'Necuverann' and a corrupted form of the Tamil name Nakkavaram would have led to the modern name Nicobar during the British colonial period.


Danish colonial period and British rule

The history of organised European
colonisation Colonization, or colonisation refers to large-scale population movements where the migrants maintain strong links with their or their ancestors' former country, gaining significant privileges over other inhabitants of the territory by such links ...

colonisation
on the islands began when settlers from the
Danish East India Company The Danish East India Company ( da, Ostindisk Kompagni) refers to two separate Danish-Norwegian chartered companies A chartered company is an association with investors or shareholder A shareholder (also known as stockholder) is an individual or ...
arrived in the Nicobar Islands on 12 December 1755. On 1 January 1756, the Nicobar Islands were made a Danish colony, first named New Denmark, and later (December 1756) Frederick's Islands (''Frederiksøerne''). During 1754–1756 they were administrated from
Tranquebar Tharangambadi, formerly Tranquebar ( da, Trankebar, ), is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerabl ...

Tranquebar
(in continental
Danish India Danish India was the name given to the colonies of Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ), officially the Kingdom of Denmark, da, Kongeriget Danmark, . See also: The unity of the Realm is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe. ...
). The islands were repeatedly abandoned due to outbreaks of malaria between 14 April 1759 and 19 August 1768, from 1787 to 1807/05, 1814 to 1831, 1830 to 1834 and gradually from 1848 for good. From 1 June 1778 to 1784,
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
mistakenly assumed that Denmark had abandoned its claims to the Nicobar Islands and attempted to establish a colony on them, renaming them Theresia Islands. In 1789 the British set up a naval base and penal colony on Chatham Island next to Great Andaman, where now lies the town of
Port Blair Port Blair () is the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a union territory of India in the Bay of Bengal. It is also the local administrative sub-division (''tehsil'') of the islands, the headquarters for the Districts of India, d ...
. Two years later the colony was moved to Port Cornwallis on Great Andaman, but it was abandoned in 1796 due to disease. In 1858 the British again established a colony at Port Blair, which proved to be more permanent. The primary purpose was to set up a
penal colony A penal colony or exile colony is a settlement used to exile prisoners and separate them from the general population by placing them in a remote location, often an island or distant colonial territory. Although the term can be used to refer t ...
for criminal convicts from the Indian subcontinent. The colony came to include the infamous
Cellular Jail The Cellular Jail, (काला पानी) also known as Kālā Pānī (Hindi for ''Black Waters''), was a colonial prison in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. The prison was used by the British Empire, British for the express purpose ...

Cellular Jail
.
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
made an attempt at buying the Nicobar Islands from Denmark between 1864 and 1865. The Italian Minister of Agriculture and Commerce
Luigi Torelli
Luigi Torelli
started a negotiation that looked promising, but failed due to the unexpected end of his office and the . The negotiations were interrupted and never brought up again.
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...

Denmark
's presence in the territory ended formally on 16 October 1868 when it sold the rights to the Nicobar Islands to Britain, which made them part of
British India The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance in the Indian subcontinent. Collectively, they have been called British India. In one ...

British India
in 1869. In 1872 the Andaman and Nicobar islands were united under a single chief commissioner at
Port Blair Port Blair () is the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a union territory of India in the Bay of Bengal. It is also the local administrative sub-division (''tehsil'') of the islands, the headquarters for the Districts of India, d ...
.


World War II

During
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, the islands were practically under Japanese control, only nominally under the authority of the Arzi Hukumate Azad Hind of
Subhash Chandra Bose Subhas Chandra Bose ( ; 23 January 1897 – 18 August 1945) was an Indian nationalist whose defiant patriotism made him a hero in India, but whose attempts during World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbr ...
. Bose visited the islands during the war and renamed them as "Shaheed-Dweep" (Martyr Island) and "Swaraj-dweep" (Self-rule Island). General Loganathan, of the
Indian National Army The Indian National Army (INA; ''Azad Hind Fauj'' ; ''lit.'': Free Indian Army) was an armed force formed by Indian Collaboration with the Axis Powers, collaborationists and Imperial Japan on 1 September 1942 in Southeast Asia during World War I ...
, 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 Port Blair () is the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a union territory of India in the Bay of Bengal. It is also the local administrative sub-division (''tehsil'') of the islands, the headquarters for the Districts of India, d ...
. On 21 March 1944, the Headquarters of the Civil Administration was established near the
gurdwara A gurdwara (; meaning "door to the Sikh gurus, guru") is a place of assembly and place of worship, worship for Sikhs. Sikhs also refer to gurdwaras as ''Gurdwara Sahib''. People from all faiths are welcomed in gurdwaras. Each gurdwara has a ''Darba ...

gurdwara
at Aberdeen Bazaar. On 2 October 1944, Col. Loganathan handed over the charge to Maj. Alvi and left Port Blair, never to return. Japanese Vice Admiral Hara Teizo and Major-General Tamenori Sato surrendered the islands to Brigadier J A Salomons, commander of 116th Indian Infantry Brigade, and Chief Administrator Noel K Patterson, Indian Civil Service, on 7 October 1945, in a ceremony performed on the Gymkhana Ground, Port Blair.


After independence

During the independence of both India (1947) and
Burma Myanmar (; my, မြန်မာ ) or Burma ( my, ဗမာ ), officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos a ...

Burma
(1948), the departing British announced their intention to resettle all
Anglo-Indians The term Anglo-Indian can refer to at least two groups of people: those with mixed Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th c ...
and
Anglo-Burmese The Anglo-Burmese people, also known as the Anglo-Burmans, are a community of Eurasian (mixed ancestry), Eurasians of Burmese and European descent, who emerged as a distinct community through mixed relationships (sometimes permanent, sometimes ...
on these islands to form their own nation, although this never materialised. It became part of India in 1950 and was declared as a union territory of the nation in 1956. India has been developing defence facilities on the islands since the 1980s. The islands now have a key position in India's strategic role in the Bay of Bengal and the
Malacca Strait id, Selat Malaka th, ta, hi, zh, , native_name_lang = , other_name = , image = Strait of malacca.jpg , alt = , caption = The Strait of Malacca connects the Pacific Ocean to ...
.


2004 tsunami

On 26 December 2004, the coasts of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were devastated by a high
tsunami A tsunami ( ; from ja, 津波, lit=harbour wave, ) is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a . s, s and other s (including detonations, landslides, , and other dis ...

tsunami
following an undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean. More than 2,000 people lost their lives, 4,000 children were orphaned or suffered the loss of one parent, and at least 40,000 people were rendered homeless. More than 46,000 people were injured. The worst affected Nicobar islands were Katchal and
Indira Point Indira Point, southernmost point of India's territory, is a village in the Nicobar district at Great Nicobar Island of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India. It is located in the Great Nicobar tehsil. Rondo Island, Indonesia's northernmost islan ...
; the latter subsided and was partially submerged in the ocean. The lighthouse at Indira Point was damaged but has been repaired since. A significant portion of the union territory was submerged and subsequently lost to sea. The territory which measured before the tsunami now stands at . While the locals and tourists on the islands suffered the greatest casualties from the tsunami, most of the aboriginal people survived on account of oral traditions passed down over generations that warned them to evacuate from the large waves that follow earthquakes.


Geography

There are 572
islands An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is ...

islands
in the territory having an area of . Of these 38 are permanently inhabited. The islands extend from 6° to 14° North latitudes and from 92° to 94° East longitudes. The Andamans are separated from the Nicobar group by a channel (the
Ten Degree Channel The Ten Degree Channel is a channel that separates the Andaman Islands The Andaman Islands is an archipelago in the northeastern Indian Ocean about southwest off the coasts of Myanmar's Ayeyarwady Region. Together with the Nicobar Islands to ...
) some wide. The highest point is located in North Andaman Island ( Saddle Peak at ). The Andaman group has 325 islands which cover an area of while the Nicobar group has only 247 islands with an area of . The capital of the union territory, Port Blair, is located from
Kolkata Kolkata ( or , ; also known as Calcutta , the official name until 2001) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger upperca ...
, from
Visakhapatnam Visakhapatnam , List of renamed places in India, formerly known as Vizagapatam (also known as Vizag, Viśākha or Wāltair) is the largest and most populous city in the States and union territories of India, Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, an ...

Visakhapatnam
and from
Chennai Chennai (, ), also known as Madras (List of renamed Indian cities and states#Tamil Nadu, the official name until 1996), is the capital city of the states and territories of India, Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The state's largest city in area ...

Chennai
. The northernmost point of the Andaman and Nicobars group is away from the mouth of the
Hooghly River The Hooghly River (''Hugli''; Anglicized alternatively spelled ''Hoogli'' or ''Hugli'') or the Bhāgirathi-Hooghly, called the 'Ganga' or the 'Kati-Ganga' in mythological texts, is the eastern distributary of the Ganges River in West Bengal, In ...

Hooghly River
and from Myanmar Mainland. Indira Point at 6°45’10″N and 93°49’36″E at the southern tip of the southernmost island, Great Nicobar, is the southernmost point of India and lies only from
Sumatra Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands The Sunda Islands are a group of islands in the Malay Archipelago. They consist of the Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia S ...

Sumatra
island in
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
. The only volcano in
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
, Barren Island, is located in Andaman and Nicobar. It is an active volcano and had last erupted in 2017. It also has a mud volcano situated in Baratang Island. These mud volcanoes have erupted sporadically, with recent eruptions in 2005 believed to have been associated with the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The previous major eruption recorded was on 18 February 2003. The locals call this mud volcano ''Jalki''. There are other volcanoes in the area. This island's beaches, mangrove creeks, limestone caves, and mud volcanoes are some of the physical features. In December 2018, Prime Minister
Narendra Modi Narendra Damodardas Modi (; born 17 September 1950) is an Indian politician serving as the List of Prime Ministers of India, 14th and current prime minister of India since 2014. Modi was the List of chief ministers of Gujarat, chief minist ...

Narendra Modi
, who was on a two-day visit to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, renamed three of the islands as a tribute to
Subhas Chandra Bose Subhas Chandra Bose ( ; 23 January 1897 – 18 August 1945) was an Indian independence movement, Indian nationalist whose defiant patriotism made him a hero in India, but whose attempts during World War II to rid India of British Raj, Br ...

Subhas Chandra Bose
. Ross Island was renamed as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island; Neil Island as Shaheed Island; and
Havelock Island Havelock Island, officially Swaraj Island, is one of the largest islands in Ritchie's Archipelago Ritchie's Archipelago is a cluster of smaller islands which lie east of Great Andaman, the main island group of the Andaman Islands The And ...

Havelock Island
as Swaraj Island. The PM made this announcement during a speech at the Netaji Stadium, marking the 75th anniversary of the hoisting of the Indian flag by Bose there.


The Sisters

Sea shore at Andaman and Nicobar Islands The Sisters are two small uninhabited islands, East Sister Island and West Sister Island, in the Andaman Archipelago, at the northern side of the Duncan Passage, about southeast of Passage Island and north of North Brother. The islands are about apart, connected by a
coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient c ...

coral reef
; they are covered by forests and have rocky shores except for a beach on the northwest side of East Sister Island. Before the British established a colony on the Andaman, the Sisters were visited occasionally by the
Onge people The Onge (also Önge, Ongee, and Öñge) are an Andamanese peoples, Andamanese ethnic group, indigenous to the Andaman Islands in Southeast Asia at the Bay of Bengal, currently administered by India. They are traditionally hunter-gatherers, h ...
of Little Andaman Island for fishing. The islands may have been a waystation on the way to their temporary settlement of
Rutland Island Rutland Island is an island of the Andaman Islands. It belongs to the South Andaman district, South Andaman administrative Districts of India, district, part of the Indian union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. the island lies south fr ...
between 1890 and 1930. The islands have been designated as a
wildlife refuge A nature reserve (also known as a natural reserve, wildlife refuge, wildlife sanctuary, biosphere reserve or bioreserve, natural or nature preserve, or nature conservation area) is a protected area of importance for flora, fauna, or features of ...
since 1987, with an area of .


Flora

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have a tropical rainforest canopy, made of a mixed flora with elements from Indian, Myanmar, Malaysian and endemic floral strains. So far, about 2,200 varieties of plants have been recorded, out of which 200 are endemic and 1,300 do not occur in mainland India. The South Andaman forests have a profuse growth of
epiphytic 200px, '' Tillandsia bourgaei'' growing on an oak tree in Mexico An epiphyte is an organism that grows on the surface of a plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water (in marine environments) or from debris accumulating a ...
vegetation, mostly ferns, and orchids. The Middle Andamans harbours mostly moist
deciduous forests In the fields of horticulture and botany, the term ''deciduous'' (; ) means "falling off at maturity" and "tending to fall off", in reference to tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (bo ...
. North Andamans is characterised by the wet evergreen type, with plenty of woody climbers. The North Nicobar Islands (including Car Nicobar and Battimalv) are marked by the complete absence of evergreen forests, while such forests form the dominant vegetation in the central and southern islands of the Nicobar group. Grasslands occur only in the Nicobars, and while
deciduous forests In the fields of horticulture and botany, the term ''deciduous'' (; ) means "falling off at maturity" and "tending to fall off", in reference to tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (bo ...
are common in the Andamans, they are almost absent in the Nicobars. The present forest coverage is claimed to be 86.2% of the total land area. This atypical forest coverage is made up of twelve types, namely: # Giant
evergreen forest In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes kno ...

evergreen forest
# Andamans tropical evergreen forest # Southern hilltop
tropical evergreen forest Tropical and subtropical moist forest (TSMF), also known as tropical moist forest, is a tropical and subtropical forest habitat (ecology), habitat type defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The habitat type is sometimes known as jungle. D ...
# Canebrakes # Wet bamboo brakes # Andamans semi-evergreen forest # Andamans moist deciduous forest # Andamans secondary moist deciduous forest #
Littoral The littoral zone or nearshore is the part of a sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface ...

Littoral
forest #
Mangrove forest Mangrove forests, also called mangrove swamps, mangrove thickets or mangals, are productive wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with ...

Mangrove forest
# Brackish water mixed forest # Submontane forest


Fauna

This tropical rain forest, despite its isolation from adjacent landmasses, is surprisingly rich with a diversity of animal life. About 50 varieties of forest mammals are found to occur in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Some are endemic, including the Andaman wild boar. Rodents are the largest group with 26 species, followed by 14 species of bat. Among the larger mammals there are two endemic varieties of wild boar, ''Sus scrofa andamanensis'' from Andaman and ''Sus scrofa nicobaricus'' from Nicobar, which are protected by the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (Sch I).
Saltwater crocodile The saltwater crocodile (''Crocodylus porosus'') is a crocodilian Crocodilia (or Crocodylia, both ) is an Order (biology), order of mostly large, predatory, List of semiaquatic tetrapods, semiaquatic reptiles, known as crocodilians. They f ...

Saltwater crocodile
is also found in abundance. The State Animal of Andaman is the
dugong The dugong (; ''Dugong dugon'') is a medium-sized marine mammal. It is one of four living species of the order Sirenia, which also includes three species of manatees. It is the only living representative of the once-diverse family Dugongida ...

dugong
, also known as the sea cow, which can be found in
Little Andaman Little Andaman Island ( Onge: ''Gaubolambe'') is the fourth largest of the Andaman Islands of India with an area of 707 km², lying at the southern end of the archipelago. It belongs to the South Andaman district, South Andaman administrative ...
. Around 1962 there was an attempt to introduce the
leopard The leopard (''Panthera pardus'') is one of the five extant in the ', a member of the cat , . It occurs in a wide range in , in some parts of and , , and on the to and . It is listed as on the because leopard populations are threatened ...

leopard
, which was unsuccessful because of unsuitable habitat. These were ill-considered moves as exotic introductions can cause havoc to island flora and fauna. Elephants also can be found in forested or mountainous areas of the islands, they were brought over from the mainland to help with timber extraction in 1883. Elephant at Andaman and Nicobar Islands About 270 species of birds are found in the territory; 14 of them are endemic, the majority to the Nicobar island group. The islands' many
caves A cave or cavern is a natural void in the ground Ground may refer to: * Soil, a mixture of clay, sand and organic matter present on the surface of the Earth * Ground (electricity), the reference point in an electrical circuit from which voltag ...

caves
are nesting grounds for the edible-nest swiftlet, whose nests are prized in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
for
bird's nest soup Edible bird's nests are bird nest A bird nest is the spot in which a bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the class (biology), class Aves , characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the Oviparity, l ...

bird's nest soup
.R. Sankaran (1999),
The impact of nest collection on the Edible-nest Swiftlet in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
''. Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore, India.
The islands also serve as a stopover site for several migratory birds such as Horsfield’s bronze cuckoo, Zappey’s flycatcher and Javan pond heron. The territory is home to about 225 species of
butterflies Butterflies are insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', m ...

butterflies
and
moth Moths are a paraphyletic In taxonomy, a group is paraphyletic if it consists of the group's last common ancestor and all descendants of that ancestor excluding a few—typically only one or two—Monophyly, monophyletic subgroups. The g ...

moth
s. Ten species are endemic to these Islands.
Mount Harriet National Park Mount Harriet National Park is a national park located in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands union territory of India. The park, established in 1969, covers about 4.62 km2 (18.00 mi2). Mount Harriet (), which is part of the park, is the thir ...
is one of the richest areas of butterfly and moth diversity on these islands. The islands are well known for prized
shellfish Shellfish is a colloquial and fisheries Fishery is the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life. Commercial fisheries include wild fisheries and Fish farming, fish farms, both in fresh water (about 10% of all catch) and ...

shellfish
, especially from the genera ''
Turbo A turbocharger (technically a turbosupercharger), colloquially known as turbo, is a turbine A turbine ( or ) (from the Greek , ''tyrbē'', or Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language ...
'', ''Trochus'', ''Murex'' and ''Nautilus''. Earliest recorded commercial exploitation began during 1929. Many cottage industries produce a range of decorative shell items. Giant clams, green mussels and oysters support edible shellfishery. The shells of scallops, clams, and cockle (bivalve), cockle are burnt in kilns to produce edible Lime (material), lime. There are 96 wildlife sanctuaries, nine national parks and one biosphere reserve in these islands.


Demographics

Census of India, the population of the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands was 379,944, of which 202,330 (53.25%) were male and 177,614 (46.75%) were female. The sex ratio was 878 females per 1,000 males. Only 10% of the population lived in Nicobar islands. The original population of the islands – the Great Andamanese, the Onge, the Jarawa and the Sentinelese, were estimated to be around 5,000 150 years ago. The population of islands increased massively due to the ''colonisation policy'' of Govt of India into islands under Jawaharlal Nehru in the late 1960s, that brought settlers from other parts of the country. The areas and populations (at the 2001 and 2011 Censuses) of the three districts are: There remain approximately 400–450 Andamanese peoples, indigenous Andamanese in the Andaman islands, the Jarawa people (Andaman Islands), Jarawa and Sentinelese people, Sentinelese in particular maintaining steadfast independence and refusing most attempts at contact. In the Nicobar Islands, the indigenous people are the Nicobarese people, Nicobarese, or ''Nicobari'', living throughout many of the islands, and the Shompen, restricted to the hinterland of Great Nicobar. More than 2,000 people belonging to the Karen people, Karen tribe live in the Mayabunder tehsil of North Andaman district, almost all of whom are Christians. Despite their tribal origins, the Karen of Andamans have Other Backward Class (OBC) status in the Andamans.


Languages

Bengali language, Bengali is the most spoken language in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Hindi is the official language of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, while English language, English is declared an additional official language for communication purposes. As of the 2011 census, Bengali is spoken as the first language by 28.49 per cent of the Union Territory's population followed by Hindi (19.29%), Tamil language, Tamil (15.20%), Telugu language, Telugu (13.24%), Nicobarese languages, Nicobarese (7.65%) and Malayalam (7.22%).


Religion

The majority of people of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are Hindus (69.45%), with Christians forming a large minority of 21.7% of the population, according to the 2011 census of India. There is a significant Muslim (8.51%) minority.


Administration

In 1874, the British had placed the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in one administrative territory headed by a Chief Commissioner as its judicial administrator. On 1 August 1974, the Nicobar islands were hived off into another revenue district with district headquarters at Car Nicobar under a Deputy Commissioner. In 1982, the post of List of Lieutenant Governors of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lieutenant Governor was created who replaced the Chief Commissioner as the head of administration. Subsequently, a "Pradesh council" with Councillors as representatives of the people was constituted to advise the Lieutenant Governor. The Islands sends one representative to Lok Sabha from its Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Lok Sabha constituency).


Administrative divisions

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is divided into three districts: # North and Middle Andaman district, North and Middle Andaman (Capital: Mayabunder) # South Andaman district, South Andaman (Capital:
Port Blair Port Blair () is the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a union territory of India in the Bay of Bengal. It is also the local administrative sub-division (''tehsil'') of the islands, the headquarters for the Districts of India, d ...
) # Nicobar district, Nicobar (Capital: Car Nicobar) Each district is further divided into sub-divisions and taluks:


Sub-Divisions and Taluks in North and Middle Andaman District

* Diglipur Sub-Division ** Diglipur taluk * Mayabunder Sub-Division ** Mayabunder taluk ** Rangat taluk


Sub-Divisions and Taluks in South Andaman District

* Port Blair Sub-Division **
Port Blair Port Blair () is the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a union territory of India in the Bay of Bengal. It is also the local administrative sub-division (''tehsil'') of the islands, the headquarters for the Districts of India, d ...
taluk ** Ferrargunj taluk ** Jirkatang taluk (native Jarawa reservation) * Ritchie's Archipelago Sub-Division ** Ritchie's Archipelago taluk (
Havelock Island Havelock Island, officially Swaraj Island, is one of the largest islands in Ritchie's Archipelago Ritchie's Archipelago is a cluster of smaller islands which lie east of Great Andaman, the main island group of the Andaman Islands The And ...

Havelock Island
) * Little Andaman Sub-Division **
Little Andaman Little Andaman Island ( Onge: ''Gaubolambe'') is the fourth largest of the Andaman Islands of India with an area of 707 km², lying at the southern end of the archipelago. It belongs to the South Andaman district, South Andaman administrative ...
taluk (Hut Bay)


Sub-Divisions and Taluks in Nicobar District

* Car Nicobar Sub-Division ** Car Nicobar taluk * Nancowrie Sub-Division ** Nancowry Island, Nancowrie taluk ** Kamorta Island, Kamorta taluk ** Teressa (Nicobar Islands), Teressa taluk ** Katchal taluk * Great Nicobar Sub-Division ** Little Nicobar taluk ** Great Nicobar taluk (Campbell Bay (Great Nicobar), Campbell Bay)


Economy


Agriculture

A total of of land is used for agriculture purposes. Paddy (unmilled rice), Paddy, the main food crop, is mostly cultivated in Andaman group of islands, whereas coconut and arecanut are the cash crops of Nicobar group of islands. Field crops, namely, pulses, oilseeds and vegetables are grown, followed by Rice, paddy during Rabi crop, Rabi season. Different kinds of fruits such as mango, sapota, Orange (fruit), orange, banana, papaya, pineapple and root crops are grown on hilly land owned by farmers. Spices such as pepper, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon are grown under a multi-tier cropping system. Rubber, red oil, Palm (plant), palm, noni and cashew are grown on a limited scale in these islands.


Industry

There are 1,374 registered small-scale, village and handicraft units. Two units are export-oriented in the line of fish processing activity. Apart from this, there are shells and wood-based handicraft units. There are also four medium-sized industrial units. SSI units are engaged in the production of polythene bags, PVC conduit pipes and fittings, paints and varnishes, fiberglass and mini flour mills, soft drinks, and beverages, etc. Small scale and handicraft units are also engaged in shell crafts, bakery products, rice milling, furniture making, etc. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation has spread its wings in the field of tourism, fisheries, industries, and industrial financing and functions as authorised agents for Air India Regional, Alliance Air. The Islands have become a tourist destination, due to the draw of their largely unspoiled virgin beaches and waters.


Tourism

file:North Bay Island, Andaman & Nicobar Islands.jpeg, left, Tourist enjoying scuba diving Tourism to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is increasing due to the popularity of beaches and adventure sports like snorkelling and sea-walking. Plans to develop various islands under NITI (National Institute of Transforming India) Aayog is also in progress. Luxury resorts with participation from the Government are set up to plan in Avis Island, Smith Island and Long Island. In Port Blair, the main places to visit are the Cellular Jail, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Andaman Water sports complex, Chatham Saw Mill, Mini Zoo, Corbyn's cove, Chidiya Tapu, Wandoor Beach, Forest Museum, Anthropological Museum, Fisheries Museum, Naval Museum (Samudrika), Ross Island and North Bay Island. Viper Island which was earlier visited is now kept closed by the administration. Other places include Havelock island famous for Radhanagar Beach, Neil Island for Scuba diving/snorkeling/sea walking, Cinque Island, Saddle peak, Mt Harriet, and Mud Volcano. Diglipur, located at North Andaman is also getting popular in 2018 and many tourists have started visiting North Andaman as well. The southern group (Nicobar islands) is mostly inaccessible to tourists. Indian tourists do not require a permit to visit the Andaman Islands, but if they wish to visit any tribal areas they need a special permit from the Deputy Commissioner in Port Blair. Permits are required for foreign nationals. For foreign nationals arriving by air, these are granted upon arrival at Port Blair. According to official estimates, the flow of tourists tripled to nearly 430,000 in 2016-17 from 130,000 in 2008–09. The Radha Nagar beach was chosen as Asia's best beach in 2004.


Gallery

File:Andaman Islands.jpg, Andaman Islands File:Andaman and Nicobar islands.JPG, Andaman and Nicobar islands File:The Coral Reef at the Andaman Islands.jpg, The coral reef at Havelock in Andaman File:Shaheed Island, Andamans, Mangrove beach, True wilderness.jpg, Mangrove trees on the beach, Shaheed Island File:Havelock Island, Canopy of tropical moist evergreen forest, Andaman Islands.jpg, Canopy of tropical rainforest File:AndamansAndNicobarIslands.jpg, The Andaman coast lined with coconut palms File:Seascape at Chidiyatapu, Andaman islands.jpg, Seascape at Chidiyatapu, Andaman islands


Macro-economic trend

This is a chart of trend of gross state domestic product (GSDP) of Andaman and Nicobar Islands at market prices, estimated by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, with figures in millions of Indian rupees. Andaman and Nicobar Islands' gross state domestic product for 2004 was estimated at $354 million in current prices.


Power generation

With Japanese assistance, Southern Andaman Island will now have a 15-megawatt diesel power plant. This would be the first foreign investment of any kind allowed at this strategically significant island chain. This is believed to be an India–Japan relations, Indo-Japanese strategic initiative to strengthen civilian infrastructure in the vicinity of the Strait of Malacca – a strategically important choke-point for the Chinese oil supply.


Infrastructure


Internet

Internet access on the islands used to be limited and unreliable, since all connectivity to the outside world had to go through Satellite Internet access, satellite links. Bharat Broadband Network started work on laying a Fiber-optic communication, fibre optic Submarine communications cable, submarine cable running from the five islands to
Chennai Chennai (, ), also known as Madras (List of renamed Indian cities and states#Tamil Nadu, the official name until 1996), is the capital city of the states and territories of India, Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The state's largest city in area ...

Chennai
on 30 December 2018, with completion expected in December 2019. On 10 August 2020, PM
Narendra Modi Narendra Damodardas Modi (; born 17 September 1950) is an Indian politician serving as the List of Prime Ministers of India, 14th and current prime minister of India since 2014. Modi was the List of chief ministers of Gujarat, chief minist ...

Narendra Modi
formally inaugurated the
Chennai Chennai (, ), also known as Madras (List of renamed Indian cities and states#Tamil Nadu, the official name until 1996), is the capital city of the states and territories of India, Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The state's largest city in area ...

Chennai
–Andaman undersea Submarine communications cable, Optical fibre cable which enables high-speed broadband connections in the Union Territory. The submarine cable also connects
Port Blair Port Blair () is the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a union territory of India in the Bay of Bengal. It is also the local administrative sub-division (''tehsil'') of the islands, the headquarters for the Districts of India, d ...
to Swaraj Dweep,
Little Andaman Little Andaman Island ( Onge: ''Gaubolambe'') is the fourth largest of the Andaman Islands of India with an area of 707 km², lying at the southern end of the archipelago. It belongs to the South Andaman district, South Andaman administrative ...
, Car Nicobar, Kamorta Island, Kamorta, Great Nicobar Island, Great Nicobar, Long Island (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Long Island and Rangat. The initial bandwidth of the cable is 400 Data-rate units#Gigabit per second, Gbit/s, roughly 400 times more than what the islands possessed before the fibre link.


Ports

On 10 August 2020, PM
Narendra Modi Narendra Damodardas Modi (; born 17 September 1950) is an Indian politician serving as the List of Prime Ministers of India, 14th and current prime minister of India since 2014. Modi was the List of chief ministers of Gujarat, chief minist ...

Narendra Modi
announced plans for the construction of a transshipment port in the Great Nicobar Island at a cost of ₹10,000 crore to provide shippers an alternative to similar ports in the region. The move is aimed at improving the ease of doing business of the country and enhancing maritime logistics.


Transportation

The only civil airport of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is Veer Savarkar International Airport near Port Blair. It has regular flights to
Chennai Chennai (, ), also known as Madras (List of renamed Indian cities and states#Tamil Nadu, the official name until 1996), is the capital city of the states and territories of India, Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The state's largest city in area ...

Chennai
,
Kolkata Kolkata ( or , ; also known as Calcutta , the official name until 2001) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger upperca ...
, New Delhi, Bangalore, and
Visakhapatnam Visakhapatnam , List of renamed places in India, formerly known as Vizagapatam (also known as Vizag, Viśākha or Wāltair) is the largest and most populous city in the States and union territories of India, Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, an ...

Visakhapatnam
. From 2016 onwards, night flights were also operated along with the day flights. Another mode of transport is ship which has routes from
Chennai Chennai (, ), also known as Madras (List of renamed Indian cities and states#Tamil Nadu, the official name until 1996), is the capital city of the states and territories of India, Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The state's largest city in area ...

Chennai
,
Kolkata Kolkata ( or , ; also known as Calcutta , the official name until 2001) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger upperca ...
and
Visakhapatnam Visakhapatnam , List of renamed places in India, formerly known as Vizagapatam (also known as Vizag, Viśākha or Wāltair) is the largest and most populous city in the States and union territories of India, Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, an ...

Visakhapatnam
. The journey takes approximately three days and two nights.


Popular culture

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle refers to the Andaman Islands in his Sherlock Holmes novel ''The Sign of the Four''. The National Film Awards, National Award winning Malayalam cinema, Malayalam film ''Kaalapani'' was set against backdrop of the Cellular Jail, Port Blair's Cellular Jail. It is one of the films that was extensively shot in the islands.


See also

* 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami * Effect of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake on India * Endemic birds of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands * 2014 Andaman boat disaster * Coral reefs in India * List of islands of India


References


External links


Census of India
Provisional Population Totals
Andaman and Nicobar Administration Website
* * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Andaman And Nicobar Islands Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Union Territories of India Andaman Sea Dependent territories in Asia Islands of the Bay of Bengal Islands of the Andaman Sea Islands of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 01 Volcanic arc islands Maritime Southeast Asia Southeast Asian countries History of West Bengal States and territories established in 1956 1956 establishments in India Bengali-speaking countries and territories States and union territories of India