The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, one of the seven union territories of
India, are a group of islands at the juncture of the
Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal and
The territory is 150 km (93 mi) north of
Aceh in Indonesia
and separated from
Myanmar (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 (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. The total land area
of these islands is approximately 8,249 km2
(3,185 sq mi). The capital of
Nicobar Islands is Car
Nicobar. The islands host the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the only
tri-service geographical command of the Indian Armed Forces.
Andaman Islands are home to the Sentinelese people, an uncontacted
people. The Sentinelese are the only people currently known to not
have reached further than a
Paleolithic level of technology.
1.1 First inhabitants
1.2 Chola empire period
1.3 Danish colonial period and British Rule
1.4 World War II
1.5 Post independence
1.6 2004 tsunami
7.1 Administrative divisions
8.4 Macro-economic trend
8.5 Power generation
9 The Sisters (Andaman)
10 See also
13 External links
The earliest archaeological evidence documents some 2,200 years.
However, genetic and cultural studies suggest that the indigenous
Andamanese people may have been isolated from other populations during
the Middle Paleolithic, which ended 30,000 years ago. Since that
time, the Andamanese have diversified into linguistically and
culturally distinct, territorial groups.
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, speaking a
Mon-Khmer language; and the Shompen, whose language is of uncertain
affiliation. Both are unrelated to the Andamanese, but being closely
related to the
Austroasiatic languages in mainland Southeast Asia.
Chola empire period
Rajendra Chola I
Rajendra Chola I (1014 to 1042 AD), used the Andaman and Nicobar
Islands as a strategic naval base to launch an expedition against the
Sriwijaya Empire (Indonesia). The
Cholas called the island
Ma-Nakkavaram ("great open/naked land"), found in the Thanjavur
inscription of 1050 AD. European traveller
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
Andaman Cellular Jail
The history of organized European colonization on the islands began
when settlers from the Danish East
India Company 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 (in continental
Danish India). 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
From 1 June 1778 to 1784,
Austria mistakenly assumed that
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.
Two years later the colony was moved to
Port Cornwallis on Great
Andaman, but it was abandoned in 1796 due to disease.
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 in 1869.
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 criminal convicts from the Indian subcontinent. The colony came
to include the infamous Cellular Jail.
In 1872 the Andaman and Nicobar islands were united under a single
chief commissioner at Port Blair.
World War II
Main article: Japanese occupation of the Andaman Islands
During World War II, the islands were practically under Japanese
control, only nominally under the authority of the Arzi Hukumate Azad
Hind of Subhash Chandra Bose. Bose visited the islands during the war,
and renamed them as "Shaheed-dweep" (Martyr Island) and "Swaraj-dweep"
General Loganathan, of the
Indian National Army
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.
Japanese military delegation salute Lieutenant Colonel Nathu Singh,
commanding officer of the Rajput Regiment, following their surrender
of the Islands, 1945
During the independence of both
India (1947) and
Burma (1948), the
departing British announced their intention to resettle all
Anglo-Indians and Anglo-Burmese on these islands to form their own
nation, although this never materialised. It became part of
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
Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal and the Malacca Strait.
On 26 December 2004 the coasts of the Andaman and
Nicobar Islands were
devastated by a 10 m (33 ft) high tsunami following the 2004
Indian Ocean earthquake. More than 2,000 people lost their lives, more
than 4,000 children were orphaned or suffered the loss of one parent,
and a minimum of 40,000 people were rendered homeless. More than
46,000 people were injured. The worst affected Nicobar islands
were Katchal and Indira Point; the latter subsided 4.25 metres (13.9
feet) and was partially submerged in the ocean. The lighthouse at
Indira Point was damaged but has been repaired since then. The
territory lost a large amount of area which is now submerged. The
territory which was at 8,073 km2 (3,117 sq mi) is now
at 7,950 km2 (3,070 sq mi).
While locals and tourist of the islands suffered the greatest
casualties from the tsunami, most of the aboriginal people survived
because oral traditions passed down from generations ago warned them
to evacuate from large waves that follow large earthquakes.
Barren Island in the Andaman Islands
There are 572 islands  in the territory having an area of
8,249 km2 (3,185 sq mi). Of these, about 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)
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 6,170 km2
(2,382 sq mi) while the Nicobar group has only 247 islands
with an area of 1,765 km2 (681 sq mi).:33
The capital of the union territory, Port Blair, is located
1,255 km (780 mi) from Kolkata, 1,200 km (750 mi)
Visakhapatnam and 1,190 km (740 mi) from
Chennai.:33 The northernmost point of the Andaman and Nicobars
group is 901 km (560 mi) away from the mouth of the Hooghly
River and 190 km (120 mi) from Myanmar.
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 150 km (93 mi) from
Sumatra in Indonesia. The
only volcano in India, Barren Island, is located in Andaman and
Nicobar. It is an active volcano and erupted in 2017.
Map of Andaman and
Nicobar Islands with an extra detailed area around
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
vegetation, mostly ferns and orchids. The Middle Andamans harbours
mostly moist deciduous forests. North Andamans is characterised by the
wet evergreen type, with plenty of woody climbers. The North Nicobar
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 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
Andamans tropical evergreen forest
Southern hilltop tropical evergreen forest
Wet bamboo brakes
Andamans semi-evergreen forest
Andamans moist deciduous forest
Andamans secondary moist deciduous forest
Brackish water mixed forest
Ross Island, Andaman
This tropical rain forest, despite its isolation from adjacent land
masses, 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 is also found in abundance. The State Animal of
Andaman is the dugong, also known as the sea cow, which can be found
in Little Andaman. Around 1962 there was an attempt to introduce the
leopard, which was unsuccessful because of unsuitable habitat. These
were ill-considered moves as exotic introductions can cause havoc to
island flora and fauna.
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 are nesting grounds for the edible-nest swiftlet, whose nests
are prized in
China for bird's nest soup.
The territory is home to about 225 species of butterflies and moths.
Ten species are endemic to these Islands. Mount Harriet National Park
is one of the richest areas of butterfly and moth diversity on these
The islands are well known for prized shellfish, especially from the
genera Turbo, 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 are burnt in kilns to produce edible lime.
There are 96 wildlife sanctuaries, nine national parks and one
biosphere reserve in these islands.
Source:Census of India
As of 2011[update] 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
The areas and populations (at the 2001 and 2011 Censuses) of the three
North and Middle Andaman
There remain approximately 400–450 indigenous Andamanese in the
Andaman islands, the Jarawa and Sentinelese in particular maintaining
a steadfast independence and refusing most attempts at contact. In the
Nicobar Islands, the indigenous people are the 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 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.
Religion in Andaman and Nicobar (2011)
Other or not religious (0.5%)
The majority of people of the Andaman and
Nicobar Islands are Hindus
(69.44%), with Christians forming a large minority of 21.7% of the
population, according to the 2011 census of India. There is a small
Muslim (8.51%) minority.
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
Lieutenant Governor was created who replaced the Chief Commissioner as
the head of administration. Subsequently, a "Pradesh council" with
Counselors 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
The Andaman and
Nicobar Islands is divided into three districts. Each
district is further divided into sub-divisions and taluks:
North and Middle Andaman
Headquarters: Port Blair
Port Blair Sub-Division
Port Blair taluk
Jirkatang taluk (native Jarawa reservation)
Ritchie's Archipelago Sub-Division
Ritchie's Archipelago taluka (Havelock Island)
Little Andaman Sub-Division
Little Andaman taluka (Hut Bay)
Headquarters: Car Nicobar
Car Nicobar Sub-Division
Car Nicobar taluk
Great Nicobar Sub-Division
Great Nicobar taluk (Campbell Bay)
Little Nicobar taluk
Little Andaman Island seen by Spot satellite.
Ross Island a couple of days before the tsunami of December 2004.
A total of 48,675 hectares (120,280 acres) of land is used for
agriculture purposes. 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 paddy during Rabi
season. Different kinds of fruits such as mango, sapota, 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, noni
and cashew are grown on a limited scale in these islands.
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 shell 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 varnished, fibre glass 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
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 Alliance
Air/Jet Airways. The
Islands have become a tourist destination, due to
the draw of their largely unspoiled virgin beaches and waters.
Main article: Tourism in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Nicobar Islands are developing into a major tourism hub
with exotic-looking beaches and pristine islands having equally exotic
names, wonderful opportunities for adventure sports like snorkelling
A statue of
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar at Cellular Jail.
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 Viper Island. Other places include
Havelock island famous for Radhanagar Beach, Neil Island for Scuba
diving/snorkelling, Cinque island, Saddle peak, Mt Harriet and Mud
Volcano. The southern group (Nicobar islands) is mostly inaccessible
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, 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 doubled to
nearly 300,000 in 2012 from 130,000 in 2008–09. The Radha Nagar
beach of Andamans was chosen as Asia’s best Beach in 2004.
This is a chart of trend of gross state domestic product (GSDP) of
Nicobar Islands at market prices, estimated by the
Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, with figures in
millions of Indian rupees.
GSDP (millions of ₹)
Andaman and Nicobar Islands' gross state domestic product for 2004 was
estimated at $354 million in current prices.
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 Indo-Japanese strategic
initiative to strengthen civilian infrastructure in the vicinity of
Strait of Malacca
Strait of Malacca – a strategically important choke-point for
the Chinese oil supply.
The Sisters (Andaman)
The Sisters are small uninhabited islands in the Andaman Archipelago,
at the northern side of the Duncan Passage, about 6 km
(3.2 nmi) southeast of Passage Island and 18 km
(9.7 nmi) north of North Brother: East Sister Island (Andaman)
and West Sister Island (Andaman). The islands are about 250 metres
(820 feet) apart, connected by a coral reef. They are covered by
forests, and have rocky shores except for a beach on the NW side of
East Sister. They belong to the Andaman and
Nicobar Islands Territory
Before the British established a colony on the Andaman, the Sister
islands were visited occasionally by the
Onge people of Little Andaman
Island for fishing. They may have been a waystation for their
temporary settlement of Rutland Island between 1890 and 1930. The
islands have been a wildlife refuge since 1987, with 0.36 square km of
South Asia portal
Effect of the
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake on India
Endemic birds of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
2014 Andaman boat disaster
Coral reefs in India
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2004 Indian Ocean earthquake on India
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Nicobar Islands travel guide from Wikivoyage
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