History of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The Andaman and Nicobar islands are a group of beautiful islands that are located down south in the Bay of Bengal. Andaman Island is a union territory that is a part of the Indian subcontinent with Port Blair as the capital city.

The history of these islands suggested by the genetic studies states that the Andamanese were isolated from other populations over 30,000 years ago. However, the earliest archaeological evidence dates back to just 2,200 years. The Andaman Islands got its name from an ancient Hindu God, Hanuman the Sanskrit form being Andoman, it was a popular belief of the people that drove them into naming the islands Andoman.

The Nicobar Islands has a history of its name as well, around 1014 to 1042 AD the Chola Empire used the islands as a strategic naval base. They called the island Manakkavaram which meant an open or naked land. Later Marco Polo a European traveler who referred to the islands as ‘Necuverran’ which was the crooked version of its Tamizh name.   Eventually, the name was changed to Nicobar when the British took over the islands.

In 1859, The Battle of Aberdeen broke out between the Andamanese tribes and British soldiers and the tribal people were outnumbered and had a very narrow chance towards victory. A memorial is dedicated to all the tribesmen who lost their lives during the battle at Rajiv Gandhi water sports complex, Port Blair.

It is said that Marco Polo was among the first of the very few discoverers from the western countries to visit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Later a Maratha admiral is said have stretched his rule in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the early 18th century, his reign was put to an end by the British and Portuguese naval forces.

The British established their colony in Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1789 but, the island was abandoned by the British in 1796. The British later resumed their control over the islands again in the 19th century. During their colonization, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were used by the British as a penal colony, which was named 'Kalapani' or the Cellular Jail. The history of Andaman and Nicobar Islands states that the freedom activists who went against the East India Company were termed as notorious criminals and were sent to the islands as convicts with life sentences in most f the cases and were forced to live in exile at the Kalapani.

In 1942, the Japanese also invaded the islands during World War II and caused a ruckus among the people of Andamans. The atrocities caused by the Japanese were no less compared to the holocaust. Ultimately Netaji Subash Chandra Bose and his team drove out the Japanese away from the islands and the reign of the British stopped they exited the islands as well. The British recaptured the islands in 1945 and resumed their rule until the final independence in the year 1947.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands were officially declared a union territory of India in the year 1956. The beautiful paradise-like islands are one of a kind in the entire subcontinent. The stunning blue waters, thick forests, and silky white sands are a treasure that the country has and is now home to many people who have settled here.

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