Facts about Andaman and Nicobar Islands
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 and the Andaman Sea. 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 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. The Andaman Islands are home to the only known Paleolithic people, the Sentinelese people, who have no contact with any other people.
The Nicobar Islands appear to have been populated by people of various backgrounds. At the time of the European contact, the indigenous inhabitants were the Nicobarese people, speaking a Mon-Khmer language; and the Shompen, whose language is of uncertain affiliation. Both are unrelated to the Andamanese but is closely related to the Myanmarese.
Chola empire period: Rajendra Chola I (1014 to 1042 CE), one of the Tamil Chola dynasty kings, conquered the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to use them as a strategic naval base to launch a naval expedition against the Sriwijaya Empire (a Buddhist empire based in the island of Sumatra, Indonesia). They called the islands Tinmaittivu (“impure islands” in Tamil).
Maratha Empire: The islands also provided a temporary maritime base for ships of the Maratha Empire in the 17th century. The Maratha navy’s admiral Kanhoji Angre established naval supremacy with a base in the islands and is credited with attaching those islands to India.
Danish colonial period and British Raj: The history of organised European colonisation on the islands began when the Danish settlers of 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.
- During 1754–1756 they were administrated from Tranquebar (in continental Danish India). From 1 June 1778 to 1784, 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.
- 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.
The government of Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The government and politics of Andaman and Nicobar Islands operate in a way that is slightly different from the governance of most states and Union Territories of India.
The Lieutenant Governor is himself the executive head in the government of Andaman and Nicobar. The executive wing runs under his supervision, under direct monitoring from with the heads of the various departments. The state judiciary falls under the supervision of the Kolkata High Court.
|No. of District||3|
|Lieutenant Governor||Jagdish Mukhi|
State symbols of Andaman and Nicobar Islands
|Forests & National Park||Little Nicobar WS, Landfall Island WS|
|Languages||Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Nicobarese, Telugu|
|State Bird||Wood Pigeon|
|State Tree||Andaman Padauk|
|Religion||Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and others|
|Highest Peak||Saddle Peak|
|Flora||Magroves, epiphytes, woody climbers, timbers, palms, and tropical fruit trees|
|Fauna||Different types of fishes and corals|
|Crops||Coconut, Areca nut, Paddy, etc.|
Wildlife Sanctuaries, National Parks in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Port Blair
- Mount Harriet National Park
- landfall island wildlife Sanctuaries
- Ross island national park
- Campbell Bay National Park
- North Button Island National Park
- Saddle Peak National Park
Museums in Andaman and Nicobar Islands:
- Fisheries Museum
- National Memorial
- Anthropological Museum
Famous places in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- Cellular Jail: The Cellular Jail, also known as Kālā Pānī, was a colonial prison in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India.
- Ross Island: Ross Island is an island of the Andaman Islands. It belongs to the South Andaman administrative district, part of the Indian union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- Viper Island: Viper Island is an island of the Andaman Islands. It belongs to the South Andaman administrative district, part of the Indian union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The island is lying 4 km west from Port Blair.
- Samudrika Naval Marine Museum: Samudrika Naval Marine Museum is a museum situated in Port Blair in India . The museum is run by the Indian Navy.
- Enterance of Anthropological Museum
- Marina Park
- Aberdeen Clock Tower
- Elephant Beach
- Corbyns Cove Beach
- The names ‘Andaman’ and ‘Nicobar’ are taken from the Malay Language. The name Andaman is presumed to be derived from Hanuman, who was known to the Malays as Handuman. The name Nicobar seems to be a corruption of the South Indian term ‘Nakkavaram’ (Land of the Naked) as indicated in the great Tanjore inscription of AD 1050.
- The most widely spoken language on the islands is Bengali followed by Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. Andaman Creole Hindi is also widely used as a trade language in the Andaman islands.
- Katchal, a tiny island near Nicobar was virtually unknown till the Royal Greenwich Laboratory declared that it would be the first inhabited place on earth to catch the rays of the first sunrise of the millennium.
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands have India’s best nesting beaches for three species of marine turtles – Hawksbill, Green turtle and world’s largest sea turtle, the Leatherback (Dermocheleys Coriacea).
- North Sentinel Island is home to one of the most isolated human populations in the world. The Sentinelese, thought to number around 300, have rebuffed all contact with the modern world and fire their arrows at anyone who comes within range.
- Large, plump marine vegetarians with short, paddle-like front flippers, the gentle Dugongs can be found grazing peacefully on sea grass in the warm coastal waters of the Andaman and Nicobar Island. These languid creatures, also called the ‘angel of the sea’, can be spotted at Ritchie’s archipelago, North Reef, Little Andaman and parts of Nicobar.
- Pandanus is a densely arranged, wedge-shaped fruit that has an immensely hard, woody and fibrous body in which several narrow, edible seeds are embedded.
- The turquoise waters surrounding these emerald islands teem with an abundance of dolphins, whales, dugongs, sea turtles, sailfish, sea anemones, and other marine life.
- Barren Island is the only active volcano not just in India but the whole of South Asia. Located approximately 135 km north east of Port Blair, this small 3-km-wide island contains a 1.6-km-wide crater partially filled by a cinder cone that has been the source of eruptions since the first was recorded in 1787.
- The Robber crab (Birgus Latro), also called the Coconut Crab, is the largest land-living arthropod in the world.
- In South Asia, the highest numbers of these huge crabs are found in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago.
- The limestone Alfred Caves of Diglipur change their shape every monsoon due to a chemical process. These extremely narrow caves are home to the Swiftlet birds that make a unique edible nest.
- Ever noticed the scenery on a 20 Rupee note? The image of a picturesque bay lined with lush greenery captured on the red-coloured note is the North Bay Island and the same view can be seen on the way to Mount Harriet. Mount Harriet is the second highest peak in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago.
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands were so remote that they became the dreaded Kala Pani penal colony for Indian freedom fighters under the British.
- The Cellular Jail was built to disconnect the prisoners from the outer world – the prisoners were kept in solitary cells and made to work for long hours on a hand driven oil extractor made of iron.
- Seaplanes are amphibious aircraft that can take off and land on water and as well as on land. Calling it the Jal Hans, government-owned Pawan Hans launched India’s first seaplane operation in Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2013.
- The Ross Island was the erstwhile British headquarter for the most of the Andaman Islands from 1858 till it was rocked by an earthquake in 1941.
- With an ecosystem of their own, the kayaking through the mangroves is an exciting way to view the Havelock island’s exotic wildlife.
- India lost strategic land to the 2004 tsunami forever as large stretches of its southernmost tip, the Indira Point, about 120 km from the Indonesian shores, remain underwater years after the mammoth natural disaster.
- Located at 6o 45′ N latitude, Indira Point was formerly known as the Pygmalion Point.
- The location of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands straddles one of the most critical naval and trade choke points in the world.
- The Andaman and Nicobar Command is India’s first and only joint tri-service command, with rotating three-star commanders-in-chief from the Army, Navy and Air Force reporting directly to the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.
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