Information on Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
8,249 square kilometres.
Bay of Bengal, 920 to 940 East Longitude 60 to 140 North Latitude
1,255 kms. from Kolkata 1,200 kms. from Vishakapatnam
Varies from sea level to 732 metres
Saddle Peak-732 mts.
Min Temp 230C Max Tern 310C
The islands have a tropical climate throughout the year with humidity relatively high about 70% to 90%. There is medium to heavy rain during the monsoon,in the months from May to mid September and November to mid December. There is no extreme climate except rains and tropical storms in late summer often cause heavy damage.
The indigenous tribes include the Onge,Sentinelese,Jarawa and Andamanese of Negroid descent living on the Andaman Islands and the Shompen and Nicobarese of Mongoloid descent living in the Nicobar Islands. Most of the tribes are on the verge of extinction. They continue to maintain a unique lifestyle living in harmony with nature just as they have done for thousands of years.
Paddy is the main food crop and is mostly cultivated in the Andaman group of islands,whereas coconut and areca nut are the main cash crops of the Nicobar group of islands. Different kinds of fruits such as mango,sapota,orange,banana,papaya,pineapple and some root crops are also grown on the islands.
A large variety of timber is found in the Andaman group of islands. The Islands have reported the occurrence of diatomaceous earth, gold, limestone, nickel, selenite and sulphur.
Andaman and Nicobar is a cluster of around 572 islands stretching from the southern tip of Burma all the way down south till Sumatra in Indonesia. Marco Polo was among the first from the West to set foot on one of the islands.
In the early 18th century Kanhoji Angre,who was a Maratha admiral attacked passing Portuguese,Dutch and English merchant vessels and in 1713,his navy even succeeded in capturing the yacht of the British Governor of Bombay.
After his death in 1729 the British established their first colony in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1789,which was abandoned in 1796. The British finally annexed the islands in the 19th century adding them to their empire. They turned it into a penal colony for Indian freedom fighters. The construction of the infamous Cellular Jail was completed in 1908. Hundreds of anti-British Indians were tortured to death or simply executed here.
With the Second World War, Japanese troops occupied the islands and the local tribes initiated guerrilla activities to drive them out. When India achieved independence in 1947, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were incorporated into the Indian Union.