The Andaman Islands in the Gulf of Bengal, know its history

The Andaman Islands form an archipelago that belongs to India and that is in the gulf of Bengal. In total, it is made up of more than 300 islands, but the main ones are 5: North Andaman, Middle Andaman, South Andaman, Baratang and Rutland Island. Do you want to know more about them?

These islands They are known to be the only ones with volcanic activity in India. Their volcanoes erupted in the 1990s and, after 15 inactive years, in 2005 they re-registered activity. But it is not its nature that concerns us today, but the whole history that this archipelago contains.

The first records of the Andaman Islands

Little Andaman

Many say that some of the names registered by Ptolemy in his travels correspond to the Andaman Islands, although there is nothing certain. What is true is that in the ninth century they appear for the first time cited in some chronicles of Arab origin about India and China.

These first words about the archipelago greatly influenced the subsequent perception of it. And is that there was talk that the natives were cannibals, an idea that persisted for a long time and that they themselves repeatedly denied.

The Andalusians

Several centuries later, the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčindigenous savagery persisted. Even Marco Polo spoke of the natives as "dog-faced man eating". Although the truth is that he probably didn't even get off the ship he was traveling on.

This idea still lasted over time. So much so that in the 16th and 18th centuries people were still talking about the hostility of the inhabitants, and the truth is that in many cases it was like that.

The colony of Bengal

Andaman Beach - Jess Liotta and Colin Liotta /

At the end of the 18th century, the government of the Bengal region decided to create in these islands a penal colony. That is, it turned the territory into a prison for political prisoners in India and Africa. In this way, in 1789 the first settlement was made in Great Andaman, in which area is now known as Port Blair.

The colony was there for a couple of years, but they decided to move it due to the large number of diseases that were recorded. However, these continued to spread and mortality remained very high. For this reason, the authorities decided to close it permanently in 1796.

But nevertheless, a prison colony was founded again in the mid-19th century in the same location as the first. Although, to avoid the proliferation of diseases, it was decided to dry a nearby swamp and cut down the nearest jungle.

Japanese occupation

Japanese troops took the Andaman Islands during World War II, specifically in the year 1942. The Japanese barely encountered resistance, either from the Andalusians or the British. The latter were sent, mostly, to Singapore as prisoners of war.

The Japanese occupation barely lasted 3 years. A dark time in the islands in which all kinds of atrocities were committed. The records were destroyed before the troops left the islands. However, the testimonies of witnesses who spoke of torture, persecutions and murders remained.

The independence of the Andaman Islands

Beach on the islands - Rajeev Rajagopalan /

When the contest ended, the islands became part of Britain for a short time. This was the case until 1947, when there was independence from India. In this way, the Andaman Islands became part of one of the six territories of the country, as they are currently maintained.

But nevertheless, the English continued to use these territories as a prison for the followers of the Movement for the Independence of India. Therefore, Port Blair was called by many as "the Siberia of British India."

One of the last relevant events in the Andaman Islands also had tragic dyes. This is the tsunami of 2004, the result of a strong earthquake in the Indian Ocean. The waves, which reached 10 meters, swept the islands.