The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is one of the seven union territories of India, are a group of islands at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.
The territory is 150 km (93 mi) north of Aceh in Indonesia and separated from Thailand and 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 Andamanese town 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.
The Andaman Islands are home to the only known Paleolithic people, the Sentinelese people, who have no contact with any other people till date.
Hindi and English are the official languages of the islands. Bengali is the dominant and most spoken language, with 26% of the population speaking Bengali. The other major languages spoken in the islands are Hindi (18.23%), Tamil (17.68%), Telugu (12.81%), Malayalam (8.11%) and Nicobarese (8.05%) according to 2001 Census of India.
Area: 8,249 km²
Population: 380,500 (2012)
State Animal: Dugong
State Bird: Andaman wood pigeon
Languages: Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Nicobarese, English
The History of Island
The earliest archaeological evidence yet documented goes back some 2,200 years. However, genetic and cultural studies suggest that the indigenous Andamanese people may have been isolated from other populations since some time during the Middle Paleolithic, which ended 30,000 years ago.
Since that time, the Andamanese have diversified into distinct linguistic, cultural and territorial groups.
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 being closely related to the Austroasiatic languages in mainland Southeast Asia.
Chola empire period
Rajendra Chola I (1014 to 1042 AD), a chola emperor used the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as a strategic naval base to launch an expedition against the Sriwijaya Empire (Indonesia). The chola empire called the island as Ma-Nakkavaram[great open/naked land] which is also found in the Thanjavur[Tamil Nadu] inscription of 1050 AD. European traveller Marco Polo (12th-13th century) also referred to this island as ‘Necuverann’ and a corrupted form of Tamil name Nakkavaram would have led to modern name Nicobar during British colonial period.
Later the Maratha empire, Danish colonial period and British Raj, Japanese and finally INDIA