Sun Mar 18, 2012, 03:57 AM
ellisonz (26,574 posts)
North Sentinel Island
North Sentinel Island is one of the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. It lies to the west of the southern part of South Andaman Island. Most of the island is forested. Because it is small, located away from the main settlements on Great Andaman, surrounded by coral reefs, and lacks natural harbors, it was never settled by Europeans.
A group of indigenous people, the Sentinelese, live on North Sentinel Island. They speak the Sentinelese language and their present numbers are estimated to be anywhere between 50 and 400 individuals. They reject any contact with other people, and are among the last people to remain virtually untouched by modern civilization.
indian exploratory parties under orders to establish friendly relations with the Sentinelese made brief landings on the island every few years beginning in 1967. In 1975, Leopold III of Belgium, on a tour of the Andamans, was brought by local dignitaries for an overnight cruise to the waters off North Sentinel Island. The cargo ships MV Rusley and MV Primrose ran aground on coastal reefs in the summer of 1977 and August 1981 respectively. The Sentinelese are known to have scavenged these wrecks for iron. Settlers from Port Blair also visited the sites to recover cargo. In 1991, salvage operators were authorized to dismantle the ships.
The first peaceful contact with the Sentinelese was made by Trilokinath Pandit, a director of the Anthropological Survey of India, and his colleagues on January 4, 1991. Indian visits to the island ceased in 1997.
On August 2, 1981, the ship Primrose grounded on the North Sentinel Island reef. A few days later, crewmen on the immobile vessel observed that small black men were carrying spears and arrows and building boats on the beach. The captain of the Primrose radioed for an urgent airdrop of firearms so the crew could defend themselves, but did not receive them. Heavy seas kept the islanders away from the ship. After a week, the crew were rescued by an Indian navy helicopter.
Parts of the island were tilted by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, sinking some of the surrounding coral reefs and raising others. The survival of the Sentinelese was confirmed when, three days after the event, an Indian government helicopter observed several of them, who shot arrows and threw stones at the hovering aircraft with the apparent intent of repelling it. The coastline of the island has changed completely, and although the fishing grounds of the Sentinelese were disturbed, they appear to have adapted to the island's current conditions.
On January 26, 2006, two fishermen were killed by Sentinelese when their boat drifted near the island.
From 1991 - 1st "Friendly" Contact:
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Response to ellisonz (Original post)
Tue Mar 27, 2012, 10:26 AM
FRG4 (14 posts)
3. I've heard about these people
They are one of the few uncontacted peoples on the planet and have been living on the island, apparently isolated from the rest of the world for thousands of years. They reject all contact with the outside world, too.
North Sentinel Island is a very small area. At most it can probably support only a few hundred people. From a genetic perspective this creates a bottleneck. I wonder how they've avoided "inbreeding" for such a long time.