North Sentinel Island is an island located close to the main island of Andaman in the Bay of Bengal. It is one of the most isolated places on earth and said to have been separated from any mainland for about 65,000 years.
The remote island is inhabited by the Sentinelese, an ethnic group believed to be hostile to anyone who dares to step foot on the island.
The Sentinelese reject any contact with the outside world, and are among the last people worldwide to remain virtually untouched by modern civilization.
It is said that there are an estimated 50 to 500 people on North Sentinel Island, but because outsider attempts to reach the island have been met with extreme hostility, those numbers may be inaccurate, and only limited information about the island is known.
Primarily hunter-gatherers, the Sentinelese get their food from hunting, fishing, and collecting wild plants. They speak an unintelligible language, and their language is still unknown.
But did you know that the British made several attempts to invade the island but couldn’t succeed?
The British had been doing in Andaman what they did in the rest of India – continuous expansion of the Empire and elimination of the indigenous population.
In one such attempt, which the British termed “exploration”, they captured six Sentinelese, an elderly couple and four children. Those six Sentinelese were taken to Port Blair, the British headquarters in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
According to a British report, all of them felt sick rapidly; the two elderly died almost immediately after they left the North Sentinel Island. The British were perplexed and worried that the remaining four would die too, they sent the children back to the island with gifts.
It is this incident which may have started a legend that not only the residents of the the North Sentinel Island don’t allow outsiders into the island, but they themselves can’t tolerate life out of the island.
The Indian government has banned any and all contact with the people of North Sentinel Island.
The government has declared the entire island and its surrounding waters extending 3 miles from the island to be an exclusion zone. To preserve the island and its people, the Indian Navy patrols about 3 miles around the island not allowing anyone into the island.
It is said that the Andaman and Nicobar administration has no any intention to interfere with the lifestyle or habitat of the Sentinelese and are not interested in pursuing any further contact with them.
This video is the only one available which shows a close contact with the Sentinelese. It was shot probably by the Indian Coast Guard in 1990.
These are the little known things about the North Sentinel Island. We don’t really have any idea what their personal beliefs are, what their social dynamic is, how they really live, and we don’t really know what will happen to this tribe in the future as well.