Animals

12 Amazing Things to Know About the Remote North Sentinel Island

Even though it might be difficult to believe, there are still locations on Earth where individuals do not have access to the outside world. A tribe of people aggressively defends their way of life from outsiders on a small, isolated island in the Bay of Bengal. The people and geography of North Sentinel Island are largely unknown to us. Here are twelve incredible things about this intriguing landmass, which is only slightly larger than Manhattan, that we do know.

1: North Sentinel Island Is in a Remote Location

North Sentinel Island, a small island in the Bay of Bengal, is a part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is roughly 22 miles west of Wandoor, a tiny settlement close to South Andaman’s southern edge, and 37 miles north of South Sentinel Island. Situated in Indian Union Territory, the distance from India is around 700 kilometers.

2: The Indian Government Forbids Visits to the Island

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands Protection of Aboriginal Tribes Act was passed by the Indian government in 1956. Anyone traveling within five nautical miles of North Sentinel Island is prohibited by this Act. The Act shields foreigners from Sentinelese threats as well as from the Sentinelese themselves. The Indian Navy controls entry and keeps a close eye on the region.

3: It’s Impossible to Get an Accurate Estimate of the Island’s Population

In 2011, the Indian government made an attempt to conduct a census. The estimated population of the island, according to anthropologists, could be as low as 15 or as high as 500. It could vary from 80 to 150.

4: We Know Very Little of the Island’s Inhabitants, the Sentinelese

We are aware that the islanders reside in slanted-roof lean-to huts. They construct canoes for fishing and gathering crabs. Living as hunter-gatherers, the Sentinelese presumably consume wild fruits, eggs laid by seagulls and turtles, and go pig hunting. We also know that they equip themselves with knives, spears, arrows, and bows.

5: The Sentinelese Fiercely Protect Their Island

For centuries, the native inhabitants of the island have refused to interact with strangers. Nobody has been able to come close more than a few times. The survivors of an Indian merchant shipwreck in 1867 were ambushed by the tribespeople after they had taken refuge on the shore for three days.

Then, in 1880, soldiers from the British Royal Navy arrived on the island and took six people hostage, including an elderly couple and four children. The old couple passed away, and they all became quite sick. The Navy then made the decision to bring the four ailing kids back to North Sentinel Island’s beach along with a modest mound of presents. We are unsure if the sick kids infected others on the island.

The Sentinelese were not going to take any chances after this. On an improvised raft, an escaped prisoner washed up on the coast in 1896. But the people of the island did not welcome him with open arms. Indeed, his throat was sliced when his body was discovered later, full of arrows.

6: The Best Way to View the Island Is From Afar

The only way we can research the area’s geography is by air. A tropical island with stunning blue waters, coral reefs, and dense woods extending from coast to coast is visible during a flyby. But airline travel is costly, and the islanders would probably shoot drones down. Moreover, both would require governmental authorization. The majority of researchers use long-range binoculars or telescopes to acquire views of the island.

7: Anthropologists Have Attempted to Make Contact Over the Years

The Anthropological Survey of India tried to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the Sentinelese in 1967. Iron rods, plastic cutlery, and coconuts—which don’t grow on the island—were left behind.

The anthropologists came again in 1991, this time with additional coconuts. The squad was first welcomed in a calm manner. But when they came back a few months later with a bigger group, things went bad and the Sentalese threatened to kill them, so they cut off communication.

8: Recent Visitors to North Sentinel Island Meet Dire Fates

Two fisherman from Myanmar were compelled to make an emergency landing on the island in 2006. For them, this did not turn out well. The Seninelese slaughtered them, and their corpses were buried in the sand.

2018 marks the most recent known communication with the tribe. A 26-year-old American missionary tried to reach out to the tribe in order to share the gospel even though he was aware that it was against the law to do so. The young man continued despite the tribesmen’s repeated and clear warnings. Ultimately, he was shot by Sentinelese arrows, and his body was buried on the shore.

9: The Sentinelese Have No Immunity to the Common Cold

The islanders have been isolated for thousands of years, so they are not immune to common illnesses like the flu, the common cold, or measles. As a result, contracting any of the contemporary diseases has the potential to spread havoc throughout the population.

They are probably not going to suffer the same fate as nearby islands because of the Sentinelese staunch defense of their territory. Common diseases like the flu and measles devastated numerous populations when the British occupied other Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

10: They Survived a Tsunami in 2004

In 2004, a massive tsunami hit the region. The 9.1-magnitude earthquake that occurred on December 26 caused the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Twenty minutes after the earthquake, the tsunami caused severe waves and floods as it reached the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Helicopters from the Indian Coast Guard circled the island to see whether anyone on North Sentinel Island needed assistance. The Sentinelese, on the other hand, appeared healthy and showed no desire in receiving help. They opened fire on the helicopter with arrows. Obviously, the helicopter continued its journey and abandoned the Sentinelese.

11: The Sentinelese Have Been on North Sentinel Island for a Long Time

The Sentinelese people are thought to have lived on the island for at least 60,000 years. According to anthropologists, they are derived from the earliest people on Earth, who lived in Africa. Theoretically, they arrived on the island during a period of significantly lower sea levels. The island’s inhabitants were cut off from the outside world thousands of years ago when the sea levels rose.

12: We Can Only Guess What Wildlife Lives on the Island

The island’s coral reefs, mangroves, and thick tropical rain forests are probably home to many rare and endangered species since they haven’t been impacted by contemporary development or technology. Even though we are unable to examine North Sentinel Island, we are aware of the inhabitants of South Sentinel Island.

We are aware of the following species that live on the adjacent South Sentinel Island:

  • Coconut Crabs (Robber Crabs)
  • Pied Imperial Pigeons
  • Nicobar Pigeons
  • Andaman Crake
  • Green Sea Turtle
  • Leatherback Sea Turtle
  • Andaman Horseshoe Bat
  • Andaman Emerald Gecko
  • Sunda Teal (Dabbling Duck)