Andaman & Nicobar Island

The Great Andamanese

The Great AndamaneseThe are one the largest in population among the various tribes inhabiting the Andaman Islands.

Around middle of the nineteenth century the Great Andaman islands were inhabited by ten tribes, whose estimated population was 7,000.

They were the Aka-Cari, Aka-Cora, Aka-Bo, Aka-Jeru, Aka-Kede, Aka-Kol, Oku-Juwoi, Aka-Pucikwar, Aka-Bale and Aka-Bea.

Survivors of those ten tribes are now known by the generic term of Great Andamanese. After coming in contact with the colonizers they were ravaged by different diseases. In 1971 only 19 persons of them were alive, who were rehabilitated at Strait Island. They could survive the danger of imminent extinction, thanks to timely intervention by the administrators and anthropologists.

Their estimated population in 1789 was 10,000. by 1901, their number had decreased to 625 and by only 24 of them survived, but by 1999. their number has increased to 41.

The Administration is doing its best to protect and preserve these tribes. These tribes have been rehabilitated in a small island named Strait Island. The great andamanese are foragers. Today, they eat rice, dal chapatti and other modern food articles. They can cook food with the ingredients of spices. At times, they still go in for hunting and gathering. Actually, their traditional food items are fish, dugong, turtle, turtle eggs, crabs, roots and tubers. Some of them cultivate vegetables.

The Moplahs

Moplah LadyThe Moplahs of Malabar took part in a non-cooperation movement in 1921 against the British government of India. Some leaders of the movement were deported to the Andamans with their families. They eventually settled down in some villages of South Andaman islands. The Moplahs claim their descent from Arab traders, who used to visit the south-eastern coast of India.

The Moplahs are Muslim by faith and they have a few religious schools of thought among them.