Do you ever dream about sailing the seven seas in search of a deserted island where you can spend some alone time? Dont we all. With the sheer number of islands on our beautiful planet, there are a lot of tropical paradises still unknown to man. In fact, 657 islands were discovered in 2011. Thats recent! But if theres ever an island that we should warn you about, its this one. Its called the North Sentinel Island and it should be avoided at all costs. Why? Because you might get murdered by the natives.
Image Source: commons.wikimedia
The North Sentinel Island is located in the Bay of Bengal and is part of the archipelago to the east of India called the Andaman Islands which have been inhabited by people since the Middle Palaeolithic and were mostly isolated up until the 18th century AD. The North Sentinel Island is a small (approximately the size of Manhattan), heavily forested island home to the Sentinelese who are among the last tribes that remain untouched by modern civilization. They have supposedly been on the island without any contact with the outside world for 60,000 years and we barely know anything about them.
Image Source: wikipedia
Its not like attempts were not made to contact the Sentinelese people. Several were, and they were met with increasing hostility. In 1867, an Indian merchant ship was wrecked near the island. 106 passengers and crewmen survived and went to the coast for help where they were attacked by the Sentinelese. They were eventually rescued by a Royal Navy Recue Party. In 1981, a ship called Primrose grounded on a reef. A few days later, the crew observed that the natives were building boats and carrying spears and arrows and immediately radioed for help and were rescued. After the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, an Indian government helicopter flew over the island and observed the natives. They threw stones and shot arrows at it. In 2006, a fishing boat drifted near the island and the two fishermen aboard were killed. Its easy enough to observe: the Sentinelese simply do not want to be disturbed! And the Indian government has respected their decision: the island and its surrounding waters are a part of a three mile exclusion zone, which means that it is illegal to go anywhere near that island.
Image Source: dailymail
The only successful attempt at contact was made by Trilokinath Pandit, a director of the Anthropological Survey of India, in 1991. But all attempts have ceased since 1997 and we are guessing that the natives are pleased with this.
Due to their complete isolation from the world, the Sentinelese do not have immunity to common diseases and could be easily wiped out. In fact, in January 1880, a colonial expedition through the island captured six of theman elderly couple and four childrenand brought them to Port Blair. The old man and woman died and the four children sickened rapidly and were sent back home. Although the community is thriving right now, the waters around the island may be under threat due to illegal fishing. The people of the North Sentinel Island are extremely vulnerable and can perish in an instant if their habitat is not protected.
Image Source: Survival International
Its difficult to imagine that there are some people out there who are happy living in their world without any contact with outsiders, rejecting everything modern along the way. This interconnected world does have some pockets of complete isolation after all. The North Sentinel Island will probably remain a mystery to us forever, but some beautiful things are best left untouched, dont you agree?