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Historical Background

History- Prior Independence

Japanese Invasion

History of Kala Paani

Penal Settlement
Historical Background:

Andaman and Nicobar Islands have a great historical background. Legendary saying goes that the name Andaman owes its origin to the Malays, who have known the islands from time immemorial, since the islands provided them with slaves. They used to sail across the seas, capture some of the aborigines and give them away as slaves in trade. The Malays called them the islands of Handuman because that is how they pronounced the name of Hanuman in Ramayana, one great classic, and Handuman eventually become Andaman.

History- Prior to Independence:

Governor General of India Lord Cornwallis was much interested to establish colony in these Islands. The East India Company decided to establish a colony in the Andamans. In the year 1788 A. D., Lt. Archibald Blair was appointed by the East India Company to survey the Andaman Sea. Lt. Archibald Blair reached Andamans in the year 1789 A.D. He stayed here along with many people and named the Port after the name of the then Governor General Lord Cornwallis.

Japanese Invasion:

During the 2nd World War the British hastily evacuated and abandoned these Islands in the face of advancing Japanese Forces, allowing Japanese occupation of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Japanese brutally ruled the territory for four years from 1942 to 1945. During this period, Japanese took up massive fortification on these islands through construction of airfields (Port Blair, Rutland, and Car Nicobar), installation of Radars and guns for air defence network, chain of foreshore concrete pill boxes. On the morning of 7th October 1945,the Armada carrying 116 Indian infantry brigade of South East Asian allied Land force under the command of Brigadier A.J. Solomon surrounded Port Blair Compelling about 20,000 armed Japanese force to surrender on 9th October 1945.With the advent of Indian Independence on 15th August 1947, these islands were merged with the Indian main stream.

History of Kala Paani:

The modern history of Andaman and Nicobar Islands begins with the bringing of 200 mutineers of 1857 in January, 1958. The construction of the Cellular Jail (present National Memorial) began in 1896 and was completed in 1906. In the year 1789, they first discovered the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. But due to the natural calamities, they left the island by 1796. The second settlement was basically a penal settlement, taken up in 1858, after the First War of Independence, followed by the settlement of convicts, Moplas, some criminal tribes from Central and United Provinces, refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan, Burma and Sri Lanka as well as ex-servicemen.

Penal Settlement:

It was in 1857, after India’s First War of Independence, that a penal colony was attempted at Port Blair with an initial lot of 200 freedom fighter who, for the first time, attempted to over throw British rule in India. The number of freedom fighters increased to 773 within three months.During 1869 – 70 many Wahabi Movement activists who rose against the British rule were deported from the Central and United Provinces of undivided India to Andaman. One amongst them was Mohd. Sher Ali Khan (a Pathan), who assassinated Lord Mayo, the Viceroy and Governor General of India on 08 February 1872 at Hope Town Jetty (now called Panighat). Later,in the same year, Sher Ali Khan was executed in Viper Island by the British. On 13 September 1893, the British Government of India, ordered the construction of a cellular jail to accommodate 600 prisoners. Prior to construction of the Cellular Jail, male convicts were held in a jail on Viper Island and women convicts in South point barracks (near the present day hotel Sinclair).