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India Travel Guide

History of Andaman-And-Nicobar

Site of colonial penal settlement, the islands past is a dark chapter in India's freedom struggle

The islands history dates back to the time of the British rule in India. In the year 1788 Lord Cornwallis, the then Governor General of India ordered a survey of the islands. After the Great Revolt of 1857, the Britishers thought of establishing a penal settlement here. In March 1858, the first penal settlement was established. About 200 prisoners were sent to the islands and were subjected to inhuman conditions. The first prison and gallows were built on Viper Island. This prison was later abandoned. Work started on the three-storied prison known as the Cellular Jail in 1896. The mammoth structure consisting of 698 rooms was completed in 1906. Many a famous freedom fighters were imprisoned in this high security prison. By 1937, the Britishers abandoned the practice of sending prisoners to the islands and in 1938 the Britishers left the islands and released all the prisoners.

During World War II, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were under Japanese occupation. The islands were part of the Japanese rule from 1942-1945. The Japanese occupation brought about a lot of development in the area. They constructed roads and coerced the locals to bring land under cultivation, making the islands self-sufficient in food production. It was in December 1943 that Netaji Subash Chandra Bose hoisted the Indian National Flag at Port Blair. Netaji is also credited with establishing the first independent government on the islands. Colonel Loganathan was the first presiding official.

In 1945, the Britishers recaptured the islands. In 1947 after India gained its independence, the islands became a part of free India and were declared a Union Territory.


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