Little is known historically about Andaman and Nicobar, a cluster of around 572 islands of which less than 50 are populated, stretching from the southern tip of Burma all the way down south till Sumatra in Indonesia. It is believed that Marco Polo was among the first from the West to set foot on one of the islands.
Kanhoji Angre, a Maratha admiral had his base on the island in the early 18th century. From there, he attacked passing Portuguese, Dutch and English merchant vessels on their way to or from their various Asian colonies. In 1713, his navy even succeeded in capturing the yacht of the British Governor of Bombay.
Despite many efforts by the British and later a joint military force of British and Portuguese naval forces, Kanhoji Angre was never defeated. He died in 1729.
The British established their first colony in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1789, which was abandoned in 1796. The British finally annexed the islands in the 19th century adding them to their empire.
They turned it into a penal colony for Indian freedom fighters. The construction of the infamous Cellular Jail was completed in 1908. Hundreds of anti-British Indians were tortured to death or simply executed here.
With the Second World War, Japanese troops occupied the islands and the local tribes initiated guerrilla activities to drive them out. When India achieved independence in 1947, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were incorporated into the Indian Union.
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Nature has created Port Blair with great care and it shows in every view that catches your eye, whether it is the setting sun or the luxuriant mangroves or the colourful panorama of the wild orchids.
Large stretches of white sand, coral reefs teeming with marine life - the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a haven for tourists and holiday makers. Although this tropical archipelago consists of about 300 islands, only 39 of them are inhabited. Unspoiled and untouched by the vagaries of modern life, these islands are truly the perfect tropical paradise.
Discovered by Arab merchants in the 9th century, Marco Polo was the first official visitor to this tropical string of islands. The islands were involved in political tug-of-wars - they were annexed by the Marathas in the late 17th century, then by the British in the 19th century and occupied by the Japanese during World War II - before they were incorporated into the Indian Union in 1947.
The harbour town of Port Blair, and also the main entry point to the islands as well as the state capital, lies on the east coast of South Andaman. Way back, in 1788, a young British officer named Archibald Blair discovered the splendid natural harbour that he named Port Cornwallis, which was later named after him.