History and Geography: The Nicobar Islands are situated 121 km from Little Andaman island. There are 36 inhabited islands in the Andaman and 12 in the Nicobar District.
Original inhabitants of the island lived in the forests hunting and fishing. There are 4 Negrito tribes, viz, the Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa and Sentinalese in the Andaman group of island and shompens in the Nicobar group of islands. Among these, the Jarawas and the Sentinalese have not yet learnt the concept of covering their bodies.
Modern history of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands begins with the establishment of a settlement by East India Company in 1789. However, in 1796 this was abandoned. Following the first war of Indian Independence in 1857, the British Indian government founded the penal settlement in these island in 1858, known as Kalapani, for the deportation of mutineers, political prisoners and criminals from the mainland India which continued till the Second World War. During the Second World war, the Japanese force occupied the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1942. Further following the World war, the British India Government reoccupied these in 1945 and continued their administration of these islands till the independence of the country in 1947.
The Andaman and Nicobar Island, a Union Territory, is situated between 6 and 14 North Latitude and 92 and 94 East Longitude. The group of 572 island/ islets lie in the Bay of Bengal, 193 km from Cape Negaoris in Burma (Myanamar), 1,225 km from Kolkata and 1,190 km from Chennai. Two principal group of islets are Ritchie’s Archipelago and Labyrinth Islands.
Economy: About 48,675 hectares of land is used for agriculture purposes. Paddy, the main crop, is mostly cultivated in Andaman group of islands, whereas coconut and arecanut are the main cash crops of Nicobar group of islands. Field crops, namely, oilseeds and vegetables are grown, followed by paddy during Rabi season. Different kinds of fruits such as mango, sapota, orange, banana, papaya, pineapple crops are grown on hilly land owned by farmers.
Forest cover 7,171 sq km of the total area of the island. All types of forests are found, such as giant evergreen, hill-top evergreen, moist, deciduous, littoral, and swamp forest. A large variety of timber is found in the Andaman group of islands. The most valuable timbers are padauk and gurjan. These species are not found in Nicobar.
There are 1,374 registered small scale, village and handicraft units. Two units are export oriented in the line of fish processing units are engaged in production of ploythene bags, PVC conduit pipes and fittings, paints and varnishes, and mini flour mills, soft drinks and beverages, steel furniture as also Ms aluminium doors and windows etc. small scale and handicraft units are also engaged in shell crafts, bakery products, rice milling, furniture making, oil seeds etc.