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The last uncontacted tribe was contacted ten times



In 2018, 26-year-old John Allen Chau decided to do missionary work among the "uncontacted" people from North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal. His decision was not well advised. The islanders were known to be hostile to outsiders, and the Indian government had illegalized the contact. Chau called the place "Satan's last fortress".

See also: 10 tribes that avoided modern civilization

However, Chau repeatedly paid the fishermen to drop him near the island. The inhabitants decidedly rejected his first advance. On his second idea, he even sang Christian hymns to the Sentinelese. After initial mixed reactions from the tribe, a boy shot an arrow in Chau's Bible. The missionary withdrew again.

On Chau's third attempt, the islanders killed him and buried his body in the sand.

People on North Sentinel Island are often referred to as the “last uncontacted tribe”. They have been approached several times over the past 200 years, often with tragic consequences.

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The Shipwreck

Signs of life were first seen in 1771 from a passing survey ship on North Sentinel Island, but there are no records of anyone who landed there until 1867. At that time, the Nineveh an Indian merchant ship, destroyed on a reef off North Sentinel Island. The 86 passengers and 20 crew members who made it to the shore through the dangerous reef must have counted their blessings.

Although not for long.

For two days, the Sentinelese kept a close eye on their unwanted guests. On the third day, the tribe seemed to feel that the survivors had survived their reception. The Sentinelese attacked the beached visitors. The ship's captain described the islanders as "perfectly naked, with short hair and red-painted noses". He also said that they shot their guests with iron arrows. [1]

With sticks and stones, the passengers and the crew of the Nineveh held the Sentinelese as long as they could. Eventually, the survivors were saved by a Royal Navy ship.

9 The Naval Commander

In 1879, the British government, Maurice Portman, then 19, gave responsibility for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, although the British Empire had no particular right to do so. Typically the largest islands were used as outposts of the empire. The smaller ones, including North Sentinel Island, had little mineral or other resources to offer.

Nevertheless, Portman led an expedition to the island. When he and his troops arrived in the center of the settlement, he found huts. They had recently been abandoned by the residents who had fled inland before the troops entered the country. The strangers searched and persecuted the possessions of the islanders.

After a few days, the expedition encountered an elderly couple and four children who seemed to be lagging behind the rest of the tribe. The isolated islanders were captured and taken to Port Blair. Portman kept them in his house so that he could "study" them.

Unfortunately, the prisoners quickly fell ill. In fact, the older couple died within a few days. It is believed that the Sentinelese have become particularly vulnerable to disease due to their isolation from the world.

When Portman found that the children were dying, he brought them back to the island. He dropped her on the beach and left the indigenous people with food, blankets and deadly pathogens. It is not known whether any of the children survived or how many of the islanders also fell ill as a result of Portman's actions.

He later wrote: "This expedition was not a success. We cannot say that we have done more than increase their general terror and hostility to all comers. “[2]

8 The escaped convict

In 1896, a patrol looking for three escaped convicts from the Great Andaman Island penal colony discovered a body on the shores of North Sentinel Island.

A landing party carefully waded to the beach, where they found clothes from all three convicts. It is believed that two of them drowned in the reef and their clothes were torn off after being caught on the coral. The third convict appeared to have come ashore alive.

However, it was not the sanctuary he had hoped for. The remains of his bamboo raft were found floating in the water, and his body was "pierced by arrows in several places and provided with a throat cut". [3]

7 The Anthropologists [19659023] The Sentinelesen remained until 1967, when the anthropologist TN, Pandit alone, tried to contact the islanders. He made a number of visits over a period of about 20 to 25 years. First, the indigenous people retreated inland and hid. But Pandit slowly gained the trust of the islanders by leaving gifts for them on the beach.

Coconuts, pots and pans were valued. It wasn't sweets and plastic toys. The pig was also not tied to the beach.

When the anthropologists returned, they found that the animal had been cut in the neck and the body had been buried in the sand. After receiving gifts for several years, the islanders began meeting with the anthropologists' boat and picking up the coconuts that do not grow on the island. [4]

Sentinelese made it clear that visitors were not welcome on the island. Anyone who came too close was threatened with a knife or spear.

The Indian government finally suspended the program.

6 The Conquerors

In 1970 a small survey group landed the furthest from the locals and officially claimed the island for India.

The surveyors hurriedly erected a memorial plaque before they retreated to their boat. The invasion was so restrained that the Sentinelese are extremely unlikely to know that they had just been conquered by India. In fact, they probably didn't know what India was. [5]

However, the plaque was there, which is the main thing.

5 The Documentaries [19659033] In 1974 a film team from National Geographic shot a documentary about the Andaman Islands. It was entitled man looking for man . They followed T.N. Pandit and his group of anthropologists who left coconut gifts on the beach.

The documentary filmmakers had spent some time on the other islands and planned to stay in North Sentinel for three days. They wanted to leave gifts on the beach every day to increase the trust of the islanders. [6]

When the filmmakers' boat crossed the reef, the Sentinelese emerged from the woods and shot arrows to keep the strangers from landing. The crew maneuvered to a safe place and left their gifts in the sand.

Then they waited, hoping that the withdrawn residents would invite visitors to the beach.

The islanders did not send them.

Instead, they sent another volley of arrows, which came closer this time, and one of the arrows hit the director on the thigh. The warrior who threw the arrow could be seen "laughing proudly". Most gifts were rejected, although the coconuts, which were still a favorite, were brought back to the forest.

Although the expedition largely failed, it was successful in it. The filmmakers took the first known picture of the islanders. From far.

4 The former king of Belgium

In 1975 Leopold III, the former king of Belgium, was said to have been enthusiastic about meeting the Sentinelese. However, he did it from the safety of a boat. Leopold, who was hosted by dignitaries from the region on his cruise, visited the Andaman Islands when the ship sailed one night near the coast of North Sentinel Island.

A young tribesman watched the beach. When the strangers sailed nearby, he got up and fired the bow and arrow to warn them. Far from being afraid, the king is said to have expressed his "deep satisfaction" with the experience. [7]

3 The cargo ship

1981 a 16,000-ton freighter, MV Primrose ran aground in the storm. The ship, with its 31 crew members, was caught in the reef at midnight after being thrown around in big waves.

When the sun rose, the crew found that the dry land was only a few hundred meters away. Although the island looked idyllic, the sea was still too rough to lower the lifeboats. Fortunately, the captain decided that he and his crew would stay on board and wait for help.

It wasn't long before the crew noticed movements on the beach. People emerged from the forest and didn't look friendly. They waved spears, bows and arrows onto the battered boat.

In desperation, the captain sent a cable and ordered airmail weapons to ward off "wild island people with spears and arrows". The crew's panic increased as the islanders boarded their own wooden boats and looked as if they wanted to board the freighter.

The ship's captain sent another cable. "They will climb us worried at sunset. The life of all crew members cannot be guaranteed. “ [8]

Fortunately for the crew of Primrose the rough sea prevented the islanders from getting too close. The crew was forced to keep watch around the clock with all available weapons.

A few days later, all crew members were brought to safety by helicopter. The ship capsized in front of the reef. It is believed that the islanders later cleaned up the ship and made the deadly tips for their arrows with some iron.

2 The Post-Tsunami Welfare Check

In 2004 a tsunami hit the Bay of Bengal. It was feared that the Sentinelese might have been wiped out forever. It has always been difficult to determine how many islanders there were. The estimates ranged from a few dozen to 500 people.

Did the tsunami destroy the last uncontacted tribe?

To find out, the Indian Coast Guard sent a helicopter to survey the region. When the helicopter flew low over the beach, a tribal man emerged from the forest, pulled his bow back, and shot an arrow at the rescue helicopter. [9]

It was believed that the islanders had fared better than many of their neighbors during the tsunami. The Sentinelese may have had unique knowledge of the movement of the wind and the sea and may have moved far inland before the waves hit.

1 The Drunken Fishermen

In 2006, two middle-aged Indian fishermen went crab fishing off North Sentinel Island. They were there at night because fishing in the protected waters was illegal. After anchoring, they decided to fight the cold night air with a little alcohol.

And then a little more.

Both fishermen are said to have fallen asleep. It is also believed that their anchor, a rope tied around a rock, has come loose and drove them to the island. When the sun rose, fishermen nearby tried to warn the unsuspecting men that they were in danger. But they kept sleeping.

When the boat did not return, her family members warned. But it was too late. The two men had been attacked. The coast guard tried to rescue them, but they were hit with a hail of arrows.

As the helicopter hovered over the beach, the wind blew the sand away from its rotor blades and uncovered the bodies of the fishermen buried in a shallow grave. [10]

The two bodies were left on North Sentinel Island, as was the body of John Allen Chau. The Indian authorities concluded that it was too dangerous to recover the remains. This was true for both the rescuers and the Sentinel readers, who made it clear that they simply wanted to be left alone.

About the author: Ward Hazell is a freelance writer and travel writer for whom he is currently also studying for a PhD in English literature.



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