The most hostile place in the World: Northern Sentinel Island
They settled in the region 60,000 years ago and receive visitors with violence.
It is hard to believe that there are people in the world who know nothing about television, have never seen a car or made-up clothing.
However, there are still tribes that are completely separate from global civilization and do not maintain any contact with the outside world.
Nearly 60,000 years old, North Sentinel Island is a part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which lies in the Indian Ocean, between Myanmar and Indonesia.
There, it is the place where there is one of the most isolated tribes on the planet.
Sentinelians are so hostile to external contact that the island was considered the most difficult place in the world to visit.
Sentinels seem to be direct descendants of the first humans to emerge from Africa.
The number of inhabitants cannot yet be certified, but it is estimated that there are between 40 and 500 natives.
No matter the character of the visitor, when they arrive on the island’s shores, whether on purpose or by accident, islanders receive intruders almost always in the same way: with spears and arrows, in an attack position.
Gifts, such as food and clothing, are of no importance to them.
This hostility reached the point where the natives offered resistance to rescue missions after the tsunami in 2004.
Just as the disastrous tsunami hit the Indian Ocean, a group of rescuers offered help to Sentinels through an Indian navy helicopter.
They wanted to find and help the survivors, although the chances were slim.
They tried to drop packages of food to the ground, but were met with hostility from the natives, including a sentinel warrior who came out of the dense jungle and shot an arrow trying to hit the helicopter.
Not much is known about these tribal people: the language is strange and the habits are unknown.
Their dwellings are hidden in the dense, closed forest, so there is no clue as to how they live.
All that is known is that Sentinels are hunters and gatherers, as they do not cultivate anything, it seems.
They live on fruits, fish, tubers, wild pigs, lizards and honey.
India has sovereignty over the Northern Sentinel, but it is believed that the people of that island do not even know what India is.
After several unsuccessful attempts to reach friendly contact, the Indian government finally stepped aside and banned all visits to the island.
The Indian Navy imposed a 3-mile protection zone to keep tourists, explorers and others busy at a distance.
Accidental encounters still occur and none of them ends well.
There are several horror stories of how Sentinelians have treated ‘guests’: most people return from the island terrified and injured when they return.
In 1896, a fugitive from the British Andamans prisons, drifted at sea and ended up by accident on the island’s shores.
A few days later, a search party found the body on a beach, pierced by arrows and with a cut throat.
In 1974, a group went there to make a documentary and the film’s director was wounded by an arrow in the leg.
Indian anthropologist T.N. Pandit made several government-sponsored trips to the Northern Sentinel in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
“Sometimes, they turn their backs on us and sit on their hips like they are going to defecate,” he said.
“This is a symbol of insult to them, as we were not welcome.” Surprisingly, there was only one case where an outsider did not face an aggressive reception.
On January 4, 1991, a group of 28 people, composed of men, women and children, approached Pandit and his entourage.
“It was unbelievable how they volunteered for our meeting,” he said.
“They must have decided that it was time to get in touch with other people, or they were studying us”.
In 1991, Indian anthropologist Madhumala Chattopadhyay managed to establish a brief contact after several incursions to the island, but the project was eventually suspended to protect the tribe.
After these attempts, the local population closed again and, since then, never allowed any approach of “outsiders”.
Unfortunately, the last contact with the inhabitants of the island, in 2006, was not as good as expected.
Two fishermen were killed while fishing illegally within the island’s protection strip.
Sentinelans are among the last communities that live without contact with globalization.
Perhaps it is better to leave them as they are, as bringing them into civilization can be extremely negative.
After all, they may not be immune to various diseases that exist today and it can be extremely complicated to adapt to the modern world.