The Andaman Islands form an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal between India, to the west, and Myanmar, to the north and east. Most are part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands which are the Union Territory of India, while a small number in the north of the archipelago, including the Coco Islands, belong to Myanmar.
The Andaman Islands are home to the Andamanese, a group of indigenous people that includes a number of tribes including the Jarawa and Sentinelese tribes. While some of the islands can be visited with permits, others including the North Sentinel island are banned for entry by law. The Sentinelese are generally hostile to visitors and have had little contact with any other people. The government protects their right to privacy.
In 1789, the Bengal Presidency established a naval base and penal colony on Chatham Island in the southeast bay of Great Andaman. The settlement is now known as Port Blair. After two years, the colony was moved to the northeast part of Great Andaman and was named Port Cornwallis after Admiral William Cornwallis. However, there was much disease and death in the penal colony and the government ceased operating it in May 1796.
The Andaman and Nicobar islands were occupied by Japan during World War II. The islands were nominally put under the authority of the Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind headed by Subhas Chandra Bose, who visited the islands during the war, and renamed them as Shaheed & Swaraj. On 30 December 1943, during the Japanese occupation, Bose, who was allied with the Japanese, first raised the flag of Indian independence. General Loganathan, of the Indian National Army, was Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which had been annexed to the Provisional Government. According to Werner Gruhl: "Before leaving the islands, the Japanese rounded up and executed 750 innocents."
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