North Sentinel Island: The Island of Cannibals (with Map & Photos)

This is North Sentinel Island, where the most isolated tribe in the world lives. The tribe that inhabits the island does not know what fire is, they do not know how to cultivate the land and they continue to hunt as they did centuries ago: with spears and harpoons. They live naked and their language is unintelligible to the rest of the world. It is North Sentinel, the most unknown island on the planet, where the most isolated tribe on the planet lives.

North Sentinel Island
North Sentinel Island

North Sentinel Island, which belongs to the Andaman Islands, is a small island of no more than 70 square kilometers that sits in India. From a bird's eye view we might think that we are facing one of the great paradises of the Indian Ocean, but the truth is that it is difficult to know because one of the most isolated and dangerous tribes in the world lives here

It is an island with great ecological richness and with such dense vegetation that it is impossible to see what is hidden under the treetops. Well, this place of turquoise waters and great flora is the home of a tribe that lives completely isolated from today's world.

North Sentinel Island
North Sentinel Island

They are called Sentinelenses and they are a fierce tribe known for rejecting any contact with the outside. Its inhabitants, until a few years ago, did not know what fire was, they do not know how to cultivate the land and continue to hunt and fish with rudimentary tools such as spears and harpoons. They live practically naked and speak a language completely unintelligible to the rest of the world.

It is an intriguing island, to such an extent that it is not known exactly how many people live on it. The Indian government made an attempt to census them remotely in 2001, in which they managed to count a total of 21 men and 18 women. However, estimates have led them to think that up to 500 members of this tribe may live on the island.

What has been clarified is that, following DNA analysis of members of related Andaman tribes, the Sentinelese are among the oldest communities in the world, with generations dating back more than 70,000 years. Today the tribe still maintains a rudimentary paleolithic way of life.

It is, after all, the most isolated tribe on the planet. And, therefore, one of the most vulnerable, since because they have not had close contact with modern societies, it is more than likely that they do not have immunity against diseases as common to us as the flu. The coronavirus, as you can imagine, has been non-existent on the island.

North Sentinel Island
North Sentinel Island

Sentinel, a sovereign entity


There is another curiosity of this island. Even though they belong to Indian Territory, they don't follow its rules. Let's put ourselves in context. It is an isolated tribe, that does not want contact with the outside world and that on numerous occasions have ended the lives of those who have tried to access their borders with bows and arrows created by themselves.

Such is their isolation that the Indian authorities recognize the islanders' isolation and desire to live without any contact with the outside world and have restricted their role to remote control. Simpler: the Indian authorities do not take responsibility for possible deaths in case of incursions by outsiders, since Indian laws do not apply to the Sentinelese, who manage their own affairs internally.

We could ultimately conclude that they are a sovereign entity under the protection of India. Although the Sentinelese ignore the existence of said country and their belonging to it.

Not suitable for outsiders


The Sentinelese have been in the news more times than can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Some are intrigued by their way of life, others by their isolation and still others by their ferocity. It is the latter that usually makes the headlines about this island.

One of the latest was the news that a Christian preacher and US citizen was killed on the island on November 16, 2018. This death was caused by a volley of arrows by the Sentinelese when the man illegally arrived on the island to try to interact with the people and preach Christianity among them.

North Sentinel Island
North Sentinel Island

The first woman who had contact with the tribe


As National Geographic tells, there is a woman who managed to have contact with the Sentinelese, the most isolated tribe and cataloged as the most dangerous in the world.

Her name is Madhumala Chattopafhyay, and she had wanted to study the tribes of the Andaman Islands since childhood. Years later, and after much research, she became the first anthropologist to contact the Sentinelese.

To get in touch with them, they came up with the idea of ​​throwing coconuts to the shore through a small boat with which they approached their borders. He says that, by surprise, some Sentinelese entered the water to collect coconuts, a new product for them that does not grow on their island. After this there were several more expeditions, in which the anthropologist was able to learn a little more about their culture. That if... nobody has ever managed to enter beyond the edge of the beach.

Some have cataloged them as murderers, others as ferocious cruel tribes. But for the anthropologist who made contact with them, they are "tribes that do not need outsiders to protect them, what they need is to be left alone. " And it is that, many times, it is better to let them live as they did centuries ago, since, as the anthropologist points out, “their problems began when they came into contact with outsiders.

Now, after many campaigns by Survival International with local organizations trying to contact the Sentinelese, the Indian government has abandoned plans to contact the Sentinelese, reaffirming its current position: not to try contact with the tribe again.

North Sentinel Island Map