The Andamanese and Nicobarese can be split into 2 broad tribal groups mainly based on their place of origin. The Andaman Islands are home to 4 ‘Negrito’ tribes where as - the Great Andamanese, Onges, Jarawas and Sentinelese. Where as the Nicobar Islands are home to 2 ‘Mongoloid’ tribes - the Shompen and Nicobarese.
The ‘Negrito’ tribes are believed to have arrived in the islands from Africa up to 60,000 years ago. The ‘Mongoloid’ tribes probably came to the islands from the Malay-Burma coast several thousand years ago.
Great Andamanese Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: Great Andamanese tribal group resides in the Strait Island. This was the largest tribal group earlier in Andaman. But presently the number has decreased notably. The people of this tribe still go for hunting and gathering. Some of them also depend upon agriculture producing different vegetables. The great Andamanese were foragers.
Jarawa Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: This tribe presently resides at the Western coast of Middle Andaman and South Andaman Islands. Their esteemed population is 341. This nomadic tribe is surviving on hunting, fishing and gathering. The Jarawa people use crude rafts to cross creeks and streams.
Sentinelese Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: The people of this group are settled in the North Sentinel Island. They are the world’s only Palaeolithic people surviving today without contact with any other group or community. The people of this tribe are considered as an off-shoot to the Onge Jarawa tribes which have acquired a different identity due to their habitation in an isolated and have lost contact with the main tribes.
Onges Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: This tribal group is one of the oldest tribe in India. They are related to the Negrito racial stock and they have been relegated to the reserved pockets both at Dugong Creek and South Bay of Little Andaman Island. These people developed artistry and craft. Their present population is 105. They occasionally go for hunting and fishing.
Shompens Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: The people of this tribe belong to the Mongoloid Group. They inhabit the Nicobar Islands. This tribe has 2 divisions. The smaller division is ‘Mawa Shompens’ that live very close to the coastal region along the river valleys. The main group of Shompens is hostile and resides in Alexandra and Galathia river areas and also on the east coast of the area in the interiors. The number of the Shompens is estimated to be 400. The Shompens speak in a dialect of their own.
Nicobarese Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: The Nicobarese tribal group is having their own set of laws and traditions. Their numbers have dwindled greatly as a result of various diseases and they are physically very weak.
Indian Tribal People
Indian Scheduled Tribes
Andaman and Nicobar Islands