I came across some very interesting information today, and I had to share it on this blog. Do you see the woman in the feature image of this post? Her name was Boa Sr. She was the last member of the Bo Tribe who happened to be the first descendants of early humans to migrate from Africa about 70,000 years ago. The tribe was located on the Andaman Islands, which is in the Bay of Bengal between India and Myanmar.
Classified as the Negrito Peoples, the Great Andamanese are believed to be the first inhabitants of the island. There were three physical features that distinguished them from the rest, and that was their dark skin, frizzy hair, and short stature.
According to Survival International, the Great Andamanese was one of the four tribes of the Andaman Islands. There were originally ten distinct tribes, including the Jeru, Bea, Bo, Khora, and Puckiwar; each of them had their own language and numbered between 200 to 700 people. There were more than 5,000 Great Andamanese living on the islands, however, the British settlers who arrived in 1858 killed hundreds in conflict. And thousands more were wiped out by measles, influenza, and syphilis.
In 1960, the British established an “Andaman Home,” and kept the captured Great Andamanese. Hundreds of the tribe’s members died from abuse and disease in the home. And although 150 babies were born, none of them survived. A British Colonial Official of the time advised the following:
“We are in reality laying the foundation stone for civilising a people hitherto living in a perfectly barbarous state, replete with treachery, murder and every other savageness; besides which it is very desirable, even in a political point of view, keeping these people in our custody as hostages, for it undoubtedly secures the better behavior of these inhospitable people towards our Settlement.”
The Bo tribe were the last to come into contact with the British. Boa Sr. died in 2010. If you’re familiar with the Great Andamanese and have any additional information, please feel free to comment below.
Until Next Time…
Andamanese peoples. (n.d.). Retrieved November 8, 2018, from https://www.theapricity.com/forum/showthread.php?223590-Andamanese-peoples
The Great Andamanese. (n.d.). Retrieved November 8, 2018, from https://www.survivalinternational.org/tribes/great-andamanese