The Surprising Reason You're Not Allowed To Visit This Island

An ancient hunter-gatherer tribe untouched by modernity keeps strangers away.

It's hard to believe there's any place left on Earth with people who are untouched by modernity. But there is one tribe that still lives without agriculture, fire, or any real knowledge of the outside world. The Sentinelese, as they're known, live on one of the Andaman Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Myanmar (Burma). Their home, North Sentinel Island, is governed by India, but almost no one from outside the tribe has ever set foot there. This video from RealLifeLore explains why. 

The outside world first made contact with the Sentinelese in 1867, when an Indian merchant ship crashed into the island. Their presence was not well received by the locals, who attacked them until they were rescued by another ship. Over the next 20 years the British occasionally made contact with the island, but after 1887, there was no contact with the Sentinelese until 1970, when some Indian anthropologists were sent to the island and spotted the locals on the beach. 

Since then, practically every encounter with the Sentinelese has ended in disaster. The tribe has attacked everyone who has tried to visit. That includes a National Geographic crew in 1974 who suffered arrow injuries. Most recently, in 2006, two Indian fisherman fell asleep as their boat floated to the island and were killed by the natives. 

One visit from Indian anthropologists in 1991 did go peacefully. But now, to protect the tribe from the diseases of the outside world and to protect visitors from arrows and javelins, no one is allowed to visit. This will most likely remain the case for a long time. 


As is mentioned in the video, it's fascinating to imagine the perspective of these people, who know nothing of the outside world other than these infrequent visits that usually end violently. To them, the rest of the world is full of alien armies trying to invade their tiny, fragile home. Perhaps this is how we'll respond when we encounter other civilizations who want to learn about our ways. 


Source: RealLifeLore. From: Popular Mechanics

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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