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Image, Object, Text : Representing the Andaman Islands

By Clare Anderson


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in History Workshop Journal following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version History Workshop Journal, 2009, 67 (1), pp. 147-151 is available online at: http://hwj.oxfordjournals.org/.The Andaman Islands are a small and relatively isolated island archipelago in the Bay of Bengal, closer to Burma than to India. Following from Marco Polo’s travel writing in the thirteenth century there was a widespread belief that the Andamanese were at best savages and at worse cannibals. Uncolonized during the eighteenth century, by the turn of the nineteenth century the Islands were at the centre of increasingly important trading routes between India and China. In 1793, the East India Company moved to occupy the Andamans as a penal colony, directing that all Bengal life convicts be transported there to work on land clearance, cultivation, and other projects. It shipped about three hundred convicts to the Islands, but the settlement was ravaged by disease and within three years the British had abandoned it. The Company transferred the surviving convicts to its penal settlement in Penang. We know little more of this ill-fated attempt at colonization, and least of all about the nature and extent of contact with the Islands’ indigenous peoples. [Taken from introduction]Peer-reviewedPost-prin

Publisher: Oxford University Press on behalf of History Workshop Journal
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1093/hwj
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/9817

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