Summarize Written Text
For centuries, the isolated, Indigenous people of North Sentinel Island (known as the Sentinelese) have rejected all attempts by the outside world to infiltrate their tiny tropical home in the Bay of Bengal. In fact, anthropologists have no idea how many Sentinelese live on the island: estimates vary between 50 and 500. North Sentinel Island is part of a much larger island chain called the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, currently governed by India. There are 184 islands in this tropical archipelago located in the Bay of Bengal about 300 miles off the coast of Myanmar and 700 miles from India. Only about 30 of the islands in the chain are inhabited and are home to Indigenous people like the Onge and the Jarawa, who speak different languages than the Sentinelese. In the 18th century, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were first explored by Dutch, Austrian and British merchant ships looking for the best trade routes to the spice-rich Asian subcontinent. In 1771, a ship with the British East India Company was the first to spot signs of life on North Sentinel Island, cooking fires flickering in the night. The first permanent European settlers arrived in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the 1850s when the British built a penal colony on Grand Andaman Island, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from North Sentinel Island, to house colonial prisoners from British-ruled India. In 1896, a prisoner tried to escape on a raft and washed up on the beach of North Sentinel Island. A search party found him a few days later, dead from multiple arrows.