Introducing the Sentinelese people. They’ve been kicking around this beautiful island for a whopping 60,000 years. They inhabit a tiny island in The Indian Ocean which is estimated to be approximately the size of Manhattan.
From the sky it appears to be an idyllic island with amazing beaches and a dense forest, but tourists or fishermen don’t dare to set foot on this island, due to its inhabitants’ fearsome reputation.
When outsiders approach their island, they swarm the shoreline and rain down arrows.
The Sentinelese are highly mysterious. Commonly described as the “most remote” tribe on earth, their population, however, is minuscule: an estimated 50 to 100 people, derided as “savages” and “primitives” for failing to join the outside world. But their habit of killing intruders is nonetheless wise.
Modern history is filled with sad sagas of indigenous peoples eradicated or decimated by diseases borne by European visitors. As in 17th-century America, epidemics can rapidly depopulate the land and leave it vulnerable to takeover.
That has not happened to the Sentinelese. Yet.
The tribe killed two men in 2006 who were fishing too close to their island, and have been known to fire arrows and fling rocks at low-flying planes or helicopters on reconnaissance missions.
Located in the Bay of Bengal, North Sentinel Island belongs to India and remains an enigma, despite being populated for an estimated 60,000 years.
Untouched by modern civilisation, very little is known about the Sentinelese people, their language, their rituals and the island they call home.
It is too dangerous to approach them due to their hostility to outsiders, meaning they are rarely photographed up close and almost never seen on video. Most of the photos and video clips that do exist are of poor quality.
Contacting the Sentinelese is a criminal act. Until the 1990s, the Indian government supported attempts to contact the tribe. They were often driven away. This video reveals a rare non-hostile interaction with an Indian research crew, which did not step off their boat:
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