Hundreds of islands make up Andaman and Nicobar but only a few of them are inhabited. Roughly 24 of the 300 Andaman Islands support human settlements, while only 12 of the Nicobar Islands are populated.
Most of the population of the Andamans is that of immigrants from South Asia and their descendants. Most speak Hindi or Bengali, but Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam also are common.

However, the true locals of the isles are the indigenous inhabitants of the Andaman Islands, the 4 remaining tribes. the Andamanese, historically comprised of small isolated groups—all speaking dialects of the Andamanese language. The bow and the dog were used for hunting, but they knew no method of making fire. Turtles, dugongs, and fish were caught with nets or harpoons. The remoteness of the Andamanese and their general hostility toward foreigners prevented major cultural change until the mid-20th century. Few indigenous tribes survive today, most groups having been decimated by disease following their encounter with Europeans, Indians, and other outsiders and the ones that remain, follow the ways of their ancestors.
The indigenous inhabitants of the Nicobar Islands, the Nicobarese continue to constitute the majority of the population of the Nicobar. They are of Malay origin, i.e. having migrated from South East Asia thousands of years ago.

Apart from the indigenous population, there are great numbers of Tamilians, Bengalis, and other people from all over the Indian mainland that live in both Andaman and Nicobar islands. While some are families of freedom fighters and convicts brought by the British to the islands, many came during the 1960s and ’70s in conjunction with the Indian government’s program to develop the region’s agriculture.

More than two-thirds of the people of the Andaman Islands are Hindu; Christians make up about one-fifth of the population and Muslims less than one-tenth. Many Nicobarese are Christian, although some communities practice local religions or have adopted Hinduism, which is prevalent throughout the region. 

A Tamilian woman drawing a traditional Rangoli outside her house

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