Narcondam, Barren Island and the Invisible Bank, a great danger of these seas, are in a line almost parallel to the Andamans inclining towards them from north to south.
Between the Andamans and Cape Negrais intervene two small groups, Preparis and Cocos; between the Andamans and Sumatra lie the Nicobar Islands, the whole group stretching in a curve, to which the meridian forms a tangent between Cape Negrais and Sumatra; and though this curved line measures 700 m., the widest sea space is about 91 m.
Of Rutland Island across Duncan Passage, in which lie the Cinque and other islands, forming Manners Strait, the main commercial highway between the Andamans and the Madras coast.
Of the Andamans are the dangerous Western Banks and Dalrymple Bank, rising to within a few fathoms of the surface of the sea and forming, with the two Sentinel Islands ï¿½, the tops of a line of submarine hills parallel to the Andamans.
The coasts of the Andamans are deeply indented, giving existence to a number of safe harbours and tidal creeks, which are often surrounded by mangrove swamps.
The whole of the Andamans and the outlying islands were completely surveyed topographically by the Indian Survey Department under Colonel Hobday in 1883-1886, and the surrounding seas were charted by Commander Carpenter in 1888-1889.
Speaking generally, the climate of the Andamans themselves may be described as normal for tropical islands of similar latitude.
==Fauna== Animal life is generally deficient throughout the Andamans, especially as regards mammalia, of which there are only nineteen separate species in all, twelve of these being peculiar to the islands.
The fossil shells, pottery and rude stone implements, found alike at the base and at the surface of these middens, prove that the habits of the islanders have not varied since a remote past, and lead to the belief that the Andamans were settled by their present inhabitants some time during the Pleistocene period, and certainly no later than the Neolithic age.
The point of enduring interest as regards the Andamans is the penal system, the object of which is to turn the life-sentence and few long-sentence convicts, who alone are sent to the settlement, into honest, self-respecting men and women, by leading them along a continuous course of practice in self-help and self-restraint, and by offering them every inducement to take advantage of that practice.
It is uncertain whether any of the names of the islands given by Ptolemy ought to be attached to the Andamans; yet it is probable that his name itself is traceable in the Alexandrian geographer.
In 1788-1789 the government of Bengal sought to establish in the Andamans a penal colony, associated with a harbour of refuge.
Kloss, In the Andamans and Nicobars (1903); E.
Kurz, Vegetation of the Andamans (1867); G.
Butler, "Birds of the Andamans and Nicobars" (Proc. Bombay Nat.
The influence of the Australian realm is indicated by a Megapode in Celebes, another in Borneo and Labuan, and a third in the Nicobar islands (which, however, like the Andamans, belong to the Indian province), but there are no cockatoos, these keeping strictly to the other side of Wallace's line, whence we started on this survey of the world's avifauna.
Two groups of islands in the Bay of Bengal, the Andamans and the Nicobars; one group in the Arabian Sea, the Laccadives; and the outlying station of Aden at the mouth of the Red Sea, with Perim, and protectorates over the island of Sokotra, along the southern coast of Arabia and in the Persian Gulf, are all politically included within the Indian empire; while on the coast of the peninsula itself, Portuguese and French settlements break at intervals the continuous line of British territory.
Last come the chief commissionerships, of which the Central Provinces (with Berar) rank scarcely below the lieutenant-governorships, while the rest - the North-West Frontier Province, British Baluchistan, Ajmer-Merwara, Coorg and the Andamans - are minor charges, generally associated with political supervision over native states or frontier tribes.
Geology.-The Nicobars form part of a great submarine chain, of which the Andamans are a continuation.
Meteorology.-It has always been held to be important to maintain a meteorological station on the Nicobars, for the purpose of supplementing the information obtained from the Andamans regarding cyclones in the Bay of Bengal.
Flora and Faunx.-Although the vegetation of the Nicobars has received much desultory attention from scientific observers, it has not been subjected to a systematic examination by the Indian Forest Department like that of the Andamans, and indeed the forests are quite inferior in economic value to those of the more northerly group; besides fruit trees - such as the coco-nut (Cocos nucifera), the betel-nut (Areca catechu), and the mellori (Pandanus leeram) - a thatching palm (Nipa fruticans) and various timber trees have some commercial value, but only one timber tree (Myristica irya)would be considered first-class in the Andamans.
Kloss, In the Andamans and Nicobars (London, 1902) A.
In 1907 the daily average gaol population in India was 87,306, while the convicts in the Andamans numbered 14,235.