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have been massacred; a white woman and two children have been kept prisoners for about two years and a half, and after being most cruelly treated, the poor woman, used for the very vilest purposes, was, with her children, first poisoned and afterwards knocked on the head: Her Majesty's ships Wasp and Satellite were sent to endeavour to liberate any captives that might still remain on the Islands, and to punish the natives for their crimes.

“Several towns implicated have been burnt, all the war canoes destroyed, and other punishments inflicted ..." etc., etc.

Nor was this the only case of the kind, for although most of the vessels disposed of were native, the total included not a few European. There is another instance on record, in which a European woman was taken ashore and so brutally abused by the band of pirates that she died next day.

It is believed that the origination of these practices cannot be traced to the natives, but is due to the settlement of a body of Malays, who attracted a number of the inhabitants to themselves, and then formed a gang to plunder all vessels calling at the harbour, consequent upon a successful massacre of the crew.


OBJECTS FROM NANKAURI HARBOUR. 1. Coconut-shell water-vessels (hishóya). 4. Feeding-dish (daiyuák or pakól). 2. Wooden grating (hetpát) used in 5. Cross-bows (foin) for shooting cooking.

birds. 3. Wooden grating (entána-momúa) 6. Hentá - kói (cf. plate facing p. used in cooking.


[To face page 94.



The Old Settlement- The Cemetery-F. A. de Roepstorff-Mortality-Birds

The Harbour-Appearance of Kamorta-Dring Harbour - Olta-möitBuffalo — Spirit Traffic — Cookery – Ceremonial Dress – A Visit from Tanamara — Geology - Flora - Topography-Population – Hamilton's Description.

ON several occasions we crossed the harbour and visited the locality of the convict settlement formerly established on Kamorta, but given up in 1888, when the buildings were dismantled, and sepoys and prisoners withdrawn to Port Blair.

The jetty on which one lands is more than a hundred yards long, and although solidly constructed of coral blocks, is now in need of partial repair. To the right is a long sea-wall, and on the other hand a small boat harbour, both built of coral. Beyond the agent's house at the foot of the jetty, one walks along a grass-grown road shaded by an avenue of tall casuarinas, and passes several large wells of strong brickwork, and a large tank for rain water, with various other traces of past occupation, till on the hill-top one comes on the remains of the Government bungalow, of which only the foundations are now to be seen. A little farther on is the only building now standing—the old powder store—“where nothing's here that's worth defence, they leave a magazine!”

On another hill close by—from which are to be seen the whole stretch of the beautiful harbour, the distant forest-clad slopes of Kachal and the grassy interior of Kamorta—lies the little cemetery with its two occupants — Nicolas Shimmings, chief engineer of the R.I.M.S. Kwangtung, and Frederick Adolph de Roepstorff, a Dane by nationality, and for some time superintendent of the settlement. Tanamara told us of his death, which occurred in 1883. Complaint had been made that one of the sepoys of the small force stationed here was in the habit of stealing the natives' coconuts; him the superintendent reprimanded, and threatened to send to Port Blair for punishment. Next day the sepoy shot at and wounded de Roepstorff while the latter was in the act of mounting a horse. The injured man despatched a letter to the Andamans by a Burmese trader, but died before the arrival of a steamer, five days later. He was nursed and buried by the Nicobarese, who would not allow the Indian servants to approach him.* “He was,” said Tanamara, “a good man, a very good man.” He took much interest in all that surrounded him, and besides contributing accounts of the Andamans and Nicobars to the journals of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, he made large collections of lepidoptera for the Calcutta Museum, and compiled vocabularies of several of the local languages.t

* A somewhat different, and more accurate, account of the incident is given in a volume of sketches by John Strange Winter, entitled A Siege Baby. I have given here the unamended version of the natives as related to us by the headman.

Mr E. H. Man writes :-“The story given by Tanamara, regarding de Röepstorff's murder, is very incorrect. The murderer (a havildar of the Madras Infantry detachment then stationed at Nankauri) was under trial for having assaulted a convict. After recording a lot of contradictory evidence, de R. adjourned the case, whereupon the Madras Infantry jemadar pleaded on behalf of the havildar. The magistrate reproved him for his interference, whereupon the latter went and informed the havildar that he would probably receive a severe sentence which might result in his dismissal from the army. This so enraged the havildar that on de R. riding past the M. I. barracks a few hours later the same day, he shot him from his room. The havildar was the crack shot of the Madras army, having twice carried off Commander-in-Chief's prize. He shot himself on seeing that he had inflicted a mortal wound. De R. died within a minute or so. It was his wife who despatched news of the affair to Port Blair by a bagla, which had just arrived in Nankauri Harbour. In five days I arrived and held the inquiry. Mrs de Röepstorff during those five days had a natural horror of the M. I. sepoys, and she would not allow any of them to approach the house. Her Indian servants and others remained with her as before.”

+ Vocabulary of the Dialects spoken in the Nicobars and Andamans, Port

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