The world is becoming a smaller and smaller place. Thanks to satellites, WiFi and increasingly smaller and more powerful technology, scientists are constantly laying bare more and more mysteries of our world. As pervasive as modern living might seem, however, there are still some places in the world that exist devoid of civilization, its people existing almost as if stuck in time several thousand years ago.
While many of these tribal and indigenous populations do come into contact with outsiders from the modern world, not all of them choose to integrate. In fact, some of them oppose outside influence with violent and sometimes deadly determination.
Meet the Sentinelese people of North Sentinel Island, part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean.
They descend from among the first people to leave Africa 60,000 years ago. Although they share ancestry with other tribes of the Andaman Islands, their language is so radically different that scholars theorize they must have lived in complete isolation on that island for several thousands of years.
The Sentinelese drive outsiders back with violent force. Anyone attempting to reach out to them is killed or at least given a hostile send-off back to wherever they came from. The island is considered so dangerous for outsiders that the Indian government (which administers to these islands) has set up a three-mile exclusion zone to prevent unwanted civilian casualties. In 2006, two fishermen who were fishing illegally inside the exclusion zone were killed by the Sentinelese and buried in shallow graves. When a helicopter attempted to retrieve the bodies, it was shot at with arrows until it was forced to retreat.
This photo was taken by an Indian Coast Guard plane sent to see if the islanders were alright after the 2004 tsunami. The Sentinelese found higher ground prior to the tsunami and survived, and sent out a warrior to fire a warning shot as if to say "We don't need your help!"
A satellite photo of North Sentinel Island.
The island is roughly the size of Manhattan and covered with a thick canopy of trees.
Since most of the islanders tend to hide whenever outsiders are nearby, it's hard to say how many Sentinelese there are. The estimates range anywhere from 40-500.
North Sentinel Island is located in the Bay of Bengal and is part of the Andaman Islands.
Although the Indian government led a number of contact expeditions here and successfully contacted many of the other tribes, the resulting decline in those populations due to exposure to previously unknown diseases led them to the decision to leave the Sentinelese alone.
The Sentinelese are characterized as a "stone-age" tribe, but the islanders are able to scavenge metals from shipwrecks and other debris that floats ashore and then fashion them into simple weapons and tools like arrowheads.