The Great Andamanese were of Negrito origin, and were probably the first to inhabit Andaman. They were foragers whose traditional diet included fish, dugongs, turtles, crabs, roots etc. Today, this tribe is on the verge of extinction. Almost 99% of the total population of this tribe was wiped out by the British and the Japanese put together.
Many died attempting to save their territory from the British but a more sizable number of these people were annihilated by the Japanese who took control of these islands between 1942 and 1945. In the later years of the 20th century , the presence of non tribal ,dominant and advanced communities in this region also had an adverse effect on this tribe.
They developed unhealthy drinking habits and became vulnerable to communicable diseases .Their linguistic diversity also suffered as they mingled and married the Burmese and Indonesian settlers.
Today, they are classified as a ‘Protected Tribal Group’ and have been rehabilitated on Strait Island. They have been encouraged to take up farming for sustenance and the government takes care of all their needs.