ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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On the Beach in the Andaman Islands: Post-mortem of a Failed Colony

The short history of the first British-Indian colony in the Andaman Islands, established in 1789 and abandoned in 1796, shows that European settler colonialism at the time had not resolved the contradictions generated by native settlers. The place of aborigines in the political space of the settlement was further unresolved. The newcomers in the Andamans spent six years on a literal and conceptual beach: the limited space between the ship and the jungle. Not knowing how to integrate the Andamanese into the ideology of their intrusion, and unable to sustain the vision of a permanent civilisation in the islands, they fell into a state of panic and dispersed. This paper argues that the failed settlement represented a conceptual and logistical limit of the late 18th century imaginary of the offshore colony.

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