Port Blair

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Port Blair
পোর্ট ব্লেয়ার  (Bengali)
போர்ட் பிளேர்  (Tamil)
City
Centre of Port Blair in December 2004, a couple of days before the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
Centre of Port Blair in December 2004, a couple of days before the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
Port Blair is located in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Port Blair
Port Blair
Location in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Coordinates: 11°40′06″N 92°44′16″E / 11.66833°N 92.73778°E / 11.66833; 92.73778Coordinates: 11°40′06″N 92°44′16″E / 11.66833°N 92.73778°E / 11.66833; 92.73778
Country  India
Union Territory Andaman and Nicobar Islands
District South Andaman
Elevation 16 m (52 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 100,608
Time zone IST (UTC+5.30)

Port Blair (About this sound pronunciation ; Bengali: পোর্ট ব্লেয়ার; Hindi: पोर्ट ब्लेयर) is the largest town and a municipal council in Andaman district in the Andaman Islands and the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a union territory of India. It lies on the east coast of South Andaman Island and is the main entry point to the islands.

Port Blair is the headquarters for the Indian district of South Andaman, and the local administrative sub-division (tehsil), which is also called Port Blair. It is the headquarters of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the first integrated theatre command of the armed forces. It is home to several museums and a major naval base INS Jarawa of the Indian Navy, along with sea and air bases of the Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Air Force.[1] Port Blair is also famous for the historic Cellular Jail and other small islands which were once home to British colonists.

History[edit]

The Ross Island Prison Headquarters, 1872

In 1789 the government of Bengal established a penal colony on Chatham Island in the southeast bay of Great Andaman, named Port Blair to honor Lieutenant Archibald Blair of the British East India Company. After two years, the colony moved to the northeast part of Great Andaman and was named Port Cornwallis after Admiral William Cornwallis. However, there was much disease and death in the penal colony, and the government ceased operating it in May 1796.

In 1824 Port Cornwallis was the rendezvous of the fleet carrying the army to the First Anglo-Burmese War. In the 1830s and 1840s, shipwrecked crews who landed on the Andamans were often attacked and killed by the natives, alarming the British government. In 1855, the government proposed another settlement on the islands, including a convict establishment, but the Indian Rebellion of 1857 forced a delay in its construction.

However, since the rebellion provided the British with a lot of new prisoners, it made the new Andaman settlement and prison an urgent necessity. Construction began in November 1857 at the renovated Port Blair, avoiding the vicinity of a salt swamp which seemed to have been the source of many of the old colony's problems. The penal colony was originally on Viper Island, named after Lieutenant Blair's vessel, The Viper. The convicts, mostly political prisoners, suffered life imprisonment at hard labor under cruel and degrading conditions. Many were hanged, while others died of disease and starvation. Between 1864 and 1867 a penal establishment was also built with convict labor on the northern side of Ross Island.[2] These structures are now in ruins.[3]

As the Indian freedom movement continued to grow in the late 19th Century, an enormous Cellular Jail was constructed between 1896 and 1906 to house Indian convicts, mostly political prisoners, in solitary confinement. The Cellular Jail is also known as Kala Pani (translated as "Black Waters"), a name given to it due to the torture and general ill-treatment towards its Indian convicts.

The airport at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar's capital, has been named Veer Savarkar International Airport.[11] The commemorative blue plaque on India House fixed by the Historic Building and Monuments Commission for England reads "Vinayak Damodar Savarkar 1883-1966 Indian patriot and philosopher lived here."

From 1943-1944 during World War II, Port Blair was the headquarters of the Azad Hind government under Subhas Chandra Bose.

Although affected by the Tsunami and 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, Port Blair survived sufficiently to act as a base for relief efforts in the islands.

Geography and climate[edit]

Port Blair has a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen climate classification Am), with little variation in average temperature and large amounts of precipitation throughout the year. All months except January, February and March receive substantial rainfall.

Climate data for Port Blair
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.7
(90.9)
34.6
(94.3)
35.4
(95.7)
36.1
(97)
36.4
(97.5)
35.6
(96.1)
32.8
(91)
32.5
(90.5)
35.4
(95.7)
35.6
(96.1)
34.0
(93.2)
35.4
(95.7)
36.4
(97.5)
Average high °C (°F) 29.2
(84.6)
30.1
(86.2)
31.1
(88)
32.2
(90)
31.0
(87.8)
29.5
(85.1)
29.2
(84.6)
29.1
(84.4)
29.2
(84.6)
29.6
(85.3)
29.4
(84.9)
29.1
(84.4)
29.9
(85.8)
Daily mean °C (°F) 25.2
(77.4)
25.6
(78.1)
26.5
(79.7)
27.9
(82.2)
27.2
(81)
26.3
(79.3)
26.1
(79)
26.0
(78.8)
25.8
(78.4)
25.9
(78.6)
25.9
(78.6)
25.7
(78.3)
26.2
(79.2)
Average low °C (°F) 21.3
(70.3)
21.0
(69.8)
21.8
(71.2)
23.4
(74.1)
23.3
(73.9)
23.1
(73.6)
23.0
(73.4)
22.9
(73.2)
22.4
(72.3)
22.2
(72)
22.3
(72.1)
22.3
(72.1)
22.4
(72.3)
Record low °C (°F) 14.8
(58.6)
15.9
(60.6)
16.2
(61.2)
17.3
(63.1)
17.1
(62.8)
14.6
(58.3)
18.0
(64.4)
17.4
(63.3)
16.8
(62.2)
17.8
(64)
17.3
(63.1)
16.2
(61.2)
14.6
(58.3)
Precipitation mm (inches) 36
(1.42)
21
(0.83)
9
(0.35)
70
(2.76)
346
(13.62)
456
(17.95)
400
(15.75)
425
(16.73)
403
(15.87)
295
(11.61)
254
(10)
157
(6.18)
2,872
(113.07)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 2.8 1.5 1.4 4.1 18.5 23.0 22.2 23.4 20.2 17.8 15.3 6.1 156.6
 % humidity 74 72 71 72 80 84 84 85 85 83 80 75 79
Mean monthly sunshine hours 267.3 263.9 263.6 242.1 154.0 87.0 110.6 101.6 124.6 167.0 174.9 239.2 2,195.8
Source #1: NOAA (1971–1990) [4]
Source #2: India Meteorological Department (records)[5]

Demographics[edit]

As of 2011 India census,[6] Port Blair had a population of 100,608. Males constitute 52.92% (53,247) of the population and females 47.07% (47,361). Port Blair has an average literacy rate of 89.76%, higher than the national average that is 72%. In Port Blair, male literacy is 92.79%, and female literacy is 86.34%. 9.3% of the population is under the age of 6 years.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Andaman and Nicobar command". NIC. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  2. ^ http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/features/andaman/stories/2004081500270300.htm T. Ramakrishnan, "Notorious Once, It Stands Shrouded in Silence"
  3. ^ http://www.galenfrysinger.com/ross_island.htm Ross Island
  4. ^ "Port Blair Climate Normals 1971-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Ever recorded Maximum and minimum temperatures upto 2010" (PDF). India Meteorological Department. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.