There are believed to be over 100 uncontacted tribes living in some of the most isolated parts of the world. Most of such tribal places were known to us as a result of infrequent, and sometimes violent encounters with the tribe members. These tribes provide us a wealth of information to understand the way cultures have developed over the centuries. So let us look at the top 10 places with some of the most ancient tribes left untouched by civilization.
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1. The Indian Ocean- Sentinelese Tribe
The Sentinelese Tribe are residing on the isolated North Sentinel Island between India and Thailand for the last 60,000 years! The Sentinelese have avoided any contact with the outside world as they are extremely hostile and aggressive towards visitors. Whenever any boat or aircraft gets too close to the island, the tribe launches a barrage of arrows and daggers towards intruders, driving them off, and sometimes even killing them. Even the Indian Government has now stopped its attempt to contact the Sentinelese.
2. Australia- Pintupi Nine Tribe
The Pintupi Nine were a group of nine Australian Aboriginal people living a traditional nomadic life in Australia’s Gibson desert until 1984 when they were discovered and were made a media sensation. The tribe is believed to be the last Aborigines living in Australia. Amazingly, the Pintupi tribe were not even aware of the arrival of Europeans on the continent, let alone cars or even clothes. The tribe was eventually tracked down by speakers of their own language and were told that there existed a place where water comes from a tap, with a surplus of food. Most of the tribe members then moved to live in the modern town.
3. Amazon rainforest- The Mashco-Piro Tribe
The Amazon rainforest is home to many indigenous tribes of nomadic hunters who live in the highly remote areas. The Mashco-Piro tribe who survives in isolation in Peru has avoided any efforts of contact made by non-natives. But the tribe has now begun reaching out and seek contact with the outside world. But the consequences of merging with the outside world can be worrying. They could end up being exploited by our society. Moreover, they risk losing everything they ever knew.
4. New Guinea- The Korowai Tribe
The Korowai tribe was first contacted by archaeologists and missionaries in the 1970s. Interestingly, they were still using stone tools and living in wooden tree houses when they were found. The Korowai were even unaware of the existence of anyone else besides themselves. Also, they avoided the modern world for such a long time because they believed that the whole world will be destroyed by an earthquake if they ever changed their customs.
5. The Tribes of Brazil
Brazil is home to the majority of isolated tribes in the world. Today, more than 896,000 indigenous live in over 238 tribes in Brazil. Upon their discovery, most of the tribes were living on hunting, fishing, gathering, and agriculture. But many of the tribes which existed in the 16th century died out as a consequence of the European settlement, diseases, and wars.
6. California, USA- The Last of the Native Americans
Ishi was the last member of the Yahi, the last surviving group of the Yana people of California. He is was widely acclaimed as the “last wild Indian” and spent most his life completely outside European American culture. In 1911, he emerged from the wild near Oroville, California, leaving his ancestral home which he called as Wa genu pa. When asked about his name, he said that he has none because there were no people left to name him. He was then taken by a researcher where he told the staff the secrets of his tribal life and showed them many long forgotten techniques for living off the land.
7. Brazil- The One Man Tribe
He has been referred as “the most isolated man on the planet”. Somewhere in the middle of Amazon, there exists a strange tribe consisting of only one man. Just like the mysterious Bigfoot, whenever it seems that the scientists are on the verge of finding him, he disappears. The reason for all this attraction for a single man is because he is supposed to be the sole surviving member of his uncontacted tribe. Which means he is probably the only person who retains the customs and language of his people.
8. Ramapo Valley, the USA- The Jackson Whites
By the time the European settlement took place during the 1700s in North America’s east coast, every tribe between the Atlantic Ocean and Mississippi River had been known to the settlers. Every tribe except for one, the Jackson Whites. In the 1790s, the unheard Jackson Whites tribe walked out of wild just 56km from New York City. Somehow they managed to avoid any contact with the settlers, despite the battles of the Seven Years’ War and the Revolutionary War being fought in their backyard. They famously came to be known as the Jackson Whites because of their light skin color and were thought to be the descendants of “Jacks” (slang for the British).
9. The Unknown Peruvian Tribe
While exploring the jungles of Peru, a group of tourists suddenly found itself face to face with an unknown tribe. The tribe tried to communicate with the tourists but since they were speaking their own tribal language, no one was able to understand each other. The Peruvian authorities on inspection soon realized that the tourists stumbled upon one of the few surviving tribes. The scientists had been searching them for years and a group of tourists found them even without trying.
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10. South Sudan and Ethiopia- The Surma Tribe
The Surma tribe residing on South Sudan and Ethiopia avoided all Western contact for years. The tribe was still well known by the Westerners for their giant lip plugs but they did not want anything to do with any kind of government. The people of the tribe live in a group of hundreds, carrying their cattle, and went on with their lives while colonization, World Wars, and Independence struggles happened around them.