Lakshadweep is a union territory of India, dating from 1956. It is comprised of 10 inhabited and 17 uninhabited islands in the Arabian Sea, 300 Km off the Malabar Coast of Kerala State in India. Several groups of islands were once known by other names. The Amindivi Islands lie to the north and the Laccadive Islands (Cannanore) Islands to the south of the group; Minicoy Island lies to the south of the Laccadive Islands from which it is separated by the Nine Degree Channel. To the south of Minicoy is the Eight Degree Channel, which separates it from the independent Maldive Islands. Androth Island is the largest of Lakshadweep at 4.8 square miles and nearest to India. The administrative centre is on Kavaratti Island. Once called the Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands, they were renamed Lakshadweep in November 1973.
The British Imperial Lighthouse Service built the lighthouse on Minicoy in 1885 at the time when Minicoy was administered from British India. It was manned with British lighthouse keepers, one being Henry Thomas Knott - fifth generation member of the famous Knott lighthouse keeping family. Its building was part of the wider programme of construction throughout the Empire, being associated with nearby neighbours at Great and Little Basses in Sri Lanka (Ceylon).