The island derives its name from the vessel 'Viper' in which Lt. Archibald Blair came to the islands in 1768 with the purpose of establishing a Penal Settlement. The vessel, it is believed, met with an accident and its wreckage was abandoned near the island. The Britishers used to harbour convicts here. The first jail was constructed here which was abandoned after the construction of Cellular Jail. The jail at Viper, where prisoners deported from the mainland were confined, was built by the British under the supervision of Major Fort. Work on the prison was started in 1867. Owing to the working conditions, the jail earned the notorious name Viper Chain Gang Jail. It has a gallows atop a hillock, where condemned prisoners were hanged. Sher Ali, who killed Lord Mayo, the Viceroy of India in 1872, was also hanged here. Before the Cellular Jail was constructed prisoners under the penal settlement were kept on this islands. The scenic beauty of the islands is marvelous with plenty of coconut plantations . The gallows on top of a hill, where the women prisoners were hanged is now a great tourist attraction . Freedom fighters like Nanigopal and Nandlal Pulindas, who had resorted to hunger strike at the Cellular Jail, were imprisoned at Viper Island. Viper Island is a serene beautiful tourist destination and can be approached by harbor cruise originating from Phoenix Bay Jetty in Port Blair. The Harbour cruise, available daily from Phoenix Bay Jetty, provides a panoramic view of different points around the harbour and includes a trip to Viper Island.