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Seychelles is an African country that consists of about
90 islands in the Indian Ocean. The islands are scattered over 1,035,995 square
kilometres. They lie about 1,600 kilometres east of the African mainland. Seychelles
has a total land area of 455 square kilometres and a population of about 75,000.
The largest island, Mahe, covers 153 square kilometres. Approximately 85
per cent of the population lives on Mahe.
Most of the rest of the people
live on the next largest islands, Praslin and La Digue. Many of the smaller islands
are uninhabited. Victoria, on Mahe, is the nation's capital, chief port, and only
town. It has a population of about 24,000.
Seychelles was ruled by the United
Kingdom from 1814 until 1976, when it became independent.
A Short Background
lengthy struggle between France and Great Britain for the islands ended in 1814,
when they were ceded to the latter. Independence came in 1976. Socialist rule
was brought to a close with a new constitution and free elections in 1993.
Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean about 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles)
east of Kenya. The nation comprises an archipelago of 115 beautiful, tropical
islands with two distinct collections of islands, some granite and some of coral.
The Mahe Group consists of 40 granite islands, all within a 56-kilometer (35 mi.)
radius of the main island of Mahe. These islands are rocky, and most have a narrow
coastal stripe and a central range of hills rising as high as 914 meters (3,000
ft.). Mahe is the largest island -- 9,142 sq. km (55-sq. mi.) -- and is the site
of Victoria, the capital. The coral islands are flat with elevated coral reefs
at different stages of formation. They have no fresh water and can sustain human
life only with difficulty.
The climate is equable and healthy, although
quite humid, as the islands are small and subject to marine influences. The temperature
varies little throughout the year. Temperatures on Mahe vary from 240C
to 29.90C (750F-850F), and rainfall ranges from
288 centimeters (90 in.) annually at Victoria to 355 centimeters (140 in.) on
the mountain slopes. Precipitation is somewhat less on the other islands. During
the coolest months, July and August, it drops to as low as 700F. The
southeast trade winds blow regularly from May to November, and this is the most
pleasant time of the year. The hot months are from December to April, with higher
humidity (80). March and April are the hottest months, but the temperature seldom
exceeds 880F. Most of the islands lie outside the cyclone belt, so
high winds are rare.
About 90% of the
Seychellois people live on Mahe Island. Most others live on Praslin and La Digue,
with the remaining smaller islands either sparsely populated or uninhabited.
Seychellois are descendants of early French settlers and the African slaves brought
to the Seychelles in the 19th century by the British, who freed them from slave
ships on the East African coast. Indians and Chinese (1.1% of the population)
account for the other permanent inhabitants. About 1,703 (2000) expatriates live
and work in Seychelles. Of those, about 35 are American.
is a mixture of French and African (Creole) influences. Creole is the native language
of 94% of the people, however, English and French are commonly used. English remains
the language of government and commerce.
About 88% of the adult population
is literate, and the literacy rate of school-aged children has risen to well over
98%. Increases are expected, as nearly all children of primary school age attend
school, and the government encourages adult education.
The Seychelles islands remained uninhabited for more than 150 years after they
became known to Western explorers. The island appeared on Portuguese charts as
early 1505, although Arabs may have visited them much earlier. In 1742, the French
Governor of Mauritius, Mahe de Labourdonais, sent an expedition to the islands.
A second expedition in 1756 reasserted formal possession by France and gave the
islands their present name in honor of the French finance minister under King
Louis XV. The new French colony barely survived its first decade and did not begin
to flourish until 1794, when Queau de Quincy became commandant.
islands were captured and freed several times during the French Revolution and
the Napoleonic wars, then passed officially to the British under the Treaty of
From the date of its founding by the French until 1903, the
Seychelles Colony was regarded as a dependency of Mauritius, which also passed
from the French to British rule in 1814. In 1888, a separate administrator and
executive and administrative councils were established for the Seychelles archipelago.
Nine years later, the administrator acquired full powers of a British colonial
governor, and on August 31, 1903, Seychelles became a separate British Crown colony.
March 1970, colonial and political representatives of Seychelles met in London
for a constitutional convention. Elections in November 1970 brought a resulting
constitution into effect. Further elections were held in April 1974, in which
both major political parties campaigned for independence. Following this election,
negotiations with the British resulted in an agreement by which Seychelles became
a sovereign republic on June 29, 1976. These negotiations also restored the islands
of Aldabra, Farquhar, and Des Roches, which had been transferred from Seychelles
in November 1965 to form part of the new British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)
to Seychelles upon independence.
Guide to Seychelles
of Seychelles - Read more about the geography and topography of Seychelles
of Seychelles - Presents a detailed historical background and culture
Life & People of Seychelles
- Study the characteristics, background, and details on the people of Seychelles
Cuisine of Seychelles - Find out delicious local cuisines of Seychelles
in Seychelles - Check out a list of the local holidays in Seychelles
in Seychelles - Learn about the festivals in Seychelles
of Seychelles - Provides an Embassy database for Seychelles
facts of Seychelles - Learn about the governmental administration facts
Newstands in Seychelles
- Browse through a collection of local online newspapers of Seychelles
in Seychelles - Discover the best places to visit, sight seeing, and tourist
attractions in Seychelles
Maps of Seychelles
- Discover a detailed map of Seychelles
Database of Seychelles - Browse a large collection of city, country, historical,
political, thematic, and shaded relief maps of Seychelles
of Seychelles - Uncover the flag images and description of the flag of
Seychelles. Includes historical flags, symbols, and related information
for cities of Seychelles - Browse weather forecast, hourly conditions,
temperature, sunrise, sunset, and other weather related reports for the cities
Shopping in Seychelles
- Find out the best places for shopping in Seychelles
in Seychelles - Browse a list of eat-outs in Seychelles
of Seychelles - Highlights the location, map references, area, land boundaries,
climate, natural resources, land use, natural hazards, environment, and geography
People of Seychelles - Learn
about the population, age structure, birth and death rate, sex ratio, nationality,
ethnic groups, religions, languages, and literacy in Seychelles
and Politics in Seychelles - Profiles the country name, government type,
administrative divisions, independence, national holiday, constitution, legal
system, suffrage, executive, legislative, and judicial branches, political parties
and leaders, and a flag description of Seychelles.
of Seychelles - Study the GDP, growth rate, per capita, inflation, labor,
budget, industries, exports, imports, currency, exchange rates, and economy of
Communications in Seychelles
- Browse statistics on telephones, mobile and cellular lines in use, radio broadcast
stations, televisions, internet country code, ISP's, internet users, and facts
on communications in Seychelles
in Seychelles - Offers statistical details on the railways, highways,
waterways, ports & harbors, airports, and other facts on transportation in Seychelles
Military of Seychelles - Provides statistics
on military branches, army, air force, navy, manpower, military service, expenditure,
and facts on military in Seychelles
Issues of Seychelles - Explore international disputes and transnational
issues of Seychelles
Info - Seychelles Political Geography - Encyclopedia resource provides
information on the country along with its cities.