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Seychelles Introduction

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

A 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.

Most 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.

Seychelles culture 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.

The Seychelles 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 Paris 1814.

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.

In 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.


1UpTravel's Guide to Seychelles

Topography of Seychelles - Read more about the geography and topography of Seychelles

History of Seychelles - Presents a detailed historical background and culture of Seychelles

Life & People of Seychelles - Study the characteristics, background, and details on the people of Seychelles

Local Cuisine of Seychelles - Find out delicious local cuisines of Seychelles

Holidays in Seychelles - Check out a list of the local holidays in Seychelles

Festivals in Seychelles - Learn about the festivals in Seychelles

Embassies of Seychelles - Provides an Embassy database for Seychelles

Administration facts of Seychelles - Learn about the governmental administration facts of Seychelles

Newstands in Seychelles - Browse through a collection of local online newspapers of Seychelles

Attractions in Seychelles - Discover the best places to visit, sight seeing, and tourist attractions in Seychelles

Maps of Seychelles - Discover a detailed map of Seychelles

Map Database of Seychelles - Browse a large collection of city, country, historical, political, thematic, and shaded relief maps of Seychelles

Flags of Seychelles - Uncover the flag images and description of the flag of Seychelles. Includes historical flags, symbols, and related information

Weather for cities of Seychelles - Browse weather forecast, hourly conditions, temperature, sunrise, sunset, and other weather related reports for the cities of Seychelles

Shopping in Seychelles - Find out the best places for shopping in Seychelles

Restaurants in Seychelles - Browse a list of eat-outs in Seychelles

Geography of Seychelles - Highlights the location, map references, area, land boundaries, climate, natural resources, land use, natural hazards, environment, and geography of Seychelles

People of Seychelles - Learn about the population, age structure, birth and death rate, sex ratio, nationality, ethnic groups, religions, languages, and literacy in Seychelles

Government 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.

Economy of Seychelles - Study the GDP, growth rate, per capita, inflation, labor, budget, industries, exports, imports, currency, exchange rates, and economy of Seychelles

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

Transportation 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

Transnational Issues of Seychelles - Explore international disputes and transnational issues of Seychelles

1Up Info - Seychelles Political Geography - Encyclopedia resource provides information on the country along with its cities.


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