About the island
A total of 115 islands 1,600 km east of Africa in the Indian Ocean make up the archipelago of the Seychelles. The Seychelles are a synonym for the ideal paradise on earth. Beautiful tropical scenery, unique fauna and flora which cannot be found anywhere else in the world, enchanting beaches with white sand and the crystal clear turquoise water of the Indian Ocean. Several of these beaches rank among the TOP 10 in the whole world (Intendance Beach on Mahé, Anse Lazio on Praslin and Anse Source d´Argent on La Digue).
The main island is the island of Mahé. Other inhabited islands include Praslin, La Digue, Fregate, Silhouette, North, St. Anne and Cousine which are also known as the “Inner Islands”. Massive granite rocks are typical for them, enhancing their fairy-tale scenery. The other islands are then classified as the “Outer Islands”. Desroches, Alphonse and Bird are for example flat coral atolls.
Fauna and flora
There are two national parks on the Seychelles and two marine parks as well as several other protected areas. The fauna is diverse here, including the giant turtle which can no longer be found anywhere else in the world, as well as geckos, fruit bats, skinks, tenrecs and rare species of birds. The underwater kingdom is inhabited by sea turtles, stingrays, living coral and copious amounts of fish. The most common trees to be found on the Seychelles are coconut palms and Australian pine trees. You will also find virgin forests here in the higher areas of the islands of Mahé and Silhouette as well as in the Vallée de Mai on Praslin. This valley is one of only two places on earth where the unique Coco de Mer coconut palms grow, the fruits of which are reminiscent of a female pelvis and which have become a symbol of the Seychelles.
The first settlement of the Seychelles dates back to around 1770 when the islands were inhabited by the French who brought a large number of Indian and African slaves here. After the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, the islands were ceded to Britain in 1814. Under British rule, the population increased to 7,000 over the course of 12 years. The British above all exported coconuts, cotton and sugar cane from the Seychelles. The capital city Victoria was established during this period. The Seychelles gained independence from Britain, becoming an independent republic in 1976. Use of French and English has been preserved here from the colonial era, nowadays constituting the official languages together with the local Creole.
History of the Seychelles in dates
- End of the 8th century: Islands visited by Arab merchants.
- 1502: The Portuguese are the first Europeans to land here under the leadership of Vasco da Gama. The islands are entered into nautical charts.
- 1609: First written record of a ship of the East India Company landing on the island of Mahé.
- 1742: The French establish a colony here, named after the Minister of Finance under the reign of Louis XV., Jean Moreau de Seychelles.
- 1810: During the Napoleonic Wars, the British take control of the Seychelles.
- 1814 – 1815: The Treaty of Paris awards the Seychelles to the British, the administrative centre is Mauritius.
- 1835: The British abolish slavery, many freed slaves settle on the islands.
- 1840: The capital of the Seychelles is named Victoria in honour of the British Queen.
- 1903: Seychelles detached as a separate British colony (separate from the Mauritius).
- 1967: First elections on the basis of universal suffrage. Voters vote against independence and for continuation of the link with Great Britain.
- 1976: The Seychelles gain independence as a republic in terms of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
- 1977: Coup, a one-party socialist state declared.
- 1991: Parliament votes through a return to a multi-party system.
- 1993: New constitution and free elections
|Highest point||Morne Seychellois, 905 m|
|Number of inhabitants||92 000|
Creole, English and French
|Ethnic composition||Creole 90%
Indian, Pakistani, African, Malagasy
|Religion||Roman Catholic 76%