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Seychelles

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Republic of Seychelles
[1]
Motto: "Finis Coronat Opus" (Latin)
"The End Crowns the Work"
Anthem: Koste Seselwa
Join together all Seychellois
Location of Seychelles (dark blue) – in Africa (light blue & dark grey) – in the African Union (light blue)
Location of Seychelles (dark blue)

– in Africa (light blue & dark grey)
– in the African Union (light blue)

Capital
and largest city
Victoria
4°37′S 55°27′E / 4.617°S 55.450°E / -4.617; 55.450
Official languages
Ethnic groups
[citation needed]
Religion
Demonym(s)
  • Seychellois
  • Seychelloise
  • Seselwa (Creole)
GovernmentUnitary presidential republic
• President
Wavel Ramkalawan
Ahmed Afif
LegislatureLasanble Nasyonal
Independence 
• Independence declared
29 June 1976
Area
• Total
459 km2 (177 sq mi) (181st)
• Water (%)
negligible
Population
• 2022 estimate
100,447 (182nd)
• Density
214.5/km2 (555.6/sq mi) (67th)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $3.725 billion[3] (190th)
• Per capita
Increase$37,661[3] (60th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $2.005 billion[3] (187th)
• Per capita
Increase $20,266[3] (48th)
Gini (2018)32.1[4]
medium
HDI (2021)Decrease 0.785[5]
high · 72nd
CurrencySeychellois rupee (SCR)
Time zoneUTC+4 (SCT)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+248
ISO 3166 codeSC
Internet TLD.sc

Coordinates: 4°35′S 55°40′E / 4.583°S 55.667°E / -4.583; 55.667

Seychelles (/sˈʃɛlz/ (listen), /-ˈʃɛl, ˈsʃɛl(z)/;[6][7] French: [sɛʃɛl][8][9][10] or [seʃɛl][11]), officially the Republic of Seychelles (French: République des Seychelles; Creole: La Repiblik Sesel), is an archipelagic state consisting of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. Its capital and largest city, Victoria, is 1,500 kilometres (800 nautical miles) east of mainland Africa. Nearby island countries and territories include the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, and the French overseas departments of Mayotte and Réunion to the south; and Maldives and the Chagos Archipelago (administered by the United Kingdom as the British Indian Ocean Territory) to the east. It is the least populated sovereign African country, with an estimated 2020 population of 98,462.[12]

Seychelles was uninhabited prior to being encountered by Europeans in the 16th century. It faced competing French and British interests until coming under full British control in the late 18th century. Since proclaiming independence from the United Kingdom in 1976, it has developed from a largely agricultural society to a market-based diversified economy, characterized by rapidly rising service, public sector, and tourism activities. From 1976 to 2015, nominal GDP grew nearly 700%, and purchasing power parity nearly 1600%. Since the late 2010s, the government has taken steps to encourage foreign investment.

As of the early 21st century, Seychelles has the highest nominal per capita GDP of any African nation. It has the second-highest Human Development Index of any African country after Mauritius. It is the only African country classified as a high-income economy by the World Bank.[13]

Seychellois culture and society is an eclectic mix of French, British, and African influences, with more recent infusions of Chinese and Indian elements. The country is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, and the Commonwealth of Nations.

Discover more about Seychelles related topics

Geographic coordinate system

Geographic coordinate system

The geographic coordinate system (GCS) is a spherical or ellipsoidal coordinate system for measuring and communicating positions directly on the Earth as latitude and longitude. It is the simplest, oldest and most widely used of the various spatial reference systems that are in use, and forms the basis for most others. Although latitude and longitude form a coordinate tuple like a cartesian coordinate system, the geographic coordinate system is not cartesian because the measurements are angles and are not on a planar surface.

Archipelagic state

Archipelagic state

An archipelagic state is an island country that consists of an archipelago. The designation is legally defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). In various conferences, The Bahamas, Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines are the five original sovereign states that obtained approval in the UNCLOS signed in Montego Bay, Jamaica on 10 December 1982 and qualified as the archipelagic states.

Indian Ocean

Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five oceanic divisions, covering 70,560,000 km2 (27,240,000 sq mi) or ~19.8% of the water on Earth's surface. It is bounded by Asia to the north, Africa to the west and Australia to the east. To the south it is bounded by the Southern Ocean or Antarctica, depending on the definition in use. Along its core, the Indian Ocean has some large marginal or regional seas such as the Arabian Sea, Laccadive Sea, Bay of Bengal, and Andaman Sea.

Africa

Africa

Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both aspects. At about 30.3 million km2 including adjacent islands, it covers 20% of Earth's land area and 6% of its total surface area. With 1.4 billion people as of 2021, it accounts for about 18% of the world's human population. Africa's population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Despite a wide range of natural resources, Africa is the least wealthy continent per capita and second-least wealthy by total wealth, behind Oceania. Scholars have attributed this to different factors including geography, climate, tribalism, colonialism, the Cold War, neocolonialism, lack of democracy, and corruption. Despite this low concentration of wealth, recent economic expansion and the large and young population make Africa an important economic market in the broader global context.

Comoros

Comoros

The Comoros, officially the Union of the Comoros, is an independent country made up of three islands in Southeastern Africa, located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean. Its capital and largest city is Moroni. The religion of the majority of the population, and the official state religion, is Sunni Islam. As a member of the Arab League, it is the only country in the Arab world which is entirely in the Southern Hemisphere. Comoros proclaimed their independence from France on July 6, 1975. It is also a member state of the African Union, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and the Indian Ocean Commission. The country has three official languages: Shikomori, French and Arabic.

French Fifth Republic

French Fifth Republic

The Fifth Republic is France's current republican system of government. It was established on 4 October 1958 by Charles de Gaulle under the Constitution of the Fifth Republic. The Fifth Republic emerged from the collapse of the Fourth Republic, replacing the former parliamentary republic with a semi-presidential system that split powers between a president as head of state and a prime minister as head of government. De Gaulle, who was the first French president elected under the Fifth Republic in December 1958, believed in a strong head of state, which he described as embodying l'esprit de la nation.

Chagos Archipelago

Chagos Archipelago

The Chagos Archipelago or Chagos Islands is a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 islands in the Indian Ocean about 500 kilometres (310 mi) south of the Maldives archipelago. This chain of islands is the southernmost archipelago of the Chagos–Laccadive Ridge, a long submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean. In its north are the Salomon Islands, Nelson's Island and Peros Banhos; towards its south-west are the Three Brothers, Eagle, Egmont and Danger Island(s); southeast of these is Diego Garcia, by far the largest island. All are low-lying atolls, save for a few extremely small instances, set around lagoons.

British Indian Ocean Territory

British Indian Ocean Territory

The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) is an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom situated in the Indian Ocean, halfway between Tanzania and Indonesia. The territory comprises the seven atolls of the Chagos Archipelago with over 1,000 individual islands – many very small – amounting to a total land area of 60 square kilometres. The largest and most southerly island is Diego Garcia, 27 square kilometres, the site of a Joint Military Facility of the United Kingdom and the United States.

Agriculture

Agriculture

Agriculture encompasses crop and livestock production, aquaculture, fisheries and forestry for food and non-food products. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. While humans started gathering grains at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers only began planting them around 11,500 years ago. Sheep, goats, pigs and cattle were domesticated around 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. In the twentieth century, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monocultures came to dominate agricultural output.

Human Development Index

Human Development Index

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which is used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. A country scores a higher level of HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, and the gross national income GNI (PPP) per capita is higher. It was developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and was further used to measure a country's development by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)'s Human Development Report Office.

African Union

African Union

The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of 55 member states located on the continent of Africa. The AU was announced in the Sirte Declaration in Sirte, Libya, on 9 September 1999, calling for the establishment of the African Union. The bloc was founded on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and launched on 9 July 2002 in Durban, South Africa. The intention of the AU was to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa by 32 signatory governments; the OAU was disbanded on 9 July 2002. The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states.

Commonwealth of Nations

Commonwealth of Nations

The Commonwealth of Nations, simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, and the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations among member states. Numerous organisations are associated with and operate within the Commonwealth.

History

The first Europeans to discover the Seychelles were the 4th Portuguese India Armada, led by Vasco da Gama.
The first Europeans to discover the Seychelles were the 4th Portuguese India Armada, led by Vasco da Gama.

Seychelles was uninhabited until the 18th century when Europeans arrived with enslaved Africans. It remained a British colony from 1814 until its independence in 1976. Seychelles have never been inhabited by indigenous people, but its islanders maintain their own Creole heritage.

Early history

Seychelles was uninhabited throughout most of recorded history. Tombs on the island, visible until 1910, are the basis for the scholarly belief that Austronesian seafarers and later Maldivian and Arab traders were the first to visit the archipelago. Vasco da Gama and his 4th Portuguese India Armada discovered the Seychelles on 15 March 1503; the first sighting was made by Thomé Lopes aboard Rui Mendes de Brito. Da Gama's ships passed close to an elevated island, probably Silhouette Island, and the following day Desroches Island. They mapped a group of seven islands and named them The Seven Sisters.[14] The earliest recorded landing was in January 1609, by the crew of the Ascension under Captain Alexander Sharpeigh during the fourth voyage of the British East India Company.

A transit point for trade between Africa and Asia, it was said that the islands were occasionally used by pirates until the French began to take control in 1756 when a Stone of Possession was laid on Mahé by Captain Nicholas Morphey. The islands were named after Jean Moreau de Séchelles, Louis XV's Minister of Finance.[15]

The British frigate Orpheus commanded by Captain Henry Newcome arrived at Mahé on 16 May 1794, during the War of the First Coalition. Terms of capitulation were drawn up and on the next day, Seychelles was surrendered to Britain. Jean Baptiste Quéau de Quincy, the French administrator of Seychelles during the years of war with the United Kingdom, declined to resist when armed enemy warships arrived. Instead, he successfully negotiated the status of capitulation to Britain which gave the settlers a privileged position of neutrality.

Seychellois stamps with portrait of Queen Elizabeth II
Seychellois stamps with portrait of Queen Elizabeth II
Seychellois stamps with portrait of Queen Elizabeth II

Britain eventually assumed full control upon the surrender of Mauritius in 1810, formalised in 1814 at the Treaty of Paris. Seychelles became a crown colony separate from Mauritius in 1903. Elections were held in 1966 and 1970.

Victoria, Seychelles 1900s
Victoria, Seychelles 1900s

Independence

In 1976, Seychelles was granted independence from the United Kingdom and became a republic. It has been a member of the Commonwealth ever since.[16] In the 1970s Seychelles was "the place to be seen, a playground for film stars and the international jet set".[17] In 1977, a coup d'état by France Albert René ousted the first president of the republic, James Mancham.[18] René discouraged over-dependence on tourism and declared that he wanted "to keep the Seychelles for the Seychellois".[17]

The 1979 constitution declared a socialist one-party state, which lasted until 1991.

In the 1980s there were a series of coup attempts against President René, some of which were supported by South Africa. In 1981, Mike Hoare led a team of 43 South African mercenaries masquerading as holidaying rugby players in the 1981 Seychelles coup d'état attempt.[17] There was a gun battle at the airport, and most of the mercenaries later escaped in a hijacked Air India plane.[17] The leader of this hijacking was German mercenary D. Clodo, a former member of the Rhodesian SAS.[19] Clodo later stood trial in South Africa (where he was acquitted) as well as in his home country Germany for air piracy.[20]

In 1986, an attempted coup led by the Seychelles Minister of Defence, Ogilvy Berlouis, caused President René to request assistance from India. In Operation Flowers are Blooming, the Indian naval vessel Vindhyagiri arrived in Port Victoria to help avert the coup.[21]

The first draft of a new constitution failed to receive the requisite 60% of voters in 1992, but an amended version was approved in 1993.

In January 2013, Seychelles declared a state of emergency when the tropical cyclone Felleng caused torrential rain, and flooding and landslides destroyed hundreds of houses.[22][23]

Following the coup in 1977, the president always represented the same political party until the October 2020 Seychellois general election, which was historic in that the opposition party won. Wavel Ramkalawan was the first president who did not represent United Seychelles (the current name of the former Seychelles People's Progressive Front).[24][25]

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History of Seychelles

History of Seychelles

The history of Seychelles dates back to the fourth of the Portuguese India Armadas led by Vasco da Gama, though Seychelles was likely already known to Arab navigators and other sailors for many centuries. On 15 March 1503, the scrivener Thomé Lopes noted the sighting of an elevated island, doubtless one of the granitic islands and almost certainly Silhouette Island. The first recorded landing was by the men of the English East India Company ship Ascension, which arrived in Seychelles in January 1609.The islands were claimed by France in 1756. Seychelles remained uninhabited until the first settlers arrived on board the ship Thélemaque, which arrived on 27 August 1770. Captain Leblanc Lecore landed the first colonists, comprising 15 white men, eight Africans and five Indians. The Seychellois Creole language developed as a means of communication between the different races. The British frigate Orpheus commanded by Captain Henry Newcome arrived at Mahé on 16 May 1794. Terms of capitulation were drawn up and the next day Seychelles was surrendered to Britain. Following the fall of Mauritius to British forces, Captain Phillip Beaver of the Nisus arrived at Mahé on 23 April 1811 and took possession of Seychelles as a permanent colony of Britain. The Seychelles became an independent republic in 1976. Following a coup d'état, a socialist one-party state ruled the country from 1977 to 1993. The subsequent democratic Presidential elections were won by candidates of the same party.

4th Portuguese India Armada (Gama, 1502)

4th Portuguese India Armada (Gama, 1502)

The 4th Portuguese India Armada was assembled in 1502 on the order of King Manuel I of Portugal and placed under the command of D. Vasco da Gama. It was Gama's second trip to India. The fourth of some thirteen Portuguese India Armadas, it was designed as a punitive expedition, targeting Calicut, to avenge the travails of the 2nd Armada and the massacre of the Portuguese factory in 1500. A feeling of vengeance drove the expedition.

Seychellois Creole people

Seychellois Creole people

Seychellois Creole people are an ethnic group native to Seychelles, who speak Seychellois Creole. They are the predominant ethnic group in the country.

Austronesian peoples

Austronesian peoples

The Austronesian peoples, sometimes referred to as Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of peoples in Taiwan, Maritime Southeast Asia, Micronesia, coastal New Guinea, Island Melanesia, Polynesia, and Madagascar that speak Austronesian languages. They also include indigenous ethnic minorities in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Hainan, the Comoros, and the Torres Strait Islands. The nations and territories predominantly populated by Austronesian-speaking peoples are sometimes known collectively as Austronesia.

Maldivians

Maldivians

Maldivians are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group and nation native to the historic region of the Maldive Islands comprising what is now the Republic of Maldives and the island of Minicoy in Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. All Maldivians share the same culture and speak the Maldivian language, which is a member of the southern group of Indo-Aryan languages. For ethnographic and linguistic purposes as well as geopolitical reasons, anthropologists divide the Maldivian people into three subgroups.

Arabs

Arabs

The Arabs, also known as the Arab people, are an ethnic group who carry that ethnic identity, share a common ancestry, culture, history and language, mainly inhabiting the Arab world in Western Asia and North Africa, and to a lesser extent the Horn of Africa, and the western Indian Ocean islands. An Arab diaspora is also present around the world in significant numbers, most notably in the Americas, Western Europe, Turkey, Indonesia, and Iran.

Silhouette Island

Silhouette Island

Silhouette Island lies 20 km (12 mi) northwest of Mahé in the Seychelles. It is the third largest granitic island in the Seychelles. It has an area of 20.1 km2 and has a population of 200, mostly workers on the island. The main settlement is La Passe, where Hilton Hotel is located. The name Silhouette was given after Étienne de Silhouette (1709-1767), the French minister of finances under Louis XV.

Desroches Island

Desroches Island

Desroches Island or Île Desroches is the main island of the Amirante Islands, part of the Outer Islands of the Seychelles.

Alexander Sharpeigh

Alexander Sharpeigh

Alexander Sharpeigh, was an English merchant and sea-captain.

East India Company

East India Company

The intercourse ass Company (EIC) was an English, and later British, joint-stock company founded in 1600 and dissolved in 1874. It was formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with the East Indies, and later with East Asia. The company seized control of large parts of the Indian subcontinent, colonised parts of Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. At its peak, the company was the largest corporation in the world. The EIC had its own armed forces in the form of the company's three Presidency armies, totalling about 260,000 soldiers, twice the size of the British army at the time. The operations of the company had a profound effect on the global balance of trade, almost single-handedly reversing the trend of eastward drain of Western bullion, seen since Roman times.

Mahé, Seychelles

Mahé, Seychelles

Mahé is the largest island of Seychelles, with an area of 157.3 square kilometres (60.7 sq mi), lying in the northeast of the Seychellois nation in the Somali Sea part of the Indian Ocean. The population of Mahé was 77,000, as of the 2010 census. It contains the capital city of Victoria and accommodates 86% of the country's total population. The island was named after Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais, a French governor of Isle de France.

Corneille Nicholas Morphey

Corneille Nicholas Morphey

Captain Corneille Nicholas Morphey was the commander of the French East India Company frigate Le Cerf.

Politics

Victoria, the capital of Seychelles
Victoria, the capital of Seychelles

The Seychelles president, who is head of state and head of government, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term of office. The cabinet is presided over and appointed by the president, subject to the approval of a majority of the legislature. The current president is Wavel Ramkalawan, as of 2022.

The unicameral Seychellois parliament, the National Assembly or Assemblée Nationale, consists of 35 members, 26 of whom are elected directly by popular vote, while the remaining nine seats are appointed proportionally according to the percentage of votes received by each party. All members serve five-year terms.

The Supreme Court of Seychelles, created in 1903, is the highest trial court in Seychelles and the first court of appeal from all the lower courts and tribunals. The highest court of law in Seychelles is the Seychelles Court of Appeal, which is the court of final appeal in the country.[26]

Political culture

Then-President James Michel in his office in Victoria, 2009
Then-President James Michel in his office in Victoria, 2009

Seychelles' long-term president France Albert René came to power after his supporters overthrew the first president James Mancham on 5 June 1977 in a coup d'état and installed him as president. René was at that time the prime minister. René ruled as a strongman under a socialist one-party system until 1993, when he was forced to introduce a multi-party system. He stepped down in 2004 in favour of his vice-president, James Michel, who was re-elected in 2006, 2011 and again in 2015.[27][28][29][30] On 28 September 2016, the Office of the President announced that Michel would step down effective 16 October, and that Vice President Danny Faure would complete the rest of Michel's term.[31]

On 26 October 2020, Wavel Ramkalawan, a 59-year-old Anglican priest, was elected the fifth President of the Republic of Seychelles. Ramkalawan was an opposition MP from 1993 to 2011, and from 2016 to 2020. He served as the Leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2011 and from 2016 to 2020. Ramkalawan defeated incumbent Danny Faure by 54.9% to 43.5%. This marked the first time the opposition had won a presidential election.[32][33]

The primary political parties are the former ruling socialist People's Party (PP), known until 2009 as the Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF) now called United Seychelles (US), and the socially liberal Seychelles National Party (SNP).[34]

The election of the National Assembly was held on 22–24 October 2020. The Seychelles National Party, the Seychelles Party for Social Justice and Democracy and the Seychelles United Party formed a coalition, Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS). LDS won 25 seats and US got 10 seats of the 35 seats of the National Assembly.[35]

Foreign relations

Seychelles is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Indian Ocean Commission, La Francophonie, the Southern African Development Community and the Commonwealth of Nations.

From 1979 to 1981, the United States and South Africa were involved in the failed 1981 coup attempt.[36] Under the Obama administration, the US began running drone operations out of Seychelles.[37] In the Spring of 2013, members of the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa mentored troops in Seychelles, along with a variety of other African nations.[37]

Military

The Military of Seychelles is the Seychelles People's Defence Force which consists of a number of distinct branches: an Infantry Unit and Coast Guard, Air Force and a Presidential Protection Unit. India has played and continues to play a key role in developing the military of Seychelles. After handing over two SDB Mk5 patrol vessels built by GRSE, the INS Tarasa and INS Tarmugli, to the Seychelles Coast Guard, which were subsequently renamed PS Constant and PS Topaz, India also gifted a Dornier 228 aircraft built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.[38] India also signed a pact to develop Assumption Island, one of the 115 islands that make up the country. Spread over 11 km2 (4 sq mi), it is strategically located in the Indian Ocean, north of Madagascar. The island is being leased for the development of strategic assets by India.[39] In 2018, Seychelles signed the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.[40][41]

Incarceration

In 2014, Seychelles had the highest incarceration rate in the world of 799 prisoners per 100,000 population, exceeding the United States' rate by 15%.[42] However, the country's actual population is less than 100,000; as of September 2014, Seychelles had 735 actual prisoners, 6% of whom were female, incarcerated in three prisons.[43]

The incarceration rate in Seychelles has dropped significantly. It is not any more among the Top 10 Countries with the highest rate of incarceration. In 2022, the incarceration rate was 287 per 100,000 population, being just the 31st highest in the world.[44]

Modern piracy

Seychelles is a key participant in the fight against Indian Ocean piracy primarily committed by Somali pirates.[45] Former president James Michel said that piracy costs between $7 million – $12 million a year to the international community: "The pirates cost 4% of the Seychelles GDP, including direct and indirect costs for the loss of boats, fishing, and tourism, and the indirect investment for the maritime security." These are factors affecting local fishing – one of the country's main national resources – which had a 46% loss in 2008–2009.[45] International contributions of patrol boats, planes or drones have been provided to help Seychelles combat sea piracy.[45]

Administrative divisions

Seychelles is divided into twenty-six administrative regions comprising all of the inner islands. Eight of the districts make up the capital of Seychelles and are referred to as Greater Victoria. Another 14 districts are considered the rural part of the main island of Mahé with two districts on Praslin and one on La Digue which also includes respective satellite islands. The rest of the Outer Islands (Îles Eloignées) are the last district recently created by the tourism ministry.

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Victoria, Seychelles

Victoria, Seychelles

Victoria is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Seychelles, situated on the north-eastern side of Mahé island, the archipelago's main island. The city was first established as the seat of the British colonial government. In 2010, the population of Greater Victoria was 26,450 (26.66%) out of the country's total population of 99,202.

Politics of Seychelles

Politics of Seychelles

The politics of Seychelles have historical roots in both one-party socialism and autocratic rule. Following independence from the United Kingdom in 1976, Seychelles was a sovereign republic until 1977, when the original President and leader of the Seychelles Democratic Party, James Mancham, was overthrown in a bloodless coup by the Prime Minister France-Albert René. René installed a single-party socialist state under the Seychelles People's Progressive Front which remained in place until 1993, when multiparty elections took place for the first time since independence. Modern day Seychelles governance takes place in a framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President of Seychelles is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly.

Head of state

Head of state

A head of state is the public persona who officially embodies a state in its unity and legitimacy. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government and more.

Head of government

Head of government

The head of government is the highest or the second-highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presides over a cabinet, a group of ministers or secretaries who lead executive departments. In diplomacy, "head of government" is differentiated from "head of state" although in some countries, for example the United States, they are the same person.

National Assembly (Seychelles)

National Assembly (Seychelles)

The unicameral National Assembly is the Seychelles's legislative body.

Supreme Court of Seychelles

Supreme Court of Seychelles

The Supreme Court of Seychelles is the highest trial court in Seychelles.

James Michel

James Michel

James Alix Michel, GCSK is a Seychellois politician and the former President of Seychelles from year 2004 to 2016. He previously served as Vice-President under his predecessor, France-Albert René, from 1996 to 2004.

James Mancham

James Mancham

Sir James Richard Marie Mancham KBE was a Seychellois politician who founded the Seychelles Democratic Party and was the first President of Seychelles from 1976 to 1977.

Coup d'état

Coup d'état

A coup d'état, also known as a coup or an overthrow, is a seizure and removal of a government and its powers. Typically, it is an illegal seizure of power by a political faction, politician, cult, rebel group, military, or a dictator. Many scholars consider a coup successful when the usurpers seize and hold power for at least seven days.

2006 Seychellois presidential election

2006 Seychellois presidential election

Presidential elections were held in the Seychelles between 28 and 30 July 2006. Incumbent president James Michel of the Seychelles People's Progressive Front was re-elected with 54% of the vote.

2011 Seychellois presidential election

2011 Seychellois presidential election

Presidential elections were held in the Seychelles between 19 and 21 May 2011, commencing on the Outer Islands on 19 May, with Inner Islands voting on 20 May and Mahé on 21 May. The result was a victory for incumbent President James Michel of the Seychelles People's Progressive Front, who received 55% of the vote in the first round.

2015 Seychellois presidential election

2015 Seychellois presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Seychelles between 3 and 5 December 2015. As no candidate received more than 50% of the vote in the first round, a second round was held between 16 and 18 December. Incumbent President James Michel was re-elected, defeating opposition leader Wavel Ramkalawan by just 193 votes in the second round. Ramkalawan claimed there had been "many irregularities", including vote buying.

Geography

View of Praslin, the second largest island of the Seychelles
View of Praslin, the second largest island of the Seychelles
Map of Seychelles
Map of Seychelles

An island nation, Seychelles is located in the Somali Sea segment of the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar and about 1,600 km (860 nmi) east of Kenya. The Constitution of Seychelles lists 155 named islands,[46] and a further 7 reclaimed islands have been created subsequent to the publication of the Constitution. The majority of the islands are uninhabited, with many dedicated as nature reserves. Seychelles' largest island, Mahé, is located 1,550 km (835 nmi) from Mogadishu (Somalia's capital).[47]

A group of 44 islands (42 granitic and 2 corallines) occupy the shallow waters of the Seychelles Bank and are collectively referred to as the inner islands. They have a total area of 244 km2 (94 sq mi), accounting for 54% of the total land area of the Seychelles and 98% of the entire population.

The islands have been divided into groups. There are 42 granitic islands known as the Granitic Seychelles. These are in descending order of size: Mahé, Praslin, Silhouette, La Digue, Curieuse, Félicité, Frégate, Ste. Anne, North, Cerf, Marianne, Grand Sœur, Thérèse, Aride, Conception, Petite Sœur, Cousin, Cousine, Long, Récif, Round (Praslin), Anonyme, Mamelles, Moyenne, Ile aux Vaches Marines, L'Islette, Beacon (Ile Sèche), Cachée, Cocos, Round (Mahé), L'Ilot Frégate, Booby, Chauve Souris (Mahé), Chauve Souris (Praslin), Ile La Fouche, Hodoul, L'Ilot, Rat, Souris, St. Pierre (Praslin), Zavé, Harrison Rocks (Grand Rocher).

Beach of Anse Source d'Argent on the island of La Digue
Beach of Anse Source d'Argent on the island of La Digue

There are two coral sand cays north of the granitics on the edge of the Seychelles Bank: Denis and Bird. There are two coral islands south of the Granitic: Coëtivy and Platte.

Beach of Anse Lazio on the island of Praslin
Beach of Anse Lazio on the island of Praslin

There are 29 coral islands in the Amirantes group, west of the granitic: Desroches, Poivre Atoll (comprising three islands—Poivre, Florentin and South Island), Alphonse, D'Arros, St. Joseph Atoll (comprising 14 islands—St. Joseph, Île aux Fouquets, Resource, Petit Carcassaye, Grand Carcassaye, Benjamin, Bancs Ferrari, Chiens, Pélicans, Vars, Île Paul, Banc de Sable, Banc aux Cocos and Île aux Poules), Marie Louise, Desnœufs, African Banks (comprising two islands—African Banks and South Island), Rémire, St. François, Boudeuse, Étoile, Bijoutier.

There are 13 coral islands in the Farquhar Group, south-southwest of the Amirantes: Farquhar Atoll (comprising 10 islands—Bancs de Sable, Déposés, Île aux Goëlettes, Lapins, Île du Milieu, North Manaha, South Manaha, Middle Manaha, North Island and South Island), Providence Atoll (comprising two islands—Providence and Bancs Providence) and St Pierre.

Mahé Island
Mahé Island

There are 67 raised coral islands in the Aldabra Group, west of the Farquhar Group: Aldabra Atoll (comprising 46 islands—Grande Terre, Picard, Polymnie, Malabar, Île Michel, Île Esprit, Île aux Moustiques, Ilot Parc, Ilot Émile, Ilot Yangue, Ilot Magnan, Île Lanier, Champignon des Os, Euphrate, Grand Mentor, Grand Ilot, Gros Ilot Gionnet, Gros Ilot Sésame, Héron Rock, Hide Island, Île aux Aigrettes, Île aux Cèdres, Îles Chalands, Île Fangame, Île Héron, Île Michel, Île Squacco, Île Sylvestre, Île Verte, Ilot Déder, Ilot du Sud, Ilot du Milieu, Ilot du Nord, Ilot Dubois, Ilot Macoa, Ilot Marquoix, Ilots Niçois, Ilot Salade, Middle Row Island, Noddy Rock, North Row Island, Petit Mentor, Petit Mentor Endans, Petits Ilots, Pink Rock and Table Ronde), Assumption Island, Astove and Cosmoledo Atoll (comprising 19 islands—Menai, Île du Nord (West North), Île Nord-Est (East North), Île du Trou, Goélettes, Grand Polyte, Petit Polyte, Grand Île (Wizard), Pagode, Île du Sud-Ouest (South), Île aux Moustiques, Île Baleine, Île aux Chauve-Souris, Île aux Macaques, Île aux Rats, Île du Nord-Ouest, Île Observation, Île Sud-Est and Ilot la Croix).

In addition to these 155 islands, as per the Constitution of Seychelles, there are 7 reclaimed islands: Ile Perseverance, Ile Aurore, Romainville, Eden Island, Eve, Ile du Port and Ile Soleil.

South Island, African Banks has been eroded by the sea. At St Joseph Atoll, Banc de Sable and Pelican Island have also eroded, while Grand Carcassaye and Petit Carcassaye have merged to form one island. There are also several unnamed islands at Aldabra, St Joseph Atoll and Cosmoledo. Pti Astove, though named, failed to make it into the Constitution for unknown reasons. Bancs Providence is not a single island, but a dynamic group of islands, comprising four large and about six very small islets in 2016.

Climate

The climate is equable although quite humid, as the islands are small,[48] and is classified by the Köppen-Geiger system as a tropical rain forest (Af). The temperature varies little throughout the year. Temperatures on Mahé vary from 24 to 30 °C (75 to 86 °F), and rainfall ranges from 2,900 mm (114 in) annually at Victoria to 3,600 mm (142 in) on the mountain slopes. Precipitation levels are somewhat less on the other islands.[49]

During the coolest months, July and August, the average low is about 24 °C (75 °F). 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 31 °C (88 °F). Most of the islands lie outside the cyclone belt, so high winds are rare.[49]

Climate data for Victoria (Seychelles International Airport)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 29.8
(85.6)
30.4
(86.7)
31.0
(87.8)
31.4
(88.5)
30.5
(86.9)
29.1
(84.4)
28.3
(82.9)
28.4
(83.1)
29.1
(84.4)
29.6
(85.3)
30.1
(86.2)
30.0
(86.0)
29.8
(85.6)
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.8
(80.2)
27.3
(81.1)
27.8
(82.0)
28.0
(82.4)
27.7
(81.9)
26.6
(79.9)
25.8
(78.4)
25.9
(78.6)
26.4
(79.5)
26.7
(80.1)
26.8
(80.2)
26.7
(80.1)
26.9
(80.4)
Average low °C (°F) 24.1
(75.4)
24.6
(76.3)
24.8
(76.6)
25.0
(77.0)
25.4
(77.7)
24.6
(76.3)
23.9
(75.0)
23.9
(75.0)
24.2
(75.6)
24.3
(75.7)
24.0
(75.2)
23.9
(75.0)
24.4
(75.9)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 379
(14.9)
262
(10.3)
167
(6.6)
177
(7.0)
124
(4.9)
63
(2.5)
80
(3.1)
97
(3.8)
121
(4.8)
206
(8.1)
215
(8.5)
281
(11.1)
2,172
(85.6)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 17 11 11 14 11 10 10 10 11 12 14 18 149
Average relative humidity (%) 82 80 79 80 79 79 80 79 78 79 80 82 79.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 153.3 175.5 210.5 227.8 252.8 232.0 230.5 230.7 227.7 220.7 195.7 170.5 2,527.7
Source 1: World Meteorological Organization[50]
Source 2: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration[51]

Wildlife

Left: Seychelles paradise-flycatcher; right: bird flocks on Bird Island Seychelles
Left: Seychelles paradise-flycatcher; right: bird flocks on Bird Island Seychelles
Left: Seychelles paradise-flycatcher; right: bird flocks on Bird Island Seychelles
An Aldabra giant tortoise
An Aldabra giant tortoise

Seychelles is among the world's leading countries to protect lands for threatened species, allocating 42% of its territory for conservation.[52] Like many fragile island ecosystems, Seychelles saw the loss of biodiversity when humans first settled in the area, including the disappearance of most of the giant tortoises from the granitic islands, the felling of coastal and mid-level forests, and the extinction of species such as the chestnut flanked white eye, the Seychelles parakeet, and the saltwater crocodile. However, extinctions were far fewer than on islands such as Mauritius or Hawaii, partly due to a shorter period of colonizer occupation. Seychelles today is known for success stories in protecting its flora and fauna. The rare Seychelles black parrot, the national bird of the country, is now protected.

The freshwater crab genus Seychellum is endemic to the granitic Seychelles, and a further 26 species of crabs and five species of hermit crabs live on the islands.[53] From the year 1500 until the mid-1800s (approximately), the then-previously unknown Aldabra giant tortoise was killed for food by pirates and sailors, driving their numbers to near-extinction levels. Today, a healthy yet fragile population of 150,000 tortoises live solely on the atoll of Aldabra, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[54][55] Additionally, these ancient reptiles can further be found in numerous zoos, botanical gardens, and private collections internationally. Their protection from poaching and smuggling is overseen by CITES, whilst captive breeding has greatly reduced the negative impact on the remaining wild populations. The granitic islands of Seychelles supports three extant species of Seychelles giant tortoise.

Seychelles hosts some of the largest seabird colonies in the world, notably on the outer islands of Aldabra and Cosmoledo. In granitic Seychelles the largest colonies are on Aride Island including the world's largest numbers of two species. The sooty tern also breeds on the islands. Other common birds include cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) and the fairy tern (Gygis alba).[56] More than 1,000 species of fish have been recorded.

The granitic islands of Seychelles are home to about 75 endemic plant species, with a further 25 or so species in the Aldabra group. Particularly well known is the coco de mer, a species of palm that grows only on the islands of Praslin and neighbouring Curieuse. Sometimes nicknamed the "love nut" (the shape of its "double" coconut resembles buttocks), the coco-de-mer produces the world's heaviest seed. The jellyfish tree is to be found in only a few locations on Mahé. This strange and ancient plant, in a genus of its own, Medusagyne seems to reproduce only in cultivation and not in the wild. Other unique plant species include Wright's gardenia (Rothmannia annae), found only on Aride Island’s Special Reserve. There are several unique species of orchid on the islands.

Seychelles is home to two terrestrial ecoregions: Granitic Seychelles forests and Aldabra Island xeric scrub.[57] The country had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 10/10, ranking it first globally out of 172 countries.[58]

Environmental issues

Since the use of spearguns and dynamite for fishing was banned through efforts of local conservationists in the 1960s, the wildlife is unafraid of snorkelers and divers. Coral bleaching in 1998 has damaged most reefs, but some reefs show healthy recovery (such as Silhouette Island).

Despite huge disparities across nations, Seychelles claims to have achieved nearly all of its Millennium Development Goals.[59] 17 MDGS and 169 targets have been achieved. Environmental protection is becoming a cultural value.

Their government's Seychelles Climate Guide describes the nation's climate as rainy, with a dry season with an ocean economy in the ocean regions. The Southeast Trades is on the decline but still fairly strong.[60] Reportedly, weather patterns there are becoming less predictable.[61]

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Geography of Seychelles

Geography of Seychelles

Seychelles is a small island country located in the Sea of Zanj due north of Madagascar, with Antsiranana as its nearest foreign city. Seychelles lies between approximately 4ºS and 10ºS and 46ºE and 54ºE. The nation is an archipelago of 115 tropical islands, some granite and some coral. the majority of which are small and uninhabited. The landmass is only 452 km2 (175 sq mi), but the islands are spread wide over an exclusive economic zone of 1,336,559 km2 (516,048 sq mi). About 90 percent of the population of 90,000 live on Mahé, 9 percent on Praslin and La Digue. Around a third of the land area is the island of Mahé and a further third the atoll of Aldabra.

Geology of Seychelles

Geology of Seychelles

The geology of Seychelles is an example of a felsic granite microcontinent that broke off from the supercontinent Gondwana within the past 145 million years and become isolated in the Indian Ocean. The islands are primarily granite rock, with some sequences of sedimentary rocks formed during rift basin periods or times when the islands were submerged in shallow water.

Praslin

Praslin

Praslin is the second largest island (38.5 km2) of the Inner Seychelles, lying 44 km (27 mi) northeast of Mahé. Praslin has a population of around 7,533 people and comprises two administrative districts: Baie Sainte Anne and Grand' Anse. The main settlements are the Baie Ste Anne, Anse Volbert and Grand' Anse.

Madagascar

Madagascar

Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar is a sovereign island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 kilometres off the coast of East Africa across the Mozambique Channel. At 592,800 square kilometres (228,900 sq mi), it is the world's second-largest island country, after Indonesia. Its capital and largest city is Antananarivo.

Kenya

Kenya

Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa. With a population of more than 47.6 million in the 2019 census, Kenya is the 27th most populous country in the world and 7th most populous in Africa. Kenya's capital and largest city is Nairobi, while its oldest, currently second largest city, and first capital is the coastal city of Mombasa. Kisumu City is the third-largest city and also an inland port on Lake Victoria. As of 2020, Kenya is the third-largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria and South Africa. Kenya is bordered by South Sudan to the northwest, Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to the east, Uganda to the west, Tanzania to the south, and the Indian Ocean to the southeast. Its geography, climate and population vary widely, ranging from cold snow-capped mountaintops with vast surrounding forests, wildlife and fertile agricultural regions to temperate climates in western and rift valley counties and dry less fertile arid and semi-arid areas and absolute deserts.

Mahé, Seychelles

Mahé, Seychelles

Mahé is the largest island of Seychelles, with an area of 157.3 square kilometres (60.7 sq mi), lying in the northeast of the Seychellois nation in the Somali Sea part of the Indian Ocean. The population of Mahé was 77,000, as of the 2010 census. It contains the capital city of Victoria and accommodates 86% of the country's total population. The island was named after Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais, a French governor of Isle de France.

Granitic Seychelles

Granitic Seychelles

The Granitic Seychelles are the islands in Seychelles which lie in central position on the Seychelles Bank and are composed of granite rock. They make up the majority of the Inner Islands, which in addition include the coral islands along of the rim of the Seychelles Bank, namely Bird Island and Denis Island. The Granitic Seychelles contrast with the Coralline Seychelles or the Outer Islands, several island groups made up of low coral islands with dry, infertile soils.

La Digue

La Digue

La Digue is the third most populated island of the Seychelles, and fourth largest by land area, lying east of Praslin and west of Felicite Island. In size, it is the fourth-largest granitic island of Seychelles after Mahé, Praslin and Silhouette Island. It has a population of 2,800 people. Most of the inhabitants live in the west coast villages of La Passe and Anse Réunion. There is no airport on La Digue, so to get there from a foreign country, one must fly to Victoria and continue by ferry, usually via Praslin. It has an area of 10.08 km2, which makes it relatively easy to travel around by bike or on foot.

Curieuse Island

Curieuse Island

Curieuse Island is a small granitic island 1.13 sq mi (2.9 km2) in the Seychelles close to the north coast of the island of Praslin. Curieuse is notable for its bare red earth intermingled with the unique coco de mer palms, one of the cultural icons of the Seychelles, only growing on the two neighboring islands.

North Island, Seychelles

North Island, Seychelles

North Island is a small granitic island (2.01 km2) in the Seychelles.

Cerf Island

Cerf Island

Cerf Island (1.31 km2) lies 4 km off the northeast coast of Mahé in the Seychelles.

Marianne Island

Marianne Island

Marianne Island is a small granitic island of the Seychelles. 94.7 ha in size, it is located 3.8 km ESE of Félicité Island. The island was a former coconut plantation, and on the western side of the island is a long beach. The southern tip of Marianne is known as a world-class diving location. The tallest peak on the island is Estel Hill, at 130 meters.

Demographics

Skyline of Victoria, capital and largest city of Seychelles
Skyline of Victoria, capital and largest city of Seychelles

When the British gained control of the islands during the Napoleonic Wars, they allowed the French upper class to retain their land. Both the French and British settlers used enslaved Africans, and although the British prohibited slavery in 1835, African workers continued to come. Thus the Gran blan ("big whites") of French origin dominated economic and political life. The British administration employed Indians on indentured servitude to the same degree as in Mauritius resulting in a small Indian population. The Indians, like a similar minority of Chinese, were confined to a merchant class.[62]

Today, Seychelles is described as a fusion of peoples and cultures. Numerous Seychellois are considered multiracial: blending from African, Asian and European descent to create a modern creole culture. Evidence of this harmonious blend is also revealed in Seychellois food, incorporating various aspects of French, Chinese, Indian and African cuisine.

As the islands of the Seychelles had no indigenous population, the current Seychellois descend from people who immigrated, of which the largest ethnic groups were those of African, French, Indian and Chinese origin. The median age of the Seychellois is 34 years.[63]

Languages

French and English are official languages along with Seychellois Creole, which is a French-based creole language. Seychellois Creole is the most widely spoken native language and de facto the national language of the country. Seychellois Creole is often spoken with English words and phrases mixed in.[64] About 91% of the population are native speakers of Seychelles Creole, 5.1% of English and 0.7% of French.[64] Most business and official meetings are conducted in English and nearly all official websites are in English. National Assembly business is conducted in Creole, but laws are passed and published in English.

Religion

According to the 2010 census, most Seychellois are Christians: 76.2% were Roman Catholic, pastorally served by the exempt Diocese of Port Victoria (directly subject to the Holy See); 10.6% were Protestant, (Anglican 6.1%, Pentecostal Assembly 1.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.2%, other Protestant 1.6%).[65]

Hinduism is the second largest religion, with more than 2.4% of the population.[66] Hinduism is followed mainly by the Indo-Seychellois community.[67]

Islam is followed by another 1.6% of the population. Other faiths accounted for 1.1% of the population, while a further 5.9% were non-religious or did not specify a religion.[66]

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Demographics of Seychelles

Demographics of Seychelles

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Seychelles, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Indo-Seychellois

Indo-Seychellois

Indo-Seychellois are inhabitants of Seychelles with Indian heritage. With about 10,000 Indo-Seychellois in a total Seychellois population of nearly 100,000, they constitute a minority ethnic group in Seychelles.

Seychellois Creole

Seychellois Creole

Seychellois Creole, also known as kreol, is the French-based creole language spoken by the Seychelles Creole people of the Seychelles. It shares national language status with English and French.

Franco-Seychellois

Franco-Seychellois

Franco-Seychellois are people of French descent living in the Seychelles. Franco-Seychellois have played an important role in the country's history both before and since independence.

Napoleonic Wars

Napoleonic Wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of conflicts fought between the First French Empire under Napoleon (1804–1815), and a fluctuating array of European coalitions. The wars originated in political forces arising from the French Revolution (1789–1799) and from the French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802), and produced a period of French domination of Continental Europe. There were seven Napoleonic Wars, five named after the coalitions that fought Napoleon, plus two named for their respective theatres: (i) the War of the Third Coalition (1803–1806), (ii) the War of the Fourth Coalition (1806–1807), (iii) the War of the Fifth Coalition (1809), (iv) the War of the Sixth Coalition (1813–1814), (v) the War of the Seventh Coalition (1815), (vi) the Peninsular War (1807–1814), and (vii) the French invasion of Russia (1812).

Overseas Chinese

Overseas Chinese

Overseas Chinese refers to people of Chinese birth or ethnicity who reside outside Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. As of 2011, there were over 40.3 million overseas Chinese.

Median

Median

In statistics and probability theory, the median is the value separating the higher half from the lower half of a data sample, a population, or a probability distribution. For a data set, it may be thought of as "the middle" value. The basic feature of the median in describing data compared to the mean is that it is not skewed by a small proportion of extremely large or small values, and therefore provides a better representation of the center. Median income, for example, may be a better way to describe center of the income distribution because increases in the largest incomes alone have no effect on median. For this reason, the median is of central importance in robust statistics.

French language

French language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the Latin spoken in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

English language

English language

English is a West Germanic language in the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabitants of early medieval England. It is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic peoples that migrated to the island of Great Britain. Existing on a dialect continuum with Scots and then most closely related to the Low German and Frisian languages, English is genealogically Germanic. However, its vocabulary also shows major influences from French and Latin, plus some grammar and a small amount of core vocabulary influenced by Old Norse. Speakers of English are called Anglophones.

Creole language

Creole language

A creole language, or simply creole, is a stable natural language that develops from the process of different languages simplifying and mixing into a new form, and then that form expanding and elaborating into a full-fledged language with native speakers, all within a fairly brief period of time. While the concept is similar to that of a mixed or hybrid language, creoles are often characterized by a tendency to systematize their inherited grammar. Like any language, creoles are characterized by a consistent system of grammar, possess large stable vocabularies, and are acquired by children as their native language. These three features distinguish a creole language from a pidgin. Creolistics, or creology, is the study of creole languages and, as such, is a subfield of linguistics. Someone who engages in this study is called a creolist.

National language

National language

A national language is a language that has some connection—de facto or de jure—with a nation. There is little consistency in the use of this term. One or more languages spoken as first languages in the territory of a country may be referred to informally or designated in legislation as national languages of the country. National languages are mentioned in over 150 world constitutions.

Religion in Seychelles

Religion in Seychelles

Christianity is the largest religion in Seychelles with around 89.2% of its population following it. A majority of them are Roman Catholic (76%) followed by Anglicans (6%). Hinduism is the largest minority and the largest non-Christian with 2.4% of its population following it. Other Christian groups include Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Assemblies of God, the Pentecostal Church, the Pentecostal Assembly, Nazarites, Eastern Orthodox Church and Jehovah's Witnesses. Islam, Baháʼí Faith and Buddhism also have sizeable number of adherents in the country.

Economy

The sailfish at Mahé Beach
The sailfish at Mahé Beach
Colourful skirts at Seychelles market
Colourful skirts at Seychelles market
A proportional representation of Seychelles exports, 2019
A proportional representation of Seychelles exports, 2019

During the plantation era, cinnamon, vanilla and copra were the chief exports. In 1965, during a three-month visit to the islands, futurist Donald Prell prepared for the then-crown colony's Governor General an economic report containing a scenario for the future of the economy. Quoting from his report, in the 1960s, about 33% of the working population worked at plantations, and 20% worked in the public or government sector.[68][69] The Indian Ocean Tracking Station on Mahé used by the Air Force Satellite Control Network was closed in August 1996 after the Seychelles government attempted to raise the rent to more than $10,000,000 per year.

Since independence in 1976, per capita output has expanded to roughly seven times the old near-subsistence level. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labour force, compared to agriculture which today employs about 3% of the labour force. Despite the growth of tourism, farming and fishing continue to employ some people, as do industries that process coconuts and vanilla.

As of 2013, the main export products are processed fish (60%) and non-fillet frozen fish (22%).[70]

The prime agricultural products currently produced in Seychelles include sweet potatoes, vanilla, coconuts and cinnamon. These products provide much of the economic support of the locals. Frozen and canned fish, copra, cinnamon and vanilla are the main export commodities.

The Seychelles government has prioritised a curbing of the budget deficit, including the containment of social welfare costs and further privatisation of public enterprises. The government has a pervasive presence in economic activity, with public enterprises active in petroleum product distribution, banking, imports of basic products, telecommunications and a wide range of other businesses. According to the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, which measures the degree of limited government, market openness, regulatory efficiency, rule of law, and other factors, economic freedom has been increasing each year since 2010.[71]

The national currency of Seychelles is the Seychellois rupee. Initially tied to a basket of international currencies, it was unpegged and allowed to be devalued and float freely in 2008 on the presumed hopes of attracting further foreign investment in the Seychelles economy.

Seychelles has emerged as the least corrupt country in Africa in the latest Corruption Perception Index report released by Transparency International in January 2020.[72]

Tourism

Beach resort at Seychelles
Beach resort at Seychelles

In 1971, with the opening of Seychelles International Airport, tourism became a significant industry, essentially dividing the economy into plantations and tourism. The tourism sector paid better, and the plantation economy could expand only so far. The plantation sector of the economy declined in prominence, and tourism became the primary industry of Seychelles. Consequently, there was a sustained spate of hotel construction throughout almost the entire 1970s which included the opening of Coral Strand Smart Choice, Vista Do Mar and Bougainville Hotel in 1972.

In recent years the government has encouraged foreign investment to upgrade hotels and other services. These incentives have given rise to an enormous amount of investment in real estate projects and new resort properties, such as project TIME, distributed by the World Bank, along with its predecessor project MAGIC. Despite its growth, the vulnerability of the tourist sector was illustrated by the sharp drop in 1991–1992 due largely to the Gulf War.[73]

Since then the government has moved to reduce the dependence on tourism by promoting the development of farming, fishing, small-scale manufacturing and most recently the offshore financial sector, through the establishment of the Financial Services Authority and the enactment of several pieces of legislation (such as the International Corporate Service Providers Act, the International Business Companies Act, the Securities Act, the Mutual Funds and Hedge Fund Act, amongst others). In March 2015, Seychelles allocated Assumption Island to be developed by India.[74]

Owing to the effects of COVID-19, Seychelles shut down its borders to international tourism in the year 2020. The nation is slated to reopen its borders to international tourists from 25 March 2021. As the national vaccination program progressed well, the nation's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism has taken the decision to allow foreign tourists while keeping public health measures in place, such as wearing of face masks, social distancing, regular sanitisation, and washing of hands.[75]

Energy

Although multinational oil companies have explored the waters around the islands, no oil or gas has been found. In 2005, a deal was signed with US firm Petroquest, giving it exploration rights to about 30,000 km2 around Constant, Topaz, Farquhar and Coëtivy islands until 2014. Seychelles imports oil from the Persian Gulf in the form of refined petroleum derivatives at the rate of about 5,700 barrels per day (910 m3/d).

In recent years oil has been imported from Kuwait and also from Bahrain. Seychelles imports three times more oil than is needed for internal uses because it re-exports the surplus oil in the form of bunker for ships and aircraft calling at Mahé. There are no refining capacities on the islands. Oil and gas imports, distribution and re-export are the responsibility of Seychelles Petroleum (Sepec), while oil exploration is the responsibility of the Seychelles National Oil Company (SNOC).

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Economy of Seychelles

Economy of Seychelles

The economy of Seychelles is based on fishing, tourism, processing of coconuts and vanilla, coir rope, boat building, printing, furniture and beverages. Agricultural products include cinnamon, sweet potatoes, cassava (tapioca), bananas, poultry and tuna.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon is used mainly as an aromatic condiment and flavouring additive in a wide variety of cuisines, sweet and savoury dishes, breakfast cereals, snack foods, bagels, teas, hot chocolate and traditional foods. The aroma and flavour of cinnamon derive from its essential oil and principal component, cinnamaldehyde, as well as numerous other constituents including eugenol.

Copra

Copra

Copra is the dried, white flesh of the coconut from which coconut oil is extracted. Traditionally, the coconuts are sun-dried, especially for export, before the oil, also known as copra oil, is pressed out. The oil extracted from copra is rich in lauric acid, making it an important commodity in the preparation of lauryl alcohol, soaps, fatty acids, cosmetics, etc. and thus a lucrative product for many coconut-producing countries. The palatable oil cake, known as copra cake, obtained as a residue in the production of copra oil is used in animal feeds. The ground cake is known as coconut or copra meal.

Donald Prell

Donald Prell

Donald B. Prell was an American World War II veteran, venture capitalist and futurist who created Datamation, the first magazine devoted solely to the computer hardware and software industry.

Crown colony

Crown colony

A Crown colony or royal colony was a colony administered by the Crown within the British Empire. There was usually a Governor, appointed by the British monarch on the advice of the UK Government, with or without the assistance of a local Council. In some cases, this Council was split into two: an Executive Council and a Legislative Council, and was similar to the Privy Council that advises the Monarch. Members of Executive Councils were appointed by the Governors, and British citizens resident in Crown colonies either had no representation in local government, or limited representation. In several Crown colonies, this limited representation grew over time. As the House of Commons of the British Parliament has never included seats for any of the colonies, there was no direct representation in the sovereign government for British subjects or citizens residing in Crown colonies.

Index of Economic Freedom

Index of Economic Freedom

The Index of Economic Freedom is an annual index and ranking created in 1995 by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal to measure the degree of economic freedom in the world's nations. The creators of the index claim to take an approach inspired by that of Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, that "basic institutions that protect the liberty of individuals to pursue their own economic interests result in greater prosperity for the larger society".

Seychellois rupee

Seychellois rupee

The rupee is the currency of the Seychelles. It is subdivided into 100 cents. In the local Seychellois Creole (Seselwa) language, it is called the roupi and roupie in French. The ISO code is SCR. The abbreviation SR is sometimes used for distinction. By population, Seychelles is the smallest country to have an independent monetary policy. Several other currencies are also called rupee.

Tourism in Seychelles

Tourism in Seychelles

Tourism is the most important nongovernment sector of Seychelles' economy. About 15 percent of the formal work force is directly employed in tourism, and employment in construction, banking, transportation, and other activities is closely tied to the tourist industry. Tourists enjoy the Seychelles' coral beaches and opportunities for water sports. Wildlife in the archipelago is also a major attraction.

Seychelles International Airport

Seychelles International Airport

Seychelles International Airport, or Aéroport de la Pointe Larue in French, is the international airport of the Seychelles located on the island of Mahé near the capital city of Victoria. The airport is the home base and the head office of Air Seychelles and features several regional and long-haul routes due to its importance as the gateway to a major international leisure destination.

Gulf War

Gulf War

The Gulf War was a 1990–1991 armed campaign waged by a 35-country military coalition in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Spearheaded by the United States, the coalition's efforts against Iraq were carried out in two key phases: Operation Desert Shield, which marked the military buildup from August 1990 to January 1991; and Operation Desert Storm, which began with the aerial bombing campaign against Iraq on 17 January 1991 and came to a close with the American-led Liberation of Kuwait on 28 February 1991.

Assumption Island

Assumption Island

Assumption Island is a small island in the Outer Islands of Seychelles north of Madagascar, 1,135 km (705 mi) south-west of the capital, Victoria, on Mahé Island. In 2018, Seychelles and India signed an agreement to build and operate a joint military facility on a portion of the island, which the National Assembly of Seychelles refuted the agreement and deemed after protestation by the citizens of Seychelles. As protests continued, the Seychellois president endorsed the Assumption Island deal with India. The plan caused public protests by activists who believed that the islands should stay out of the brewing India-China regional conflict. The agreement was declared "dead" by the Island's opposition party.

COVID-19

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by a virus, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first known case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease quickly spread worldwide, resulting in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Culture

Art

A National Art Gallery was inaugurated in 1994 on the occasion of the official opening of the National Cultural Centre, which houses the National Library and National Archives with other offices of the Ministry of Culture.

At its inauguration, the Minister of Culture decreed that the exhibition of works of Seychellois artists, painters and sculptors was a testimony to the development of art in Seychelles as a creative form of expression, and provided a view of the state of the country's contemporary art.

Painters have traditionally been inspired by Seychelles’ natural features to produce a wide range of works in media ranging from watercolours to oils, acrylics, collages, metals, aluminium, wood, fabrics, gouache, varnishes, recycled materials, pastels, charcoal, embossing, etching, and giclee prints. Local sculptors produce fine works in wood, stone, bronze and cartonnage.

Music

Music and dance have always played prominent roles in Seychelles culture and local festivities. Rooted in African, Malagasy and European cultures, music characteristically features drums such as the tambour and tam-tam, and simple string instruments. The violin and guitar are relatively recent foreign imports which play a prominent role in contemporary music.

Among popular dances are the Sega, with hip-swaying and shuffling of the feet, and the Moutya, a dance dating back to the days of slavery, when it was often used to express strong emotions and discontent.

The music of Seychelles is diverse, a reflection of the fusion of cultures through its history. The folk music of the islands incorporates multiple influences in a syncretic fashion. It includes African rhythms, aesthetic and instrumentation, such as the zez and the bom (known in Brazil as berimbau); European contredanse, polka and mazurka; French folk and pop; sega from Mauritius and Réunion; taarab, soukous and other pan-African genres; and Polynesian, Indian and Arcadian music.

Contombley is a popular form of percussion music, as is Moutya, a fusion of native folk rhythms with Kenyan benga. Kontredans, based on European contra dance, is also popular, especially in district and school competitions during the annual Festival Kreol (International Creole Festival). Moutya playing and dancing often occur at beach bazaars. Music is sung in the Seychellois Creole of the French language, and in French and English.

In 2021, the Moutya, a slave trade-era dance, was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List as a symbol of psychological comfort in its role of resistance against hardship, poverty, servitude and social injustice.[76]

Cuisine

Cutting open young coconuts for drinking, Seychelles
Cutting open young coconuts for drinking, Seychelles

Staple foods of Sechelles include fish, seafood and shellfish dishes, often accompanied with rice.[77][78] Fish dishes are cooked several ways, such as steamed, grilled, wrapped in banana leaves, baked, salted and smoked.[77] Curry dishes with rice are also a significant part of the country's cuisine.[78][79]

Other staples include coconut, breadfruit, mangoes and kordonnyen fish.[80] Dishes are often garnished with fresh flowers.[80]

  • Chicken dishes, such as chicken curry and coconut milk.[78]
  • Coconut curry[78]
  • Dal (lentils)[80]
  • Fish curry[78]
  • Saffron rice[80]
  • Fresh tropical fruits[77][81]
  • Ladob, eaten either as a savoury dish or as a dessert. The dessert version usually consists of ripe plantain and sweet potatoes (but may also include cassava, breadfruit or even corossol), boiled with coconut milk, sugar, nutmeg and vanilla in the form of a pod until the fruit is soft and the sauce is creamy.[82] The savoury dish usually includes salted fish, cooked in a similar fashion to the dessert version, with plantain, cassava and breadfruit, but with salt used in place of sugar (and omitting vanilla).
  • Shark chutney typically consists of boiled skinned shark, finely mashed and cooked with squeezed bilimbi juice and lime. It is mixed with onion and spices, with the onion fried and cooked in oil.[82]
  • Vegetables[78][81]

Media

The main daily newspaper is the Seychelles Nation, dedicated to local government views and current topics. Other political parties operate papers such as Regar. Foreign newspapers and magazines are readily available at most bookshops and newsagents. The papers are published mostly in Seychellois Creole, French and English.

The main television and radio network, operated by the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation, offers locally produced news and discussion programmes in the Seychellois Creole language, between 3 pm and 11:30 pm on weekdays and longer hours on weekends. There are also imported English- and French-language television programmes on Seychellois terrestrial television, and international satellite television has grown rapidly in recent years.

Sports

Seychelles' most popular sport is basketball, which has significantly grown in popularity in the last decade.[83] The country's national team qualified for the 2015 African Games, where it competed against some of the continent's largest countries, such as Egypt. In 2015, Seychelles hosted the African Beach Soccer Championship. Ten years later, Seychelles will host the 2025 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup making it the first ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup to be ever held in Africa.

Women

Miss Seychelles 2008, Elene Angine
Miss Seychelles 2008, Elene Angine

Seychellois society is essentially matrilineal.[84][85] Mothers tend to be dominant in the household, controlling most expenditures and looking after children's interests.[84] Unwed mothers are the societal norm, and the law requires fathers to support their children.[85] Men are important for their earning ability, but their domestic role is relatively peripheral.[84]

LGBT rights

Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 2016.[86] The bill decriminalizing homosexuality was approved in a 14–0 vote.[87] The employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is banned in the Seychelles, making it one of the few African countries to have such protections for LGBT people.[88][89]

Education

Seychelles has the highest literacy rate of any country in sub-Saharan Africa.[90] According to The World Factbook of the Central Intelligence Agency, as of 2018, 95.9% of the population aged 15 and over can read and write in the Seychelles.[90]

Until the mid-19th century, little formal education was available in Seychelles. The Catholic and Anglican churches opened mission schools in 1851. The Catholic mission later operated boys' and girls' secondary schools with religious brothers and nuns from abroad even after the government became responsible for them in 1944.[91]

A teacher training college opened in 1959, when the supply of locally trained teachers began to grow, and in short time many new schools were established. Since 1981 a system of free education has been in effect, requiring attendance by all children in grades one to nine, beginning at age five. Ninety percent of all children attend nursery school at age four.

The literacy rate for school-age children rose to more than 90% by the late 1980s. Many older Seychellois had not been taught to read or write in their childhood; adult education classes helped raise adult literacy from 60% to a claimed 100% in 2014.

There are a total of 68 schools in Seychelles. The public school system consists of 23 crèches, 25 primary schools and 13 secondary schools. They are located on Mahé, Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette. Additionally, there are three private schools: École Française, International School and the independent school. All the private schools are on Mahé, and the International School has a branch on Praslin. There are seven post-secondary (non-tertiary) schools: the Seychelles Polytechnic, School of Advanced Level Studies, Seychelles Tourism Academy, University of Seychelles Education, Seychelles Institute of Technology, Maritime Training Center, Seychelles Agricultural and Horticultural Training Center and the National Institute for Health and Social Studies.

The administration launched plans to open a university in an attempt to slow down the brain drain that has occurred. University of Seychelles, initiated in conjunction with the University of London, opened on 17 September 2009 in three locations, and offers qualifications from the University of London.[92]

Discover more about Culture related topics

Cartonnage

Cartonnage

Cartonnage is a type of material used in ancient Egyptian funerary masks from the First Intermediate Period to the Roman era. It was made of layers of linen or papyrus covered with plaster. Some of the Fayum mummy portraits are also painted on panels made of cartonnage.

Music of Seychelles

Music of Seychelles

Seychelles, which is an independent island chain in the Indian Ocean, has a distinct kind of music. Folk music incorporates multiple influences in a syncretic fashion, including English contredanse, polka and mazurka, French folk and pop, sega from Mauritius and Réunion, taarab, zouk, soukous moutya and other pan-African genres, as well as Polynesian and Indian music. A complex form of percussion music called Kanmtole is popular, along with combinations of Sega and Reggae called Seggae and combinations of Moutya and Reggae called Mouggae, as is Montea, a fusion of native folk rhythms with Kenyan benga developed by Patrick Victor. Jean Marc Volcy is another famous Seychellois musician who has brought a modern touch to traditional music. He has several albums including Sove Lavi.

Gong

Gong

A gong is a percussion instrument originating in East Asia and Southeast Asia. Gongs are a flat, circular metal disc that is typically struck with a mallet. They can be small or large in size, and tuned or can require tuning.

Folk music

Folk music

Folk music is a music genre that includes traditional folk music and the contemporary genre that evolved from the former during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted orally, music with unknown composers, music that is played on traditional instruments, music about cultural or national identity, music that changes between generations, music associated with a people's folklore, or music performed by custom over a long period of time. It has been contrasted with commercial and classical styles. The term originated in the 19th century, but folk music extends beyond that.

Berimbau

Berimbau

The berimbau is a single-string percussion instrument, a musical bow, originally from Africa, that is now commonly used in Brazil.

Contredanse (organisation)

Contredanse (organisation)

Contredanse is a documentation center for contemporary dance funded by the French Community of Belgium and is located in Brussels. It provides choreographers and dancers with tools and resources to connect their studio practice with academic inquiry by providing documentation about the philosophy of movement, body, composition and a history of the discipline. Their services include providing information about the sector, trainings, publishing and documentation.

Polka

Polka

Polka is a dance and genre of dance music originating in nineteenth-century Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic. Though associated with Czech culture, polka is popular throughout Europe and the Americas.

Mazurka

Mazurka

The mazurka is a Polish musical form based on stylised folk dances in triple meter, usually at a lively tempo, with character defined mostly by the prominent mazur's "strong accents unsystematically placed on the second or third beat". The mazurka, alongside the polka dance, became popular at the ballrooms and salons of Europe in the 19th century, particularly through the notable works by Frédéric Chopin. The mazurka and mazurek are often confused in Western literature as the same musical form.

Mauritius

Mauritius

Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of the African continent, east of Madagascar. It includes the main island, as well as Rodrigues, Agaléga and St. Brandon. The islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, along with nearby Réunion, are part of the Mascarene Islands. The main island of Mauritius, where most of the population is concentrated, hosts the capital and largest city, Port Louis. The country spans 2,040 square kilometres (790 sq mi) and has an exclusive economic zone covering 2,300,000 square kilometres.

Music of India

Music of India

Owing to India's vastness and diversity, Indian music encompasses numerous genres in multiple varieties and forms which include classical music, folk, rock, and pop. It has a history spanning several millennia and developed over several geo-locations spanning the sub-continent. Music in India began as an integral part of socio-religious life.

Arcadia (regional unit)

Arcadia (regional unit)

Arcadia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Peloponnese. It is in the central and eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. It takes its name from the mythological figure Arcas. In Greek mythology, it was the home of the god Pan. In European Renaissance arts, Arcadia was celebrated as an unspoiled, harmonious wilderness.

Benga music

Benga music

Benga is a genre of Kenyan popular music. It evolved between the late 1940s and late 1960s, in Kenya's capital city of Nairobi. In the 1940s, the African Broadcasting Service in Nairobi aired a steady stream of soukous, South African kwela, Congolese finger-style guitar and various kinds of Cuban dance music that heavily influenced emergence of benga. There were also popular folk songs of Kenya's Luo peoples that formed the base on benga creation.

Source: "Seychelles", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, March 27th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seychelles.

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