This is a virtual guide to Seychelles, an archipelago located 1,600 km (1,000 mi) east of the African coast in the Indian Ocean at the crossroad between Asia and Africa.
Seychelles are one of the world's most beautiful tropical islands destination. The archipelago consists of 116 islands spread over 1 million km² of the western Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar, with a total land area of 444 km², making the island nation just about the size of Andorra, or 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC.
About half of the islands are of granitic origin, with narrow coastal strips and central ranges of hills rising up to 900 m at Morne Seychellois, the highest peak in the archipelago. The other half are coral atolls, many of them uninhabited.
The island nation has a population of 92,000 (in 2015), the capital city is Victoria on Mahé, the largest island. Spoken languages are Seychellois Creole 90%, English and French (all official).
Some scholars claim that the uninhabited islands of Seychelles were sighted by Vasco de Gama in 1502, however, recorded landings did not occur until 1609. In 1756 France made a formal claim to the islands. The islands were named after Jean Moreau de Séchelles, the Minister of Finance under Louis XV, King of France.
Settlement began in 1778 under a French military administration but barely survived its first decade.
A lengthy struggle between France and Great Britain for the islands ended in 1814 when they were ceded to the British. Seychelles and Mauritius were given to England by the Treaty of Paris in 1814.
During the 19th century, Chinese and Indian tradesmen, together with former slaves settled on the island. They founded their own colony separated from the Crown in 1903.
Seychelles became independent and member of the Commonwealth in 1976
Socialist rule was brought to a close with a new constitution and free elections in 1993.
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English: Republic of Seychelles
French: République des Seychelles
ISO Country Code: sc, SYC
IATA code: SEZ
Time Zone: SCT - Seychelles Times
Local Time = UTC +4h
Country Calling Code: +248
Capital City: Victoria (pop. 27,500)
Type: Multiple-party republic.
Independence: 29 June 1976 (from the UK).
Location: Eastern Africa, a group of about 115 islands scattered over 1.3 million km² of the western Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar.
Area: 455 km² (176 sq km)
Major Islands: Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.
Terrain: About half of the islands are of granitic origin, with narrow coastal strips and central ranges of hills rising to more than 900 m; the highest point: Morne Seychellois at 905 m.
The other half are coral atolls, many uninhabitable.
Climate: Tropical marine; humid; cooler season during southeast monsoon (late May to September); warmer season during northwest monsoon (March to May).