oa Africa Insight - Country profile - Seychelles

Volume 16, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



The island state of Seychelles comprises more than 100 islands of which Mah� is the largest and most important. The Seychelles may have been known and visited in the Middle Ages by Arab traders sailing to and from ports in east Africa. The Amirantes group was sighted by Vasco da Gama in 1502. The French first explored the islands in 1742, claiming possession of them in 1756, although leaving them uninhabited until 1770. In 1774 the French garrison surrendered to a British naval force, but token French administration continued until 1810. The Treaty of Paris (1814) finally confirmed British possession of the Seychelles and Mauritius. The two colonies were administered as a single unit until 1872, and it was not until 1903 that their full separation was completed and Seychelles became a crown colony. In 1967 a Governing Council with an elected majority was set up, and on 29 June 1976 the Seychelles attained independence as a republic within the Commonwealth.

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