Discovery and settlement
Arab sailors probably entered the Seychelles as early
as the 7th century. Even when the Portuguese seafarer
Vasco da Gama discovered the archipelago at the
beginning of the 16th century and recorded it on his
nautical charts, they were still uninhabited. Due to
their location away from the usual sea routes, the
islands were still not populated. It was not until 1743
that they were officially taken over by France and named
after the then French finance minister, Jean Moreau de
According to AbbreviationFinder,
the main island of Mah¨¦ began to settle in 1770.
Plantations were set up on the fertile soils, for the
management of which black slaves were brought to the
island from the African mainland and from the island of
Madagascar. The islands of Praslin, Silhouette, F¨¦licit¨¦
and La Digue were also populated shortly afterwards.
In the course of the Franco-British wars, the
Seychelles were occupied by British soldiers. After the
defeat of France, Great Britain was granted the
archipelago through the Treaty of Paris (1814). Managed
from Mauritius, the islands were used by the British as
a penal colony (until 1960).
In 1834, Britain officially banned slavery in its
colonies. From the beginning of the 20th century, the
cultivation of coconut palms for the production of copra
became the most important area of agriculture. In
1903, the Seychelles became an independent British crown
colony, and the British governor's administrative seat
became Victoria on Mah¨¦.
In 1948, the Seychelles received limited internal
self-government and elections were held on the islands
for the first time. However, due to the effective right
to vote in the census, only around 10% of the total
population were entitled to vote, mostly wealthy large
landowners and whites. The right to vote based on tax
revenue was abolished in 1959. In the mid-1960s, two
political parties formed: the socialist Seychelles
People's United Party (SPUP), led by France-Albert Ren¨¦,
and the conservative Seychelles Democratic Party (SDP)
by James Mancham. While the SPUP called for the islands'
independence from the British motherland, the SDP
advocated staying with the UK.
In the first general election in 1967, the SDP
prevailed against the socialist party as the strongest
political force. This result was almost confirmed in the
1970 and 1974 elections. In 1975, at the urging of
Britain, both parties formed a government coalition
under Mancham as Prime Minister. A year later, the
Seychelles became a republic within the British
Commonwealth. Mancham from the SDP became President,
Ren¨¦ Prime Minister and thus head of the government.
In June 1977 there was a coup d'¨¦tat. France-Albert
Ren¨¦ took over the office of President, the disempowered
James Mancham went into exile in London. Ren¨¦ renamed
his socialist party "Seychelles People's Progressive
Front" (SPPF) a year later and raised it to the unity
party, opposition groups were banned. In terms of
foreign policy, the new president sought close ties to
France. In 1984, the Seychelles, along with Madagascar
and Mauritius, founded the "Indian Ocean Commission"
(IOC) to improve economic relations between these
In 1992 opposition politician James Mancham returned
from exile to the Seychelles. In response to political
pressure from the main donor countries, France and Great
Britain, President-in-Office Ren¨¦ agreed to democratize
the country. A new constitution was drawn up, which
included the multi-party system. In July 1993, elections
were held in which France-Albert Ren¨¦ was confirmed as
head of state and government, and his socialist SPPF won
28 of a total of 33 seats in parliament. In March 1998
Ren¨¦ and the socialists were able to assert themselves
against the opposition. Early elections were held in
September 2001, in which Ren¨¦ was reaffirmed as
President. He resigned in April 2004 however, continued
to chair the ruling socialist SPPF. His successor was
longtime vice president and socialist James Alix Michel.
In 2006 and 2011 it was re-elected president.
The University of Seychelles is the country's first
independent university. It was opened in September 2009.
The island nation is severely affected by climate
change: it is severely threatened by rising sea levels.