Geographical Location of Seychelles

The Seychelles consists of 115 islands, divided into two archipelagos. The country's largest island, Mahe, is located in the main archipelago in the north. In the south there is a group of 83 coral islands, most of which are uninhabited. The main islands are unique in that they are made of granite and represent the tip of a microcontinent (a small continent separated from another larger continent). The microcontinent on which the Seychelles Islands are located was separated from other continents even before mammals appeared on it. Therefore, the islands are home to many unique species of plants and animals that can only be found there.

The main islands consist of mountains and rolling hills surrounded by narrow, low-lying coastal strips with sandy beaches and coral reefs. The highest point in the country is Morne Seychelles, 906 meters above sea level. The remaining 83 islands are coral islands and atolls, barely protruding above the surface of the sea. The climate is tropical and humid all year round. The greatest amount of precipitation falls from November to March.

Climate change could cause serious problems for Seychelles. Low-lying islands are threatened by rising sea levels and may therefore become uninhabitable. The country's coral reefs are also threatened by rising global sea temperatures. However, the country has made a lot of efforts to protect the unique nature of the islands.

Brief History of Seychelles

The Seychelles islands were uninhabited when they were discovered by European sailors in the 16th century. The islands were probably known to Arab sailors long before Europeans discovered them, but the first documented landing on them was made by British sailors in 1609. Until the islands were colonized by France in 1756, they were explored by several expeditions and pirates. The French established plantations after the 1760s, bringing African slaves with them as labor. As a result of the Treaty of Paris in 1814, responsibility for the islands passed to Great Britain, and in 1903 the Seychelles became a British crown colony.

The islands' strategic location in the Indian Ocean made them important telecommunications centers during both world wars. After World War II, the colony gradually gained greater independence. A Legislative Assembly was elected in 1948, and the first political parties were formed in 1964. The country gained internal self-government in 1975 and gained full independence in 1976. Soon after independence, a political coup was carried out, led by Albert Rene. In 1979, Seychelles became a one-party state through a constitutional amendment. The regime survived a number of coup attempts, including an attempted invasion by South African mercenaries in 1981. It was not until 1991 that democratic reforms were introduced that allowed other parties to stand in elections.

Society and Politics of Seychelles

Seychelles is the smallest country in Africa both in terms of population and area. The country is a republic where the president has great power. The president, who is also prime minister and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, is elected for a five-year term. The president himself selects the government, which mainly plays an advisory role. Legislative power belongs to the National Assembly, which is elected every five years. The National Assembly consists of 25 elected representatives and nine representatives of the major political parties.

From 1977 to 2016, the country was ruled by the same political party. Although politics has become more democratic and open since 1993, the system still has serious flaws. The country's courts, politicians and elections have been criticized for corruption and bribery. In contrast, the opposition alliance won parliamentary elections for the first time in 2016. The change of power made it easier for the government and the opposition to work together. An agreement was also initiated with the former authoritarian regime of Albert Rene.

The island nation has one of the highest standards of living in Africa. Almost everyone has access to clean drinking water and closed sewer systems. The state has a social insurance fund that covers pensions of citizens and also guarantees support for the disabled, long-term ill people, orphans and newborns. Women and men have equal rights and women hold a strong position in society.

Seychelles is a member of the UN and several UN special organizations, as well as the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the Commonwealth, the African Union and the Cotonou Agreement.

Economy and Trade of Seychelles

Seychelles is one of the richest countries in Africa on a per capita basis. Since independence in 1976, gross domestic product per capita has increased tenfold. Unemployment is low, poverty is low. The economy is mainly based on tourism and fishing, but Seychelles is also a financial center for thousands of international companies, attracted by tax incentives on the islands.

Tourism and services account for about a quarter of GDP and employ more than 70 percent of the population. However, tourism is strictly regulated by the authorities to protect the vulnerable and unique nature. To get the most out of tourism, the focus is on luxury hotels and expensive resorts to attract wealthy tourists. However, the economy is vulnerable as tourist numbers are affected by the global economy, airfare and natural disasters. This became clear after the global financial crisis in 2008, when fewer tourists came to the country. The result was a sharp economic downturn and a payment crisis in the country. This became clear again when the tourism industry was hit hard after the island nation went into lockdown in 2020 to contain the spread of the corona pandemic. To be able to open borders as quickly as possible, the country has become one of the most vaccinated nations in the world.

There is little arable land in the country. They have a large trade deficit because almost all food, fuel and all industrial products are imported. Canned tuna is the most important export product, accounting for more than 90 percent of export earnings.

Flag of Seychelles
Coat of Arms of Seychelles

Basic information about Seychelles

  • Full name - Republic of Seychelles
  • Capital - Victoria
  • Language - Seychellois Creole
  • Population - 99,433
  • Form of government - republic
  • Area - 460 km2
  • Currency - Seychelles rupee
  • National Day - June 18