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The History of Seychelles

For history buffs, learning about a country’s history can often be just as exciting as visiting the place itself. Ok, maybe not just as exciting, but it definitely adds a little something to the overall experience when you know more than just the directions to the beach. Seychelles – along with glorious beaches to spare – has a rich history that makes it a wonderful place to visit when you’re looking for some cultural and historical enrichment to go with your suntan.

Listed as one of the world’s smallest countries, Seychelles proves that size doesn’t matter. This beautiful archipelago is a small country that packs a big punch regarding natural beauty, world-class water activities, land adventures, GDP and tourism where it continually exceeds all expectations. This is particularly impressive considering that the first humans officially settled on the islands at the end of the 18th century. The Bahamas, for comparison – another island paradise – was founded in the 15th century.

Like all countries in or near Africa, Seychelles has an unfortunate history involving slavery. French – and later, British – colonies brought slaves from various parts of and around Africa, which led to a mixture of nationalities and cultures that is still prevalent today in the multi-ethnic nation of this archipelago. Adding to this growing multiculturalism in the early days was the arrival of exiled prisoners from Zanzibar, Egypt, Cyprus and Palestineand you thought your neighbours were bad.

Although control of the island was passed to the British in the early 1800s, the early French influences are still apparent in family names, geographical titles, food and even language as French remains one of the country’s official languages. After being established under colonial rule, Seychelles held their first independent election in 1967. Now an independent nation, Seychelles became a republic in 1993 with a president elected by popular vote. Unlike some major countries, this island paradise has a gender-equal approach to government with women actively participating in the governing of the country and holding numerous posts in the cabinet and seats in the National Assembly. Another area in which Seychelles stands out is education. A free and compulsory 10-year public school education is available to all, which has resulted in a higher literacy rate than the global average for both men and women.

From its beginnings of slavery and plantations, today Seychelles is widely known as a paradise. From the beaches of unmatched beauty to historical sites that include the Vallée de Mai on the island of Praslin or the spectacularly diverse array of marine life that include over 900 identified species of fish along with the green sea turtles and giant tortoises – Seychelles has something for everyone.

To make the most of your time in this year-round playground, make sure you hire a car in Mahe or Praslin to easily move from the sandy beaches to the mountains of Mahe to the forests of Praslin – you won’t want to miss a thing!

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