The Republic of Seychelles, also just the Seychelles, is an
island country in the Indian Ocean. Topographically, the state
belongs to Africa. Its capital is Victoria, which is named after the
Location and size
Topographically, the Seychelles belong to Africa. They lie on the northern and western parts of the Mascarene Ridge, an undersea sill in the western part of the Indian Ocean. The island states of Madagascar, Mauritius and the Comoros lie south of the Seychelles off the East African coast.
The territory of the Seychelles belongs to the time zone UTC+4 (DTG: Delta). This means a time difference of three hours in the winter months and a time difference of two hours in summer compared to Central European Time.
The Republic of Seychelles consists of about 115 islands, according to geology there are 42 granite islands and 73 coral islands. They are divided into two main groups, Inner Islands and Outer Islands, depending on their location.
The Inner Islands archipelago consists of 32 islands with a total land area of 266 km². They include:
Mahé (154 km²) (main island)
Praslin (38 km²)
La Digue (10 km²)
Silhouette (20 km²)
Ile du Nord (2 km²)
Fregate (2 km²)
Ile Aride (1 km²)
Bird Island (1 km²)
Ile Denis (1.4 km²).
Almost all of the islands mentioned are made of granite rock, only the islands Bird Island and Île Denis on the northern edge of the Seychelles Bank are coral islands in terms of their origin.
Mahé is home to the country's highest point, Morne Seychellois (905 m above MSL). Also noteworthy are Mont Dauban (740 m asl) (on Silhouette) and Mont Praslin (367 m asl) on the island of the same name.
Outside the "Seychelles Bank" the archipelago of the Outer Islands extends over a sea area of 400,000 km², including the island groups:
Amirantes with the main island of Desroche
Alphonse group with the atolls Alphonse and St. François
Farquhar group with Farquhar and Providence atolls
Platte, a singular island (about 135 km south of Mahé)
Coëtivy, another singular island (290 km south of Mahé)
Because of the low altitude (highest point at 9 m above MSL) and the lack of drinking water, there are only a few small settlements on the numerous coral islands.
Flora and fauna
There is a rich endemic flora and fauna in the Seychelles, including three species of giant tortoises. Especially on the Aldabra Atoll you will find the world's largest colony of giant tortoises, with 150,000 Aldabra giant tortoises. It is also home to the last surviving flightless bird of the Indian Ocean, the Cuvier's Rail. The Vallée de Mai (“Maital”) on Praslin – designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and managed by the Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF), established specifically for this purpose in 1979 – is home to the Seychelles parrot (Coracopsis barklyi) and the famous Seychelles nut, the "Coco de Mer". The Seychelles frog family, which is endemic there, can be found on the main island of Mahé and on Silhouette. Rare animals and plants can also be observed on the sheltered islands of Aride, Cousin and Curieuse. Also noteworthy are the karst formations in the granite rocks of the islands, especially on the coasts.
The native bird life of the Seychelles is among the most diverse in the entire Western Indian Ocean. Due to the isolated location of the archipelago, 15 species and 18 subspecies have developed here that are only found in the Seychelles. Due to this peculiarity, both the granite islands and the Aldabra Atoll are among the 218 Endemic Bird Areas (EBA) that have been identified worldwide.
The original vegetation was pushed back with settlement. They were replaced by crops that were procured specifically for cultivation in the Seychelles. The majority of tropical fruit and crops can thrive in the Seychelles and allow for a varied diet, these include: eggplant, banana, avocado, pineapple, papaya, mango, passion fruit, star fruit, guava, lemon, orange, sugar cane, breadfruit, lemongrass and cinnamon as well as many spices such as vanilla, pepper and nutmeg. Coconut palms were planted in plantations and provide the country's main export product, copra. Banyan trees and tropical timbers have been planted on the island, including the Dragon's Blood and Albizia trees.
The climate of the Seychelles is determined by the monsoon: from December to March the northwest monsoon prevails, followed by a windless transition phase in April. From May to September follows the low-rain but stormy time of the south-east monsoon, in October-November there is another transitional phase without wind. Severe storms are rare. The length of sunshine is determined by the location near the equator. 12 hours per day are astronomically possible, but due to the influence of cloud cover, an average of 5-8 hours per day is achieved. Temperatures fluctuate between 24 °C and 30 °C throughout the year, the sea water temperature is 26 °C all year round.
Rainfall on Mahe varies from 2880mm in the capital Victoria to 3550mm in the mountainous regions. The humidity is always more than 80 percent. The preferred travel time for a visit to the Seychelles is May to October.
The population of the Seychelles - the Seychellois - consists mainly of the descendants of settlers who immigrated from various French colonial areas and their African slave workers. This group still makes up more than 90 percent of today's population. There is also a minority of purely European descent as well as small Chinese and Indian minorities. In 2017, 13.6% of the population was foreign-born.
There are now many unmarried parents. The children of working parents mostly grow up in the household of their grandparents.
As a common language of this strongly mixed population, a separate variant of the creole languages developed here, which is referred to as Seychelles Creole or Seselwa and is based on French. According to Article 4 of the Constitution, the official languages are Seychellois Creole, English and French.
According to figures from 2010, the population is 76.2% Catholic (diocese of Port Victoria), around 10.5% are Protestants or Anglicans - mostly descendants of British sailors and farmers, 2.4% belong to other Christian denominations. 2.4% are Hindus, 1.6% belong to Islam, 1.1% are of other faiths.
The average school attendance of the over 25 year olds is 10 years, the expected school attendance of the next generation is 14.1 years. Accordingly, the proportion of illiterates is only 4.1%.
It is believed that the islands were discovered by Arab traders. In
1502 ships from the fleet of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama
anchored at the Amirante Islands. Although now well known to the western
world, the Seychelles were not permanently settled by the French until
250 years after their discovery. The French captain Lazare Picault was
on his way to India in 1742 and, coming from Mauritius, accidentally
found the still "unowned" islands, which were proclaimed French
possessions in 1753 and named after Jean Moreau de Séchelles, Louis XV's
finance minister. A permanent settlement can be proven from 1768 after
the establishment of spice plantations. During the First Coalition War,
the Seychelles were occupied by the British in 1794 and ceded to Great
Britain in the Treaty of Paris in 1814. Under British rule, the
archipelago was initially part of the Mauritius colony. On August 31,
1903, the Seychelles received the status of an independent colony. In
1945, while still under British administration, women were granted the
right to vote at the local level and on August 6, 1948 women were
granted active and passive suffrage at the national level. At
independence in 1976, these rights were confirmed.
The Seychelles gained self-government in 1970, independence followed in 1976, but the island republic remained in the Commonwealth. The so-called First Republic of Seychelles was established in 1976 and abolished in 1979 in favor of a one-party regime, the Second Republic. In 1993 the current constitution came into force as a state treaty for the Third Republic. Now opposition parties are allowed again. The ruling party is the former unitary Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF).
The tsunami that was triggered by a seaquake off Indonesia on December 26, 2004 also reached the Seychelles and caused damage.