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Geography of Seychelles

Information about the African Nation of Seychelles

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Seychelles Flag

The Seychelles flag has five oblique bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, red, white, and green (bottom) radiating from the bottom of the hoist side.

Source: CIA World Factbook, 2007
Updated December 29, 2010

Population: 88,340 (July 2010 estimate)
Capital: Victoria
Land Area: 175 square miles (455 sq km)
Coastline: 305 miles (491 km)
Highest Point: Morne Seychellois at 2,969 feet (905 m)

Seychelles is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar. It is also about 932 miles (1,500 km) east of mainland Africa. Seychelles is an archipelago that consists of 115 tropical islands - 42 of which are granitic while the rest are coral. With its area of only 175 square miles (455 km) and a population of just over 88,000, Seychelles is the smallest country in Africa. Its capital and largest city is Victoria.

History of Seychelles

It is believed that European explorers knew about Seychelles as early as 1505 when the islands appeared on Portuguese navigational charts. However, it was not until the 1700s that Europeans officially explored the area, although according to the United States Department of State, Arabs may have visited the area prior to this time. In 1742, Mahe de Labourdonais, the French Governor of Mauritius, sent the first known expedition to Seychelles. In 1756, another French expedition to the islands took formal control of the islands and assigned the name Seychelles to them.

Throughout the late 1700s, the French attempted to establish colonies on the islands and the first did not begin to successfully grow until 1794. During the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, Seychelles was taken over by other countries several times but in 1814 it was officially given to the British with the Treaty of Paris. Until 1903 though, the colonies living at Seychelles were considered as dependencies of Mauritius. On August 31 of that same year, Seychelles officially became a British Crown Colony.

By the 1960s, Seychelles was a growing area and in 1963, it had its first elections after new political parties had developed. On June 29, 1976, after elections in 1974, Seychelles became an independent nation and James Mancham became the country's first President and France Albert Rene its Prime Minister.

In November 1981 and August 1982, there were attempts to overthrow the government of Seychelles but the first failed and the second was suppressed after two days. Since then, the government of Seychelles has been relatively stable and has undergone several different elections. In 1991, the country's current constitution was drafted and put into effect.

Government of Seychelles

Today the government of Seychelles, officially called the Republic of Seychelles, is considered a republic. Its executive branch consists of a chief of state and a head of government- both of which are filled by the president. It also has a unicameral National Assembly for its legislative branch and a Court of Appeal and Supreme Court for its judicial branch. Seychelles is divided into 23 administrative districts.

Economics and Land Use in Seychelles

Since gaining its independence, the economy of Seychelles has consistently grown. Much of the country's economy is based on tourism but other industries include fishing, boat building, printing furniture manufacturing and the processing of coconuts and vanilla. The main agricultural products from Seychelles are coconuts, cinnamon, vanilla, sweet potatoes, cassava, bananas, tuna and poultry products.

Geography and Climate of Seychelles

Seychelles is located northeast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean (map). It is an archipelago with over 100 tropical islands. The Mahe group consists of 42 islands that are made up of granite. These islands are very rocky and have narrow coastal strips. They also have central ranges with hills and mountains that rise to nearly 3,000 feet (914 m). Mahe itself is the largest island and it is where the capital of Seychelles, Victoria, is located. The coral islands of the archipelago are mainly uninhabited as they are flat and have no fresh water on them.

The climate of Seychelles is considered tropical marine. It is usually very humid but it does have a cool season during the southeast monsoon from May to September. The warm season in Seychelles is during the northwest monsoon which is from March to May. The average temperatures are similar year round and the island of Mahe has an average temperature range from 75˚F to 85˚F (24˚C to 30˚C).

To learn more about Seychelles, visit the Geography and Maps section on Seychelles on this website.

References

Central Intelligence Agency. (15 December 2010). CIA - The World Factbook - Seychelles. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/se.html

Infoplease.com. (n.d.). Seychelles: History, Geography, Government, and Culture- Infoplease.com. Retrieved from: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107955.html

United States Department of State. (4 June 2010). Seychelles. Retrieved from: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/6268.htm

Wikipedia.org. (23 December 2010). Seychelles - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seychelles

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