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Seychelles
Victoria, Seychelles
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History
Long before Seychelles became officially inhabited, it was an ideal haven for seafaring men and a likely hideout for Pirates.

The islands are shown on ancient Portuguese maps as ’The Three Brothers‘ and ’The Seven Sisters‘.

Among the many famous and infamous devils of the sea that may have haunted this paradise is Olivier Le Vasseur, otherwise known as ’La Buse‘ or the ’Buzzard‘. It is believed that the Buzzard buried a treasure at Belombre on Mahe Island, a treasure that included the priceless cross of Goa.

At the beginning of its discovery, the Seychelles Islands must have looked like the Garden of Eden in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Passing ships could stop by the islands to resupply wood, drinking water, food and even get some rest before continuing on their journey. Accounts tell of the islands being abundant in food, water, trees for timber, plentiful fish and turtle meat to eat. It was because of this abundance that the island of Mahe was referred to as ’Ile D‘Abondance‘.

In the later 1770s, after the French colonized the islands in 1756, the Seychelles received its name in honour of Viscount Jean Moreau de Sechelles, Minister of Finance during the reign of Louis XV. Establishment was first set up on Sainte Anne Island, off Mahe island. In August 1770. The inhabitants were "7 African slaves, 5 Malagasy slaves, 15 white colonists and 1 Black woman". They were to work the land and grow crops. By 1772, the establishment was abandoned as it was falling in complete disarray.

In 1772, a second establishment was set up at Anse Royale on Mahe Island. This saw the creation of the ’Jardin Du Roi‘ spice Garden. This was to introduce and develop the cultivation of spices and vegetables. In 1780, the spice gardens were partly burnt down when Lieutenant Romainville set fire to the plantations after he saw an approaching ship and mistakenly believed that the British were about to invade Mahe. The vessel turned out to be a French ship.

As a final act of colonization, Etablissement du Roi or Royal Settlement was built on the site of modern Victoria. Etablissement was to be the administrative settlement of the islands as the natural harbor on this side of the island was the ideal place for transiting ships to moor, and for passengers to come ashore to trade or buy goods. With rules and administrative structures in place, the settlements began to grow.

By 1811 however, Seychelles had fallen under British Rule. The first civilian administrator of the British regime was Edward Madge. In 1835, slavery was completely abolished. The over exploited lands started to yield less and less crops. Many planters left and liberated slaves had no land. It was only realized later that Coconuts could be grown with less and labour and more profit. Soon there was free labour once again. Freed slaves were apprenticed to plantation owners and they worked the land in return for rations and wages.

In 1903, the clock tower was erected as a memorial to Queen Victoria, affectionately the capital of Seychelles was also named Victoria. The inauguration of the clock tower also celebrated, in the same year, the status of Seychelles as a British Crown Colony.

World War 1 caused many hardships in the islands. Supplies were scarce and wages fell. Many joined the Seychelles Labour Contingent, as an escape from all the turmoil, and some 800 men were sent to East Africa to join the war.

It was not until 1964 that political movements were created. In 1966, the islands saw the election of their First president, Sir James Mancham. On June 29, 1976 Seychelles became an independent republic.

1977 saw a coup d‘état, where Mancham was deposed and was replaced by France Albert Rene, the second president.

The islands only saw their third president elected in 2006, James Michel.
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