Seychelles Travel
 holiday & vacation guide

Seychelles History

There is not much that’s known of the Pre-European Colonization history of Seychelles. There is an Arab manuscript dated 851 AD that refers to Maldives and other islands beyond it, quite probably Seychelles. Arab merchants were trading coco de mer nuts, which can only be found in Seychelles but they didn’t settle in the islands.

In 1609, Ascension made the first recorded landing and first written account in the island. The crew reported to the authorities what they saw but the British saw no need for the land.

During the 17th century, pirates from the Caribbean arrived in the Indian Ocean and made Madagascar their base for launching attacks on ships and marine vessels arriving and leaving the Gulf and the Red Sea.

The French claimed Seychelles on November 1756. Corneille Nicholas Morphey renamed the island Isle de Sechelles in honor of Viscount Jean Moreau de Seychelles, who was Louis XV’s Minister of Finance. The name Seychelles was then used as the name for the group of islands in the area, while the largest island is called Mahe.

The settlers, as a result of the French Revolution, formed a Colonial Assembly in 1790. With it, the settlers made history by having their own constitution, thus running their colony themselves. They decreed that they’ll be totally independent from Mauritius. Land of Seychelles should go to the existing colonists’ children and not to others.

In 1794, Jean-Baptiste Queau de Quincy became the colony’s leader. Quincy made Seychelles a haven for French corsairs. The British learned of this but they made no efforts at taking over Seychelles. The colony then became neutral and supplied everyone. This made the colony flourish.

In 1811, history rewrote itself when Mauritius and Reunion surrendered to the British, thus making Seychelles under British. Edward Madge became the first civilian administrator of the British regime. Quincy remained in the administration as Justice of Peace. With their new masters, the colony became dependent on Mauritius.

1835 saw history being made. The British abolished slavery, dealing a big blow to the plantation owners of Seychelles. They still believed that they could not maintain their farms without free labor. The freed slaved became squatters on the land they used to tend. Work stopped, thus clogged the colony’s economy. The situation only improved when they planted coconuts. Slaves that were liberated from other parts of the world were sent to Seychelles to work on the plantations. They were given ration and wages for their services.

In 1903, Seychelles became a crown colony with Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott as its first Governor. During this time, Seychelles got a botanical garden and a clock tower in Victoria.

Seychelles’ happiest period in its history is when it gained its independence in 1976. Then the year after, a coup d’état saw a change in its leadership. James Mancham, Seychelles’ first ever president was replaced by France Albert Rene. From 1979 to 1991, it became a socialist one-party state. 1993 saw the return of other political parties.