History of Seychelles
Seychelles is a comparatively young nation which can trace its first settlement back to 1770 when the islands were first settled by the French, leading a small party of whites, Indians and Africans. The islands remained in French hands until the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, evolving from humble beginnings to attain a population of 3,500 by the time Seychelles was ceded to Britain under the treaty of Paris in 1814.
During this period Seychelles came to know the enlightened policies of administrators such as Pierre Poivre, the brilliant politicking of Governor Queau de Quinssy and, of course, the terrible repercussions of the French Revolution.
Under the British, Seychelles achieved a population of some 7,000 by the year 1825. Important estates were established during this time producing coconut, food crops, cotton and sugar cane. During this period Seychelles also saw the establishment of Victoria as her capital, the exile of numerous and colourful troublemakers from the Empire, the devastation caused by the famous Avalanche of 1862 and the economic repercussions of the abolition of slavery.
Seychelles achieved independence from Britain in 1976 and became a republic within the commonwealth. Following a period of single party rule by the government of Mr. France Albert René, on December 4, 1991, President René announced a return to the multiparty system of government, 1993 saw the first multiparty presidential and legislative elections held under a new constitution in which President René was victorious. President René also won the 1998 and 2003 elections before transferring the Presidency to James Alix Michel in June 2004.
Districts of Seychelles
|Seychelles Map - Click for larger view|
Seychelles is divided into 25 districts. All are located on the Inner Islands; the Outer Islands are not part of any district. Eight of the districts make up Greater Victoria, 14 are located in the rural part of the main island Mahé, two on Praslin, and one on La Digue(including respective satellite islands). La Digue also includes some distant islands northwest of Mahé (Silhouette, North Island) and the coral islands in the north of the Inner Islands (Denis, Bird).
The capital Victoria consist of parts of the districts English River, Saint Louis and Mont Fleuri.
Between 1991 and 1993, the originally 23 districts were local government units with elected councils. Since then, they have been governed by government-appointed administrators.
In 1998, two new districts, Roche Caiman and Les Mamelles were created mostly from reclaimed land and from parts of Plaisance. In 2012, another new land reclamation took place and EVE Island and Rev Island where created near the capital Victoria and Bay St. Anne in Praslin. The countries territory is now 459 km2.
Seychelles Entry Visa Information
No visa is required for all nationalities, though all foreigners must have a passport valid for at least 6 months, and must have proof of accommodation bookings before arrival. Visitors without pre booked accommodation are likely to be compelled to book accommodation at the airport for the length of their stay before being allowed to leave the airport. An initial entry permit is granted for 1 month but can be extended for a maximum of 3 months at a time up to a maximum of 1 year in total.
In the evolution of its society, Seychelles has remained faithful to its multi-ethnic roots. For over two centuries, the islands have remained a melting pot of different races, traditions and religions from the four corners of the earth.
Inspired by its grand diversity of cultural influences, ethnic diversity with racial harmony remain the mainstays of today's vibrant yet tranquil Creole nation for which harmony is a way of life.
The cosmopolitan Seychellois are a colourful blend of peoples of different races, cultures and religions. At different times in its history, people of African, European and Asian origin have come to Seychelles, bringing with them their distinct traditions and customs and contributing to the way of life and to the vibrant Seychellois culture.
One can see these influences at work throughout the domains of local art, cuisine, music, dance and architecture.
The architectural design of some of the grand old houses with their steep roofs are representative of a style adapted for comfortable living in the tropics that displays influences from Seychelles' French and British colonial heritage. Modern architecture attempts to assimilate traditional styles with practical features designed to capture the island breezes.
Local artists continue to exhibit diverse styles that echo the multi-ethnic backdrop of the islands and bear testament to the various influences which have come to bear. Creole music and dance have their roots in African, Malagasy and European cultures with rhythms traditionally accompanied by simple drums and string instruments which, today, include such recent imports as the violin and guitar.
The traditional moutya is an erotic dance derived from the days of slavery and still features today, together with the sega with its colourful lyrics; the kanmtole, reminiscent of a country reel, and the Kontredanse, an import from the French court.
The Seychelles' climate is one which is always warm and does not reach extremes of heat or cold. The temperature rarely drops below 24°C or rises above 32°C. All but the remotest southern islands lie outside the cyclone belt making Seychelles' a year round destination for sun worshippers and beach lovers.
It is generally cooler when the north-west trade winds blow during the months of November to March. The sea is generally calm and the weather warm and humid, with average winds of 15 - 22 kilometers per hour.
Best time to visit
As the Seychelles islands are blessed with a year-long warm, tropical climate, it's always a good time to visit, although different times of year may be better suited to your particular interests.
Two opposing trade winds generally govern the weather pattern: the north-westerly trades blow from October to March when wind speeds average from 8 to 12 knots; and the brisker south-easterly trades blow from May to September with winds of between 10 to 20 knots, bringing the cooler and windier conditions ideal for sailing.
The periods of calm between the trades produce fairly warm and wind-free conditions throughout April and also in October. Conditions for swimming, snorkelling and especially diving are superb during April/May and October/November when the water temperature sometimes reaches 29ºC and visibility is often 30 metres plus.
Seychelles Public Holidays 2015
And also be advised of the following:
Seychelles office hours are Monday to Friday 0800hrs-1600hrs. Most government offices and some private businesses close on Saturdays and remain closed on Sundays and also on public holidays.
Crime levels are relatively low, but there has been an increase in burglaries and opportunist thefts. You should take sensible precautions to safeguard yourself and your possessions. Parked cars, residential accommodation, beaches and walking trails may be targeted.
Caution should be exercised when swimming, especially with children. Currents can be strong and drowning do occur.
Most visits to Seychelles are trouble-free. There is a low threat from terrorism.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
What to wear
Light clothing suitable for Seychelles' warm tropical climate is recommended and visitors should prepare themselves for the relatively hot, humid atmosphere. Also, for plenty of sun. Casual eveningwear (long trousers for men), together with appropriate footwear, is necessary for dining out and for gaining entrance to casinos and most hotels. Sturdy walking shoes are recommended if you intend to take guided walk and trail excursions.
Travelling with Pets
All cats and dogs entering Seychelles require an Import Permit issued by the Veterinary Services.
Tipping is not compulsory. However, as a reward for exceptional service, a nominal tip is sure to be warmly received.
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