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Republic of Seychelles
République des Seychelles
and largest city
|Demonym(s)||Seychellois, Seychelloise, Seselwa (Creole)|
• from the United Kingdom
|29 June 1976|
|451 km2 (174 sq mi) (197th)|
• Water (%)
• 2009 estimate
|186.2/km2 (482.3/sq mi) (60th)|
The country is to the east of the African continent. The islands of Madagascar and Mauritius lie to the south. The republic is made up of 115 islands. The biggest part of the population is a mix of freed slaves from the African Continent and Madagascar and European settlers. They make up about 90%. There are small minorities of immigrants from Europe, China and India. Most people are Roman Catholics, about 90% of them. About 8% are Protestants.
Other nearby island countries and territories include Zanzibar to the west, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Agalega and Réunion to the south, and Comoros and Mayotte to the southwest. Seychelles has an estimated population of 86,525. It is the smallest population of any African state.
Seychelles is to the northeast of Madagascar and about 1,600 km (994 mi) east of Kenya. The number of islands in the archipelago is often given as 115 but the Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles lists 155.
Seychelles is divided into twenty-five administrative regions. Eight of the districts make up the capital of Seychelles. They are called Greater Victoria. Another 14 districts are considered the rural part of the main island of Mahé. There are two districts on Praslin and one on La Digue which also include satellite islands. The rest of the Outer Islands are not considered part of any district.
During the plantation era, cinnamon, vanilla, and copra were the main exports. In the 1960s, about 33% of the working population worked at plantations, and 20% worked in the public or government sector. In 1971, with the opening of Seychelles International Airport, tourism became a serious industry.
Flora and fauna
Like many fragile island ecosystems, the Seychelles had loss of biodiversity during early human history. This included the disappearance of most of the giant tortoises from the granitic islands. There was also the extinction of species such as the chestnut flanked white eye, the Seychelles Parakeet, the Seychelles Black Terrapin and the saltwater crocodile. However, extinctions were far fewer than on islands such as Mauritius or Hawaii. This was partly due to a shorter period of human occupation being only since 1770. The Seychelles today is known for success stories in protecting its flora and fauna. The rare Seychelles Black Parrot, the national bird of the country, is now protected.
The granitic islands of Seychelles are home to about 75 endemic plant species. There are a further 25 or so species in the Aldabra group. Particularly well-known is the Coco de Mer, a species of palm that grows only on the islands of Praslin and neighbouring Curieuse. The jellyfish tree is to be found in only a few locations on Mahe. This strange and ancient plant is in a genus of its own (Medusagynaceae). Other unique plant species include the Wright's Gardenia Rothmannia annae found only on Aride Island Special Reserve.
There are several unique varieties of orchids on the Islands.
The marine life around the islands, especially the more remote coral islands, can be spectacular. More than 1,000 species of fish have been recorded. Since the use of spearguns and dynamite for fishing was banned in the 1960s, the wildlife is unafraid of snorkelers and divers. Coral bleaching in 1998 has damaged most reefs, but some reefs show healthy recovery.
- Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division (2009) (.PDF). World Population Prospects, Table A.1. 2008 revision. United Nations. http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wpp2008/wpp2008_text_tables.pdf. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Seychelles". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2010/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2007&ey=2010&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=718&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=53&pr.y=7. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Geoafrica.about.com". Goafrica.about.com. 9 July 2011. http://goafrica.about.com/od/africatraveltips/a/africafacts.htm. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
- "A sinking feeling: why is the president of the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru so concerned about climate change?". New York Times Upfront. 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-07-10. http://archive.is/TZ9K.
- Janet Haig (1984). "Land and freshwater crabs of the Seychelles and neighbouring islands". In David Ross Stoddart. Biogeography and Ecology of the Seychelles Islands. Springer. p. 123. . http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=hAu6qogRHloC&pg=PA123.