Sunday, April 13, 2008

Seychelles



Capital (and largest city) Victoria
4°37′S, 55°27′E
Official languages English, French, Seychellois Creole
Demonym Seychellois
Government Republic
- President James Michel
Independence from the United Kingdom
- Date 29 June 1976
Area
- Total 451 km² (197th)
176 sq mi
- Water (%) negligible
Population
- 2005 estimate 80,699 (205th)
- Density 178/km² (60th)
458/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2006 estimate
- Total $1404 million (165th)
- Per capita $19794 (39th)
HDI (2007) ▲ 0.843 (high) (50th)
Currency Seychellois rupee (SCR)
Time zone SCT (UTC+4)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+4)
Internet TLD .sc
Calling code +248


Seychelles, officially the Republic of Seychelles, is an archipelago nation of 155 islands in the Indian Ocean, some 1,500 kilometres (930 mi) east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar. Other nearby island countries and territories include Zanzibar to the west, Mauritius and Réunion to the south, Comoros and Mayotte to the southwest, and the Suvadives of the Maldives to the northeast. Seychelles has the smallest population of any sovereign state of Africa.


History

Colonial Governor of the Seychelles inspecting police guard of honour in 1972
Main article: History of Seychelles

While Austronesian seafarers or Arab traders may have been the first to visit the uninhabited Seychelles, the first recorded sighting of them took place in 1502, by the Portuguese Admiral Vasco da Gama, who passed through the Amirantes and named them after himself (islands of the Admiral). The first recorded landing and first written account was by the crew of the English East Indiaman Ascension in 1609. As a transit point for trading between Africa and Asia, they were occasionally used by pirates until the French began to take control of the islands starting in 1756 when a Stone of Possession was laid by Captain Nicholas Morphey. The islands were named after Jean Moreau de Séchelles, Louis XV’s Minister of Finance. [1]

The British contested control over the islands with the French between 1794 and 1812. Jean Baptiste Queau de Quincy, French administrator of Seychelles during the years of war with the United Kingdom, declined to resist when armed enemy warships arrived. Instead, he successfully negotiated the status of capitulation to Britain, which gave the settlers a privileged position of neutrality.

Britain eventually assumed full control upon the surrender of Mauritius in 1812 and this was formalised in 1814 at the Treaty of Paris. The Seychelles became a crown colony separate from Mauritius in 1903 and independence was granted in 1976, as a republic within the Commonwealth. In 1977, a coup d'état ousted the first president of the republic, James Mancham, replacing him with France Albert René. The 1979 constitution declared a socialist one-party state, which lasted until 1991. The first draft of a new constitution failed to receive the requisite 60 percent of voters in 1992, but in 1993 an amended version was approved.


Politics

State House, Victoria - the seat of the President
Main article: Politics of Seychelles

The Seychelles president, who is both head of state and head of government, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term of office. The previous president, France Albert René, first came to power in a coup d'état in 1977, one year after independence. He was democratically elected after the constitutional reforms of 1992. He stood down in 2004 in favour of his vice-president, James Michel, who was re-elected in 2006. The cabinet is presided over and appointed by the president, subject to the approval of a majority of the legislature.

The unicameral Seychellois parliament, the National Assembly or Assemblée Nationale, consists of 34 members, of whom 25 are elected directly by popular vote, while the remaining 9 seats are appointed proportionally according to the percentage of votes received by each party. All members serve five-year terms.

Politics is a topic of hot debate in the country - The main rival parties are the Seychelles Peolple's Progressive Front (SPPF) and the Seychelles National Party (SNP). Since the inception of politics in the early sixties, politics has been integral part of the seychellois lives. The opinios differs between a socialist and liberal democrat ideology.

The Seychelles are part of the Indian Ocean Commission(IOC), SADEC and Commonwealth organisation.


Administrative divisions
Main article: Districts of Seychelles

The famous clock tower in the centre of Victoria, capital of Seychelles.

Seychelles is divided into twenty-five administrative regions, called districts:Anse aux Pins
Anse Boileau
Anse Etoile
Anse Royale
Au Cap
Baie Lazare
Baie Sainte Anne Beau Vallon
Bel Air
Bel Ombre
Cascade
Glacis
Grand' Anse (Mahe)
Grand' Anse (Praslin) La Digue
English River
Les Mamelles
Mont Buxton
Mont Fleuri
Plaisance
Pointe La Rue Port Glaud
Roche Caiman
Saint Louis
Takamaka





Geography
Main article: Geography of Seychelles

Beau Vallon Beach

An island nation, Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar and about 1,600 km (1,000 miles) 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. The islands as per the Constitution are divided into various groups as follows.

There are 42 granitic islands, in descending order of size: Mahé, Praslin, Silhouette, La Digue, Curieuse, Félicité, Frégate, St. Anne, North, Cerf, Marianne, Grand Sœur,Thérèse, Aride, Conception,Petite Sœur, Cousin, Cousine, Long, Récif, Round (Praslin), Anonyme, Mamelles, Moyenne, Ile aux Vaches Marines, L'Islette, Beacon (Ile Sèche), Cachée, Cocos, Round (Mahé), L'Ilot Frégate, Booby, Chauve Souris (Mahé),Chauve Souris (Praslin), Ile La Fouche, Hodoul, L'Ilot, Rat, Souris, St. Pierre (Praslin),Zavé, Harrison Rocks (Grand Rocher).

There are two coral sand cays north of the granitics: Denis, Bird.

There are two coral islands south of the granitics: Coëtivy, Platte.

There are 29 coral islands in the Amirantes group, west of the granitics: Desroches, Poivre Atoll , Alphonse, D'Arros, St. Joseph Atoll (comprising 14 islands: St. Joseph Ile aux Fouquets, Ressource, Petit Carcassaye, Grand Carcassaye, Benjamin, Bancs Ferrari, Chiens, Pélicans, Vars, Ile Paul, Banc de Sable, Banc aux Cocos and Ile aux Poules), Marie Louise, Desnoeufs, African Banks (comprising 2 islands: African Banks and South Island), Rémire, St. François, Boudeuse, Etoile, Bijoutier.

There are 13 coral islands in the Farquhar Group, south-south west of the Amirantes: Farquhar Atoll (comprising 10 islands: Bancs de Sable Déposés Ile aux Goëlettes Lapins Ile du Milieu North Manaha South Manaha Middle Manaha North Island and South Island), Providence Atoll (comprising two islands: Providence and Bancs Providence) and St Pierre.

Berjaja Mahé Beach

There are 67 raised coral islands in the Aldabra Group, west of the Farquhar Group: Aldabra Atoll (comprising 46 islands: Grande Terre, Picard, Polymnie, Malabar, Ile Michel, Ile Esprit, Ile aux Moustiques, Ilot Parc, Ilot Emile, Ilot Yangue, Ilot Magnan, Ile Lanier, Champignon des Os, Euphrate, Grand Mentor, Grand Ilot, Gros Ilot Gionnet, Gros Ilot Sésame, Heron Rock, Hide Island, Ile aux Aigrettes, Ile aux Cèdres, Iles Chalands, Ile Fangame, Ile Héron, Ile Michel, Ile Squacco, Ile Sylvestre, Ile Verte, Ilot Déder, Ilot du Sud, Ilot du Milieu, Ilot du Nord, Ilot Dubois, Ilot Macoa, Ilot Marquoix, Ilots Niçois, Ilot Salade, Middle Row Island, Noddy Rock, North Row Island, Petit Mentor, Petit Mentor Endans, Petits Ilots, Pink Rock and Table Ronde), Assumption, Astove and Cosmoledo Atoll (comprising 19 islands: Menai, Ile du Nord (West North), Ile Nord-Est (East North), Ile du Trou, Goëlettes, Grand Polyte, Petit Polyte, Grand Ile (Wizard), Pagode, Ile du Sud-Ouest (South), Ile aux Moustiques, Ile Baleine, Ile aux Chauve-Souris, Ile aux Macaques, Ile aux Rats, Ile du Nord-Ouest, Ile Observation, Ile Sud-Est and Ilot la Croix).

Economy
Main article: Economy of Seychelles

Since independence in 1976, per capita output has expanded to roughly seven times the old near-subsistence level. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labour force and provides more than 70% of hard currency earnings, and by tuna fishing. In recent years the government has encouraged foreign investment in order to upgrade hotels and other services. These incentives have given rise to an enormous amount of investment in real estate projects and new (mostly 5 star) resort properties. Hilton, Four Seasons and Banyan Tree are all new entrants to Seychelles. Development projects projected in the hundreds of millions of dollars each are in the beginning stages for Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airlines, Raffles, Shangri-La, etc. Other private developments such as Ile Aurore, Per Aquam and Eden Island are projected at over $2 billion.

At the same time, the government has moved to reduce the dependence on tourism by promoting the development of farming, fishing, small-scale manufacturing and most recently the offshore sector. The vulnerability of the tourist sector was illustrated by the sharp drop in 1991-1992 due largely to the country's significantly overvalued exchange rate, the Gulf War and once again following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. Other issues facing the government are the curbing of the budget deficit, including the containment of social welfare costs, and further privatisation of public enterprises. The government has a pervasive presence in economic activity, with public enterprises active in petroleum product distribution, insurance (has now been privatized), banking (is being privatized very soon), imports of basic products (now being privatized), telecommunications (4 private ISP/telecom companies), and a wide range of other businesses. Beginning at the turn of the millennium the Seychelles Petroleum Company (SEPEC) started to develop the first fleet of modern Petroleum double-hull tankers (five vessels), which was completed by late 2007/early 2008 with the possibility to build more in the near future. The Seychelles President claims that this has opened the door to a new industry for his country and encourage economic growth by further removing over-reliance on traditional trades like fisheries and tourism which is now falling rapidly as the country's main income but nevertheless, has experienced significant growth in recent years.

Growth slowed in 1998–2001, due to sluggish tourist and tuna sectors. Also, tight controls on exchange rates and the scarcity of foreign exchange have impaired short-term economic prospects. The black market value of the Seychellois rupee is anywhere from two thirds to one half the official exchange rate. The next few years were also a bit slow due to the worldwide economic downturn and the fear of flying brought on by September 11, 2001. More recently though, tourism has roared back at a record pace setting successive records in 2006 and again in 2007 for number of visitors. The increased availability of flights to and from the archipelego due in part to new entrants Emirates and Qatar airlines is also beginning to show. New 5 star properties and the devaluation of the currency by nearly 33% by the Seychelles Government is having a positive influence on the tourism sector as well.

Both at official exchange rates and at purchasing power parity (PPP), Seychelles remains the second-richest territory in Africa in terms of GDP per capita (US$8,551 at real exchange rates and US$13,887 at PPP as of 2005),[2] behind Réunion (US$19,233 at real exchange rates).[3] Because of economic contraction (the economy declined by about 2% in 2004 and 2005 and lost another 1.4% in 2006 according to the IMF) the country was moving downwards in terms of per capita income; however, the economy came roaring back in 2007 growing by 5.3% due in part to the record tourism numbers, but also the booming building and offshore industries which also continue to set records.

It is important to note that Seychelles is, per capita, the most highly indebted country in the world according to the World Bank, with total public debt around 122.8% of GDP. Approximately two thirds of this debt is owed domestically, with the balance due to multi laterals, bi laterals, and commercial banks. Current external debt is estimated at 35.5% according to the IMF (2007). The country is in arrears to most of its international creditors and has had to resort to pledged commercial debt to continue to be able to borrow. This high debt burden is a direct consequence of the overvalued exchange rate — in essence, the country is living beyond its means, and financing its lifestyle by borrowing domestically and internationally.

New detailed studies and exploration shows that the Seychelles potentially have large off-shore petroleum reservoirs which is yet to be discovered. Drills have proven the presence of:

1. Oil-prone Source Rocks containing Type II kerogen in coaly deltaic shales of the Middle Jurassic and in marine shales of the Upper Jurassic;

2. Mixed source rocks bearing Type II/III kerogen in deltaic marine shales of the Lower Cretaceous that are II correlative of oil-generating shales in Somalia;

3. Gas-prone sources containing Type I kerogen in Upper Triassic fluvial shales and Paleocene marine shales, the latter being correlative of oil and gas generating source rocks of the Deep Continental Shelf trend of the Bombay High Oil Province offshore west India;

4. Evidence of hydrocarbon generation and migration with well shows, such as 0.7 ml benzene in DST-1 of Reith Bank-1, 10,010 ppm of 99.8% n-C4 headspace gas coincident with as small fault in the same well and 20% petrol vapours at an immature level of volcanics in Owen Bank A-1;

5. Clastic reservoirs with measured porosities up to 22% in the Early-Middle Jurassic; and

6. Sealing lithologies both locally in syn-rift, and regionally in post-rift sequences. An extensive seismic dataset, plus a variety of remote sensing data have been collected which bolster the well data by confirming the presence of:

7. A variety of trapping styles, dominated by tilted fault blocks, stratigraphic pinchouts and reefs;

8. Multiple heating events, with the principal event post-dating trap formation; and

9. Hydrocarbon generation and migration with the presence of: a) numerous DHIs on seismic, including gas chimneys, flat spots, bright spots, phase changes and chemosynthetic reefs; b) gas sniffer anomalies, involving ethane/iso-butane in the southeast and propane/normal butane/total hydrocarbon in the north and northeast; c) UV fluorescence anomalies, especially over the wells and in the southeast; and d) 4 types of beach-stranded tar that correlate to the local source rock stratigraphy.

In addition to the now booming tourism and building/real estate markets, Seychelles has renewed its commitment to developing its financial services sector. Government officials and industry participants believe this could overtake the tourism industry as the chief pillar of the economy by 2017. Indeed, the popularity of Seychelles in the offshore world is growing immensely with the sector setting records each of the last 4 years in a row. The recent passage of a revised Mutual Fund Act 2007, Securities Act 2007 and Insurance Act 2007 are meant to be the catalysts to move Seychelles from just another offshore jurisdiction to a full fledged Offshore Financial Center (OFC).

The Seychelles International Business Authority (SIBA) is charged with overseeing the quickly growing offshore industry. Seychelles is home to a number of offshore incorporation specialists including firms like Sterling Offshore Ltd., a Seychelles based firm of legal and business consultants specialising in offshore company formation, mutual funds, hedge funds and captive insurance.

Seychelles is the smallest nation in the world issuing its own currency (i.e., not pegged to a foreign currency and not shared with any other country).


Demographics
Main article: Demographics of Seychelles
See also: Indo-Seychellois, Sino-Seychellois, Seychellois Creole People, Seychellois Creole, and Franco-Seychellois

Victoria, Seychelles.

As the islands of the Seychelles had no indigenous population, the current Seychellois are composed of people who have immigrated to the island. The largest ethnic groups are those of French, African, Indian, and Chinese descent. French and English are official languages along with Seychellois Creole, which is primarily based upon French. Most Seychellois are Christians; the Roman Catholic Church is the predominant denomination.


Culture
Main articles: Culture of Seychelles and Music of Seychelles

The folk music of the islands incorporates multiple influences in a syncretic fashion, including English contredanse, polka and mazurka, French folk and pop, sega from Mauritius and Réunion, taarab, soukous and other pan-African genres, and Polynesian, Indian and Arcadian music. A complex form of percussion music called contombley is popular, as is Moutya, a fusion of native folk rhythms with Kenyan benga developed by Patrick Victor.

As of 1992, some ninety percent of the population was Roman Catholic and approximately seven percent Anglican. Although clergy and civil authorities disapprove, many Seychellois see little inconsistency between their orthodox religious observance and belief in magic, witchcraft, and sorcery.


Flora and Fauna

Palm spider, Seychelles.

In common with many fragile island ecosysytems, the early human history of Seychelles saw the loss of biodiversity including the disappearance of most of the giant tortoises from the granitic islands, felling of coastal and mid-level forests and extinction of species such as the chestnut flanked white eye, the Seychelles Parakeet and the saltwater crocodile. However, extinctions were far fewer than on other islands such as Mauritius or Hawaii, partly due to a shorter period of human occupation (since 1770). The Seychelles today is known for success stories in protecting its flora and fauna.

Arguably the first scientific study of Seychelles was that of the Marion Dufresne expedition in 1768, two years prior to settlement. Dufresne instructed Duchemin, captain of the vessel La Digue, to ...especially give the greatest attention to the study and prospects of all the species of inland productions such as trees, bushes, plants, herbs, quadruped animals, birds, insects, freshwater fish, stones, soil, minerals. Nothing is unimportant. You must not avoid giving details and descriptions- everything is worthy of attention. Their observations remain an intriguing window on Seychelles prior to human interference.

Subsequent to settlement, Fairfax Moresby’s hydrographic survey in 1822, was the first scientific study in the islands, while early collectors included those of Pervillé, Wright and Mobius during the early to mid nineteenth century. The first major avian collector was Newton in 1865 followed by Lantz in 1877, both in the granitics. Abbott collected in the granitics in 1890 and in the Aldabra group in 1893. Voeltzkow also made general natural history collections on Aldabra in 1895.

In 1882, Coppinger made extensive collections and observations. Several expeditions followed, most significant of which was the Percy Sladen Expedition aboard Sealark in 1905, when Gardiner made extensive collections in the granitics and outer islands. His collections for some islands remain the only records available into the 21st century.

Studies subsequent to Gardiner were sparse up to the 1950s, though some residents of Seychelles made valuable contributions, notably Dupont, Thomasset, Baty and Vesey Fitzgerald. Visiting oceanographic expeditions also made some collections. In the 1950s, Smith conducted a major study of marine fish, while Cousteau also visited in 1954 aboard Calypso. Legrand collected Lepidoptera in the 1950s, while the Bristol University expedition of 1964-65 focussed on birds and insects.

The contribution of Royal Society to the knowledge of Aldabra from 1966 is legendary and work on Aldabra continued under the custodianship of Seychelles Islands Foundation In more modern times, International Council for Bird Preservation (ICBP, now BirdLife International) conducted a great deal of research on Cousin Island. In the second half of the 1980s and during the 1990s, many reports and published papers for the granitics were the result of work conducted on Aride Island first by Royal Society for Nature Conservation (now Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts) and then by the local NGO Island Conservation Society, summarized in Annual Reports from 1987 to the present. Extensive scientific research is carried out since the 1990s and much of this is published in Seychelles in the scientific journal Phelsuma (published by Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles.

Vallée de Mai

Although many of the conservation laws date back to British colonial days, the Seychelles government has strictly protected the natural heritage of the islands for many years. Flagship species, the Seychelles Magpie Robin and the Seychelles Warbler, have been spectacularly rescued from the brink of extinction by BirdLife International, Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, Island Conservation Society, Nature Seychelles, private islands (Fregate and Denis) and the Government of Seychelles. These birds, once restricted to one island each, have been translocated to many others. Seychelles has 12 endemic bird species. These are the Aldabra Drongo, Seychelles Magpie Robin, Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher, Seychelles Fody, Seychelles Scops-owl, Seychelles White-eye, Seychelles Swiftlet, Seychelles Kestrel, Seychelles Blue Pigeon Seychelles Bulbul, Seychelles Warbler and Seychelles Sunbird.

Seychelles is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites run by the Seychelles Islands Foundation. They are the atoll of Aldabra, which is the world's largest raised coral atoll and also the Vallée de Mai on Praslin island, billed as the original site of the Garden of Eden. The Cousin Island Special Reserve, purchased by Royal Society for Nature Conservation in 1968 and managed by Nature Seychelles, is an internationally-known bird and marine sanctuary which has won several awards for conservation and ecotourism. Seychelles has six national marine parks including the St. Anne National Marine Park located adjacent to the capital, Port Victoria which are managed by the government parastatal, Marine Parks Authority. Much of the land territory (about 40%) and a substantial part of the coastal sea around Seychelles are protected as National Parks, including Marine Parks, and Reserves.

Coco de Mer (Praslin)

A World Bank/Environment Facility project in 1999 and a project for rat eradication has led to a programme of restoration of private islands by the government, Nature Seychelles and private island owners. These islands include Fregate, Denis and Cousine. The management of these islands now employ full time conservation officers and fund conservation programmes. The island restoration program has now been taken to the outer islands by the Island Conservation Society, with the first Island Conservation Centre opened at Alphonse Atoll in 2007. Island Conservation Society has also implemented other conservation programmes on islands including Conception, North Island, Cosmoledo Atoll and Farquhar Atoll.

The granitic islands of Seychelles are home to about 75 endemic plant species, with 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. Sometimes nicknamed the 'love nut' because of its suggestive shape, the coco-de-mer is the world's largest seed. The jellyfish tree is to be found in only a few locations today. This strange and ancient plant has resisted all efforts to propagate it. Other unique plant species include the Wrights Gardenia found only on Aride Island Special Reserve.

Giant Tortoise (Dipsochelys hololissa)

The giant tortoises from Aldabra now populate many of the islands of the Seychelles. The Aldabra population is the largest in the world. These unique reptiles can be found even in captive herds. It has been reported that the granitic islands of Seychelles supported distinct species of Seychelles giant tortoises, the status of the different populations is currently unclear.

Seychelles hosts some of the largest seabird colonies in the world. Islands such as Bird, Aride Island, Cousin, Aldabra and Cosmoledo host many species of seabirds including the sooty tern, fairy tern, white-tailed tropicbird, noddies and frigatebirds. Aride Island has more species of seabird and greater numbers than the other 40 granite islands combined including the world's largest colony of Audubon's Shearwater and Lesser Noddy.

The marine life around the islands, especially the more remote coral islands, can be spectacular. More than 1000 species of fish have been recorded. Since the use of spearguns and dynamite for fishing was banned through efforts of local conservationists in the 1960s, the wildlife is unafraid of snorkelers and divers. Coral bleaching in 1998 has unfortunately damaged most reefs, but some reefs show healthy recovery (e.g. Silhouette Island. The reefs comprise a vast selection of soft corals and hard corals alike. There is great diving and snorkeling opportunity. The taking of marine turtles was completely stopped in 1994, turtle populations are now recovering on several protected islands, most notably Cousin Island, Aride Island, Silhouette Island and Aldabra. However, they continue to decline at unprotected sites. The use of gill nets for shark fishing as well as the practice of shark finning are now banned.



text taken from wikipedia

Reactions:

5 comments:

Seychellen said...

Nice pictures from
Seychelles

ITC Classics said...

Great! pictures! Seychelles holidays are surely awesome.

ITC Classics said...

Great! pictures! Seychelles holidays are surely awesome.

ITC Classics said...

Great! pictures! Seychelles holidays are surely awesome.

Luxury Traveler said...

Wow! What an Amazing island. Seychelles holidays are sure is awesome!

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

 
Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | GreenGeeks Review