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lauantai 28. marraskuuta 2015

Seychelles, Cool Facts #81

<= 80. Vanuatu                                                                                                            82. Monaco => 



1. Pirates of Seychelles 

One of the biggest pirate legends was born around Seychelles archipelago as the famous pirate chief Oliver de Vasseur threw a necklace containing a cryptogram of 17 lines about the location of his hidden treasure before he was executed. The value of the treasure is estimated to be over 1 Billion dollars.

Vasseur started looting ships in West Africa but from 1720 he started launching raids close to the coast of Madagascar. His other eye got totally blind and as a result of that he started using an eyepatch, which is nowadays one of the most prominent features in pirates in popular culture. Vasseur and his shipmates made a lot of money raiding ships in the Indian Ocean.

Vasseur refused the amnesty of France because the government wanted a big part of the stolen loot back, which made Vasseur to settle at Seychelles archipelago. Vasseur was eventually captured near Madagascar and hanged for piracy in 1730 but people still remain searching for his treasure.



Vasseur cryptogram


2. France and Britain 

Seychelles was a French colony from 1756 until 1814, when the islands were handed to Great Britain after the Napoleon Wars had ended in a French defeat. The French had established cinnamon and cocoa plantations and imported African slaves to work there. 

The British were ready to return Seychelles back to France if the French would have abandon their plans in India, which the British were conquering at the time. The French refused and so the British kept Mauritius and Seychelles and ruled these islands together before the year 1903 when Seychelles was separated into its own colonial unit. Finally in 1976 Seychelles gained independence from Great Britain. 





3. Story behind the name

In 1756 France started to rule Seychelles from Mauritius. Ludvig XV was the French king at the time and the Seychelles islands were actually named after the king's controller-general of finances. His name was Jean Moreau de Séchelles. Jean Moreau was a French official and politician who had been already as the intendant of Hainaut, Lille and Flanders.

Jean Moreau had become an honorary member of the French Academy of Sciences in 1755 and in 1756 when the Seychelles islands were ceded to the French East India Company, they were named in his honor.

Jean Moreau de Séchelles

4. Highest GDP in Africa 

When the Portuguese arrived at Seychelles in the 1500s, they thought they had arrived at the Garden of Eden. Seychelles can be seen as a real Garden of Eden with its beautiful nature and relatively high living standards on African scale. 

The overwhelmingly most important source of revenue is tourism and the tourism sector employs one third of the population. Fishing is the other major source of revenue. 

Seychelles has the highest GDP per capita in Africa and the second highest after Equatorial Guinea if you measure the GDP at purchasing power parity which takes in account the living costs in the country. 
2011 GDP



5. Amazing nature 

About 50% of the Seychellois territory consists of nature reservations. Thus Seychelles is among the leading countries of the world in nature conservation. The beautiful islands of Seychelles consist of 115 islands in an area of over million square meters in the Indian Ocean, from these 33 are inhabited and the rest uninhabited.

Flora and Fauna found in Seychelles 

75 endemic plants
Seychelles black parrot
Coco de mer aka "love nut" 
Jellyfish tree (Medusagynaceae 
Wright's gardenia (Rothmannia annae) 
Aldabra giant tortoise


Coco de Mer
Wright's Gardenia
Aldabra Giant Tortoise
Mahe island

Timeline

1502 Portuguese Vasco da Gama with his crew sails to the area as the first Europeans
1609 Captain Sharpeigh lands on the Seychelles
1756 France claimed the islands for themselves and started ruling them from Mauritius
1814 After Napoleon wars the Seychelles became a British colony ruled together with Mauritius
1903 Seychelles becomes a separate colony from Mauritius
1960s The Seychellois start demanding for independence under the SPUP party
1976 Seychelles becomes independent, James Mancham is the first president and France Albert Rene the prime minister
1977 Mancham is overthrown from power by Rene's followers. Rene becomes the president and declares Seychelles as a socialist single-party state
1981 A coup attempt against president Rene
1991 Seychelles returns to multi party system
2004 The tsunami caused a lot of damage in Seychelles
2013 Tropical cyclone Felleng causes a state of emergency in Seychelles

Sources:
"Maailman maat liput ja historia" by Kimmo Kiljunen
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seychelles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivier_Levasseur

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