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History of Seychelles

From Academic Kids

The Seychelles islands remained uninhabited for more than 150 years after they became known to Western explorers. The island appeared on Portuguese charts as early 1505, although Arabs may have visited them much earlier. In 1742, the French Governor of Mauritius, Bertrand François Mahé de La Bourdonnais, sent an expedition to the islands. A second expedition in 1756 reasserted formal possession by France and gave the islands their present name in honor of the French finance minister under King Louis XV. The new French colony barely survived its first decade and did not begin to flourish until 1794, when Jean-Baptiste Quéau de Quincy became commandant.

The Seychelles islands were captured and freed several times during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, then passed officially to the British under the Treaty of Paris (1814) . From the date of its founding by the French until 1903, the Seychelles Colony was regarded as a dependency of Mauritius, which also passed from the French to British rule in 1814.

In 1888, a separate administrator and executive and administrative councils were established for the Seychelles archipelago. Nine years later, the administrator acquired full powers of a British colonial governor, and on August 31, 1903, Seychelles became a separate British Crown colony.

In March 1970, colonial and political representatives of Seychelles met in London for a constitutional convention, with the Seychelles Democratic Party (SDP)of James Mancham advocating closer integration with the UK, and the Seychelles People's United Party (SPUP) of France-Albert René advocating independence. Elections in November 1970 brought a new constitution into effect, with Mancham as Chief Minister. Further elections were held in April 1974, in which both major political parties campaigned for independence. Following this election, negotiations with the British resulted in an agreement under which the Seychelles became an independent republic within the Commonwealth on June 29, 1976. The newly knighted Sir James Mancham became the country's first President, with René as Prime Minister. These negotiations also restored the islands of Aldabra, Farquhar, and Des Roches, which had been transferred from Seychelles in November 1965 to form part of the new British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) to Seychelles upon independence.

On June 5, 1977, a coup d'etat saw Mancham deposed while overseas, and René became President. The Seychelles became a one-party state, with the SPUP beoming the Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF).

In 1981, the country experienced a failed coup attempt by Mike Hoare and a team of mercenaries. An international commission, appointed by the UN Security Council in 1982, concluded that South African defence agencies had been involved in the attempted takeover, including supplying weapons and ammunition.

Socialist rule was brought to a close with a new constitution and free elections in 1993.

See also : Seychelles
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