Zanboza, guesthouse, self-catering, La Digue, Seychelles

Seychelles history

Seychelles history, l'époque pré-coloniale

The pre-colonial times

Because they are located too far from busy roads navigations, it is almost certain that the Seychelles were not visited by the first Persian and Arab sailors who sailed in the Indian Ocean around the Asian ribs, Persian Gulf, North Africa and the Red sea. However, there is no doubt that they were much later the first visitors of the Seychelles, long before his "discovery". The merchant Al Mas'eudi who regularly visited the Maldives in the fourteenth century spoke in his writings the "high islands" that were on the road. The discovery of graves in 1910 confirmed the presence of Arab sailors on the island. In documents of the fourteenth century and the fifteenth century, the Seychelles appear under the name of Zarin, sisters.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to venture into the Indian Ocean. In 1498, Vasco da Gama passed the Cape of Good Hope and is the first European to reach India - with the help of an Arab navigator. In 1502, during a second trip to India, Vasco da Gama reached the islands which belong today to Seychelles. From 1506, the Seychelles starting to appear under different names on Portuguese maps. It is therefore likely that the Portuguese have moved several times in these islands and have possibly stopped. There is no evidence to suppose that they founded colonies, the islands for their foremost source of food supply, for example with the giant tortoises. With the help of Arab navigators, the Portuguese explored the region: Madagascar, the Comoros, Reunion and Mauritius.

From the sixteenth century the English began to sail in the Indian Ocean. In 1609, an expedition of the British Indian Ocean Company landed on the islands which now bear the name of Mahé, Sainte Anne Island North, Praslin and Silhouette. They stayed a week with the certainty of being the first to set foot on.

From the seventeenth century and the eighteenth century, the French and the Dutch sailing turn in the Indian Ocean. The French have a first fortified base on the tip of Madagascar to Fort Dauphin, and soon on the island of Bourbon, now Reunion. From that time, the English merchant ships, French and Dutch intersect more and more regularly in the region, attracted by the lure of gain, piracy grows. We found traces of pirates pass on Frégate Island and Mahé.


Seychelles history, Seychelles under French occupation

Seychelles under French occupation

In 1735 the French, who are present in Reunion and Mauritius, decide to fortify their settlements. This is under the direction of Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais. To ensure the security of French positions in India, it appears to him necessary to take possession of the northern islands on the route to India: Current Seychelles. In 1742, he sent two boats in recognition of the islands headed by the commander Lazare Picault. With his men, he landed 21 November 1742 on the island today named Mahé. Hardly has he made his report in La Bourdonnais that he returns to the island to explore it further. Then they baptize the archipelago "Islands of La Bourdonnais" and the largest of its islands Mahe.

Despite the enthusiastic portrait that stands Picault Island, twelve years it takes before the French coming back. The successor to La Bourdonnais sends a shipment to Mahé in 1756 to seize the island and stop at the same time the English from landing there. It was at this time that the island changes its name for being named after the finance minister of Louis XV, Jean Moreau de Séchelles. Once again, the French are content to land and burn the French arms in stone before leaving the island that is not visited for twelve years. The maritime war that led French and English thwarts any proposed settlement. From 1768 shipments regularly allow to have a good knowledge of the island.

The first permanent settlement was built in 1770 under the command of the Brayer Barre St. Anne. The evidence is rapidly that the island was very favorable for agriculture and life in general. In 1771, a second colony is established on Mahé. It seems however that these early settlers had never wished to permanently establish the Seychelles and Mauritius as soon they return to their contract expired. Apart from a few exceptions, such as plantations Mr. Hangard or Ms. Larue, no attempt is thriving colony and settlers are content to live by hunting and cueillette1. In addition, they cut down the giant tortoises by the thousands to sell as provisions to the crews that call. In 1778, Lt. Romainville is sent with fifteen soldiers to end this disastrous situation. Troops build the first buildings of what is now the Victoria Harbour.

At that time, the Seychelles life follows a relatively simple model. The Incident Commander is the Governor General who represents himself King in Mauritius. In 1788, the island has to "inhabitants" thirty French reigning supreme over 200 slaves. They live trade products with the crews and agriculture: rice, cassava, corn and all kinds of vegetables as well as cotton, coffee and indigo.

June 19, 1790, after the news of the Revolution peddled by boat reached the Seychelles, settlers formulate some claims from the "new" constitution of 30 July 1787. This is the first application (modest) independence vis-à-vis the Mauritian government of the island. But the desire for independence end with the visit of the Commissioners of the King and Yvon Gautier Mahe July 30, 1791 which reaffirmed the authority of the ruler of the island and its inhabitants. A new governor was appointed, Jean-Baptiste Quéau of Quinssy, which administers the island according to the interests of the court. This same governor, however, must be at the service of the Republic after the proclamation of the Republic in France September 21, 1792.

From this period, the Seychelles became the pirates ship harbor parking charge of chasing British ships in the Indian Ocean. After they took control most of the wealth of India, they need to secure the sea route. The first attack against the Seychelles on 16 May 1794. Quinssy, which has a total of 60 guns, has no chance to defend the island against the 1200 soldiers of the British commander Newcome. The capitulation signed the day after the attack guarantees the French maintain their possessions and their administration. The English did not remain long on the island and it was not until the Napoleonic defeats of 1811 they take possession.

Between 1800 and 1810 the population increased from 2 000 to 4 000, mainly composed of slaves deported with violence on the island from Black Africa. To them are added in slightly lower number of immigrants from India, Europe and Madagascar. During this prosperous period, the trade since Victoria is developing rapidly, colonial products selling well in Europe. Agriculture and fishing are also flourishing. The slaves obviously not benefit from this period of prosperity. In the early years of the nineteenth century Quinssy sets up a small administration and a civil court.


Seychelles history, Seychelles under british occupation

Seychelles under british occupation

Sent by the British king, Barthelemy Sullivan takes the place of Seychelles Quinssy as governor April 21, 1811. The king of France formally cedes Seychelles and Mauritius to the British on May 30, 1814. The main change brought British sovereignty is abolition of slavery in 1812. It was not until 1836 that the ban is effectively implemented on all islands of the archipelago. At that time, among the 7500 inhabitants of the island, there are more than 6600 slaves, 2231 Creoles, Africans 4000, 300 Malagasy and 40 Hindus. Freed slaves working since as "apprentices" against low wages. From 1839 they won the right to decide whether they prefer to continue working for their employer or start their own. Many are content to food crops and many large plantations périclitent. However, their overall situation is improving. A number of farmers are content to live compensation they received for the release of their slaves. It develops a population of fishermen, artisans and small farmers.

In the following years, the economic situation deteriorates: the British administration, to ensure the prohibition of slavery, forced all trade to go through Mauritius, competition of American agriculture and Mauritian arises and owners earthlings lack of manpower.

Unlike the people of Mauritius, the Seychelles are not allowed to bring Hindu workers, coolies, and must be content with the workforce on site. They compensate for this by developing the culture of coconut to export coconut oil. The economic situation remains very precarious and the population dropped to 5,500 inhabitants.

Despite British sovereignty and the oath of allegiance to George III of the United Kingdom, the population is still Catholic and French at heart. She sees all the more evil the arrival of the first Anglican priest on the island in 1832. A Catholic mission was founded September 20, 1853 with the support of the population and despite the reluctance of the governor. In February 1854 5000 Seychellois are baptized.

October 12, 1862 held the only natural disaster experienced by the île2: a landslide - known today as the Seychelles Creole name Lavalas - made a hundred dead and carries 30,000 palm trees. This disaster is followed by the last great wave of immigration. Arab and European slave ships intercepted by the British navy were taken to Victoria. The slaves are freed and assigned a plot of land on the island. Between 1860 and 1874 coming this way about 3000 new inhabitants. Just as Maurice, the opening of the Suez Canal promotes the economy, the island becoming much easier to reach from Europe. Seychelles exporting coconut oil, but also vanilla, cocoa, coffee and cloves.

This wave of immigration followed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century by the regular arrival of African opponents to British imperialism, whose king Prempe Ghana, and the Unvanga Bunjoro kings Uganda current, Sultan Mahmud Ali of Somalia and Egyptian Prime Minister Saad Zaghoul Pascha. At the end of the nineteenth century were built the first hospital and the first hotel. Moreover, it is now possible to telegraph to London via Zanzibar. The economy is booming and the population is 20 000 inhabitants in 1900.


Seychelles history, To independence

To independence

As in Mauritius, the First World War is an isolation period of economic recession and increased poverty. In 1916, a military contingent of 796 men engage alongside the Allies in Africa. The return to normal in 1919 lasted only ten years: the 1929 crisis has hit exports and the Seychelles must wait until the end of World War II to see the economy really start. During the war, 900 young Seychellois fighting in North Africa under the British uniform. After the war, Britain leads through the new governor Sir Selwyn Clark-year plan to develop irrigation, fisheries, forestry and build new housing. But wages remain extremely low and the balance of trade deficit sharply, the price of export commodities is very low and that of manufactured imports high. Supported from the outside, the Seychelles economy is recovering gradually.

In 1964, both parties were created: the Seychelles Democratic Party (SDP) and the Seychelles Peoples United Party (SPUP) whose orientations are opposite. While the SDP seeks to integrate the best Seychelles in the British Empire and ensure full citizenship to Seychellois, the SPUP immediately shows the objective of obtaining the independence of the island. Since the end of the war, a representative assembly is involved in decisions of the governor. During the elections of November 1970, the SDP gets 52.4% of votes and, thanks to the voting system, twice as many seats as the SPUP. James Mancham became premier of the governor. The 1974 elections brought a similar result and Seychelles in 1975 obtained the status of "autonomous colony". The two parties forged a coalition and the island became independent 29 June 19763: Mancham became president and his opponent, France-Albert René, Prime Minister of the new Republic. Contrary to its original line, the SDP eventually fight as SPUP for independence. But the coalition is short-lived: in favor of a move abroad Mancham René seized power by a coup. Therefore, in the context of a single party, he leads a socialist-inspired policies. Under pressure from the international community, political pluralism was reintroduced in 1992. The former Vice President of René, James Michel, became president 14 April 2004 and was re-elected to that office on 31 July 2006.

Contact