The Seychelles archipelago is best known for its gorgeous beaches, crystal clear sea, long sunny days and picture-postcard scenery. Most tourists come here to discover this splendid setting. But they are not the only attractions of the country. This little paradise camped in the heart of the Indian Ocean can also surprise you with its history, traditions and rich culture. Do you want to know the Seychelles and its mixed-race people better? A short stay in the archipelago is a must!
The Birth of an Independent Country
The Seychelles’ history began more than 250 million years ago. According to history, the country has settled in a territory of granite origin. Until the 16th century, it was a wild land. The first men to discover this territory were Arab sailors. They talked about the archipelago in the year 851. Since then, the archipelago is no longer an unknown place.
Seychelles and pirates
In 1502, a Portuguese navigator named Vasco de Gama set the anchor to the Admiralty. Later, the Portuguese headed for India stopped there occasionally to get their supplies.
The Seychelles was on the trade routes of ships that would trade with India.
In 1609, the English landed on a British East India Company boat. They landed at Mahé. Then came the French, the Dutch, and many other large countries.
The commercial boat movement attracted pirates and privateers. Many ships were attacked. The buccaneers then came to the Seychelles to hide their treasures. Spanish pirate La Buse and French privateer Jean-François Hodoul were among the most famous at the time.
Legends have it that the treasures of the ancient pirates are still hidden somewhere in the Seychelles archipelago. In the 18th century, traces of pirate establishments were found on the islands of Frégate and Mahé.
Seychelles and colonization
In 1742, France led an expedition to the Seychelles to secure the arrival of its merchant ships in India. At the time, Governor Bertrand François Mahé de la Bourdonnais moved to present-day Mauritius.
Two years later, Commander Lazarre Picault set out to explore the archipelago and named it Mahé in honour of the governor. It was in 1756 that the name “Seychelles” was born thanks to La Bourdonnais’s successor.
The name of a minister of Louis XV, Jean Moreau de Séchelles, inspired the latter. Shipments gradually faded.
In 1770, France decided to colonise the archipelago and practised slavery there. His goal was to exploit the country’s natural resources, including turtles. At the time, the population of Seychelles was 250, including 200 black slaves.
Faced with pirates and privateers’ attacks, the English invaded Mahé in 1794. That said, they have left the governance of the archipelago to France. Between 1800 and 1810, the population doubled. It went from 2000 to 4000 and was mostly made up of slaves.
With their workers, they have contributed to the development of agriculture and fisheries. The Seychelles was then a prosperous land. In 1811, Britain decided to take full power.
War broke out. In 1814, the English managed to push back the French. The King of France officially ceded the archipelago to England on May 30, 1814.
The Seychelles has been seriously concerned about the economy. The fall in cotton prices was the cause. In addition, slavery was abolished, reducing the number of workers. For your information, the law was passed in London in 1833.
However, the archipelago has gradually regained its slope thanks to the cultivation of coconut trees. After the first world War and the financial crisis of 1929, the archipelago was again in chaos.
True, Britain has done some irrigation and other economic projects, such as logging. But none of this has lifted living standards.
The situation has inflamed their anger. Several groups of individuals have decided to claim independence.
Declaration of Independence
At midnight on June 29, 1976, the Seychelles archipelago was granted Commonwealth status as an independent republic.
A mixture of cultures
The culture of the Seychelles is not to be overlooked, but it is just as mixed as its people. Indeed, it is a mixture of African, European, British, and Asian traditions. That is why she is particularly wealthy.
This melting pot is reflected in the Seychellois way of life. For example, they inherited a passion for tea from the British. It’s one of their favourite drinks. In this archipelago, the population also uses several languages. Apart from Seychelles Creole, there are English and French.
The Seychellois are pleasant people. They’re nice and smiling. They are also festive people. Young people go to the beaches every evening to dance and drink.
When you go to a restaurant in the Seychelles, the waiters hope to get a tip. The amount varies depending on the setting. If you are used to going out at night, you should know that restaurants are often closed at 8:00 pm. So we’ll have to get there a little bit earlier.
The local architecture
In terms of architecture, the Seychelles has a rich heritage. Indeed, some buildings that put the colonial era into practice are still visible in the country. One example is the Kenvyn House in Victoria. Listed as a national monument, it was erected in 1855 and served as the home of Chief Medical Officer Dr James Brooks.
There is also the Grande Kaz de l’Union Estate on the island of La Digue. It was built in the 19th century by an Iranian trader.
It highlights the colonial past. But it also has a functional aspect. Most homes in the Seychelles have sloping roofs that help clear rainwater and allow natural ventilation. Often made of wood, they also have a large door.
Art and music
Sega dominates the musical landscape of the Seychellois. It is an authentic and traditional rhythm that will make you dance. Le Moutia, a music associated with sensual dance, is also added to the list of Seychellois musical heritage. Don’t forget the Kanmtole. It is the ballet of Europe that recalls medieval times. The music is played with violins, banjos and triangles.
As mentioned earlier, Seychelles Independence Day is celebrated every 19 June. It’s a big event where families get together. During the day, they are used to picnicking and in the evening, there are fireworks!
It is also a mixed cuisine highlighting Asian, Indian, African, French and British culinary art. Most dishes are based on rice and fish. But what is especially famous for Creole cuisine is the spicy and spicy sauces that accompany each dish.
The archipelago’s markets
The markets are very lively in the Seychelles. Just visit them if you want to discover the joie de vivre of the Creole people. In addition, you can make many discoveries. Flagship products include hats, spices and herbs.
You will also find artisan products of stunning beauty, such as wooden replicas of various aquatic species. They can be used as souvenirs. Don’t forget the ‘Coco Fesse’. It is a coconut tree, a palm tree that only exists in the Seychelles. As its name suggests, it looks like a buttock. Coco Fesse is renowned for its therapeutic virtues. Know that it is a protected product. If you intend to return with this fruit, you must apply for an export permit or certificate.
For art lovers, the Seychelles also has talented artists. In local markets, you can find galleries that sell paintings.
Discover the history and culture of the Seychelles in a new way
To discover all the tourist attractions of the Seychelles, you have to stay a long time. A short stay of one or two weeks will not be enough. This archipelago is full of natural, cultural and historical treasures. Few people can take a long trip to discover a country. But there is a solution!
If your stay in Seychelles is short, there is a way to make it unforgettable and rewarding: take a catamaran cruise. On board this small, fast and comfortable boat, you can tour a few islands in a few days. At each stop, you can take the time to learn about the Indigenous way of life and their cultures.
But at the same time, you can have fun with big game fishing sessions, small scuba diving sessions or even a bit of swimming in salt water.
Are you attracted to the idea? We offer an affordable catamaran rental service with a skipper. The advantage of travelling with us is that you will have the right to develop your tour.
The skipper at your disposal will guide you to the most surprising places taking into account your desires, of course. You should also know that by taking advantage of our catamaran cruise with Skipper, you can appreciate the richness of Creole culinary art. Indeed, a cook will accompany you during the adventure. He is familiar with Seychellois gastronomy and local dishes.