The Seychelles archipelago is best known for its sublime beaches, crystal clear sea, long sunny days and postcard landscapes. Most tourists go there to discover this splendid scenery. However, these are not the only attractions of the country. Know that this small paradise in the heart of the Indian Ocean can also surprise you with its history, traditions and rich culture. Do you want to get to know the Seychelles and its mixed people better? A short stay in the archipelago is essential!
The birth of an independent country
The history of Seychelles began more than 250 million years ago. According to history, the country settled on 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 existence of the archipelago in the year 851. Since then, the archipelago was no longer an unknown place.
Seychelles and pirates
In 1502, a Portuguese navigator named Vasco de Gama dropped anchor at the Amirantes. Thereafter, the Portuguese bound for India would stop there from time to time to get supplies.
In fact, Seychelles was on the trade routes of the ships that will trade with India.
In 1609, the British landed on board a ship of the English East India Company. They landed in Mahé. Then it was the turn of the French, the Dutch and many other great countries.
The movement of merchant ships attracted pirates and privateers. Many ships were attacked. The freebooters then came to Seychelles to hide their treasures. Among the most famous at the time were the Spanish pirate La Buse and the French privateer Jean-François Hodoul.
Some legends say that the treasures of the pirates of yesteryear are still hidden somewhere in the Seychelles archipelago. It also happens that in the 18th century, traces of pirate settlements were found on the islands of Frigate and Mahé.
Seychelles and colonization
In 1742, to ensure the arrival of its merchant ships in India, France led an expedition to the Seychelles. At that time, Governor Bertrand François Mahé de la Bourdonnais came to settle in 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 and it was thanks to the successor of La Bourdonnais.
The latter was inspired by the name of a minister of Louis XV, Jean Moreau de Séchelles. The expeditions gradually faded away.
In 1770, France decided to colonize the archipelago and practiced slavery there. Its objective was to exploit the country’s natural resources, particularly turtles. At that time, the Seychelles population numbered 250 individuals, including 200 black slaves.
Faced with attacks from pirates and privateers, the British decided to invade Mahé in 1794. That said, they left the governance of the archipelago to France. Between 1800 and 1810, the number of inhabitants doubled. It went from 2000 to 4000 and was composed mainly of slaves.
With their workforce, they have contributed to the development of agriculture and fisheries. Seychelles was then a prosperous land. In 1811, England decided to take full power.
War broke out. In 1814, the English succeeded in repelling the French. The King of France officially ceded control of the archipelago to England on May 30, 1814.
Seychelles has been hit by a serious economic crisis. The decline in cotton prices was at issue. In addition, there was also the abolition of slavery, which led to a decline in the workforce. For information, the law was passed in London in 1833.
But the archipelago has gradually recovered the slope, thanks to the cultivation of coconut trees. Following the first world wars and the 1929 financial crisis, the archipelago was once again in chaos.
Certainly, Britain has carried out irrigation works and various economic projects such as forestry. But all this has not led to an improvement in the population’s standard of living.
The situation has fuelled their anger. Several groups of individuals have decided to claim independence.
Declaration of independence
On 29 June 1976, at midnight, the Seychelles archipelago was granted the status of an independent republic within the Commonwealth.
A mix of cultures
If we have to talk about Seychelles’ culture, it is just as mixed as its population. Indeed, it is a mixture of African, European, British and Asian traditions. That is why it is particularly rich.
About the lifestyle
This melting pot is reflected in the Seychelles’ way of life. For example, they inherited from the British the passion for tea. It’s one of their favorite drinks. In this archipelago, the population also uses several languages. Apart from Seychelles Creole, there are English and French.
The Seychelles are pleasant people. They are kind and smiling. They are also festive people. Every evening, the young people go to the beaches to dance and have a drink.
When you go to the restaurant in the Seychelles, be aware that the waiters expect to receive a tip. The amount varies according to the framework. If you are used to night outings, you should know that restaurants are often closed at 8pm. So we will have to go there a little earlier.
Seychelles has a rich architectural heritage. Indeed, some buildings that put the colonial period into practice are still visible in the country. Kenvyn House in Victoria is one of them. Classified as a national monument, it was erected in 1855 and served as the residence of Chief of Staff Dr. James Brooks.
We must also mention the Grande Kaz of the Union Estate on the island of La Digue. It was built in the 19th century by an Iranian merchant.
It highlights the colonial past. But it also has a functional aspect. Most houses in the Seychelles have sloped roofs that facilitate rainwater drainage and allow natural ventilation. Often made of wood, they also have a large door.
Art and music
The Sega dominates the musical landscape of the Seychelles. It is an authentic rhythm and a traditional dance that will make you wiggle. Moutia, music associated with sensual dance, is also added to the list of Seychelles’ musical heritage. We must not forget the Kanmtole. It is the ballet of Europe that recalls the medieval period. The music is played with violins, banjos and triangles.
The National Day
As previously reported, Seychelles Independence Day is celebrated every 19 June. It’s a great event during which families get together. During the day, they usually have a picnic and in the evening, they have fireworks!
It is also a mixed cuisine that highlights Asian, Indian, African, French and British culinary art. Most of the dishes are made with rice and fish. But what makes the reputation of Creole cuisine above all is its spicy and spicy sauces that go with every dish.
The markets of the archipelago
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 there. Hats, spices and aromatic herbs are among the main products.
You will also find handcrafted products of striking beauty such as wooden replicas of various aquatic species. They can be used as souvenir items. Don’t forget the “Coco Buttock”. It is a sea coconut tree, a species of palm tree that only exists in the Seychelles. As its name suggests, it has the appearance of a buttock. The Coco Buttock is renowned for its therapeutic properties. Please note that it is a protected product. If you intend to bring this fruit home, you will need to apply for an export permit or certificate.
For art lovers, 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 different way
To discover all the tourist attractions of the Seychelles, you have to stay there for a long time. A short stay of one or two weeks will not be enough. This archipelago contains many natural, cultural and historical treasures. However, few people can travel long distances just to discover a country. But there is a solution!
If your stay in the Seychelles is short, there is a way to make it unforgettable and enriching: take a catamaran cruise. On board this small, fast and comfortable boat, you can sail around a few islands in just a few days. At each of your stops, you can take the time to discover the Aboriginal way of life and cultures.
But at the same time, you can have fun with big game fishing sessions, short scuba diving sessions or a little swimming in salt water.
Does the idea appeal to you? We offer you a catamaran rental service with skipper at an affordable price. The advantage of travelling with us is that you will have the right to develop your own 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 Seychelles cuisine and local dishes.