The Seychelles (Say-shells) are 115 islands and islets that stretch
thousands of miles across the equator in the Indian Ocean, north
of Madagascar and east of Kenya. The French raised their flag here
in 1756, naming the archipelago after Louis XV’s Finance Minister,
Jan Seychelles. After Napoleon’s defeat and the Treaty of Paris
(1814), the Seychelles became a British possession. Independence
came in 1976. The effectiveness of the French missionaries, however,
lives on as 90% of Seychelleons today are Roman Catholic. Pineapples,
coconuts, breadfruit, mangoes and bananas abound, with copra and
cinnamon being chief exports and tourism, the chief source of income.
Having been isolated from the rest of the world for so long, the
islands are home to many species of plants and animals found no
where else on earth. Mahe is the largest island and the only one
with a town, which is Victoria, the neat and orderly capitol (photo).
Spice gardens yield fragrant cinnamon, nutmeg and tea (photo). Endless
white sugar sand beaches stretch out beneath the towering granite
cliffs of the Morne Mountains (photo). Palm trees reach over the
water so that their coconuts may fall into the surf to be carried
to another beach to set root (photo). Extravagantly lush tropical
ferns shade giant tortoises from the sun in an equatorial land of
enchantment where it is always “a long hot summer”.