Thursday, 13 September 2012

History of Seychelles

Seychelles is a comparatively young nation which can trace its first settlement back to 1770 when the islands were first settled by the French, leading a small party of whites, Indians and Africans. The islands remained in French hands until the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, evolving from humble beginnings to attain a population of 3,500 by the time Seychelles was ceded to Britain under the treaty of Paris in 1814.

During this period Seychelles came to know the enlightened policies of administrators such as Pierre Poivre, the brilliant politicking of Governor Queau de Quinssy and, of course, the terrible repercussions of the French Revolution.

Under the British, Seychelles achieved a population of some 7,000 by the year 1825. Important estates were established during this time producing coconut, food crops, cotton and sugar cane. During this period Seychelles also saw the establishment of Victoria as her capital, the exile of numerous and colourful troublemakers from the Empire, the devastation caused by the famous Avalanche of 1862 and the economic repercussions of the abolition of slavery.

Seychelles achieved independence from Britain in 1976 and became a republic within the commonwealth. Following a period of single party rule by the government of Mr. France Albert René, on December 4, 1991, President René announced a return to the multiparty system of government, 1993 saw the first multiparty presidential and legislative elections held under a new constitution in which President René was victorious. President René also won the 1998 and 2003 elections before transferring the Presidency to James Alix Michel in June 2004.


A chronology of key events:

1502 - Portugal's Vasco da Gama explores the Seychelles.

1768 - French planters and their slaves begin settling in the Seychelles.

1794 - Britain annexes the Seychelles, which are then administered from Mauritius.

1903 - Seychelles become a separate British colony.

1948 - First elections to a legislative council take place.

1964 - First political parties are formed: France Albert Rene's socialist Seychelles People's United Party and James Mancham's pro-business Seychelles Democratic Party.

1966, 1970 - The Seychelles Democratic Party wins legislative elections.

1976 - Seychelles become independent and are governed by a coalition, with James Mancham as president and France Rene as prime minister.

1977 - Rene's supporters stage a coup against Mancham ostensibly without Rene's knowledge; Rene installed as president.

1978 - Rene enacts a new constitution, turning the Seychelles into a one-party state.

1981 - South African-based mercenaries try but fail to restore Mancham to power.

1982 - Army mutiny thwarted.

1991 - President Rene restores multiparty democracy.

1993, 1998 - Rene re-elected in multiparty ballots.

1998 - Rene's Seychelles Progressive People's Front wins 30 out of 34 seats in parliamentary elections.

2001 September - President Rene wins another term in office with 54% of the votes, beating opposition candidate Wavel Ramkalawan who won 45% of the votes.

2002 December - President Rene's Seychelles Progressive People's Front wins parliamentary elections, but the opposition Seychelles National Party increases its presence from one to 11 seats.

2003 July - Economic reforms are introduced under which Seychelles will pull out of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and close three diplomatic missions.

2004 April - President Rene steps down, replaced by former vice president James Michel.

2006 July - President Michel wins presidential race.

2006 October - Parliament bans political or religious organisations from running radio stations, sparking a rare outbreak of unrest.

2007 May - The ruling SPPF wins early elections. They were brought forward after opposition MPs boycotted parliament over moves to ban political parties from owning radio stations.