The article is not for a school essay, but for those planning their vacation in Seychelles. Below you’ll find the history of Seychelles, the most essential and useful information. This information will help you better prepare for your trip. You will learn about the legacy left by Europeans, about the former colonies of Seychelles.

History of Seychelles before the era of great geographical discoveries

Let me clarify; for those interested in details, feel free to read Wikipedia. I won’t rewrite it but will highlight historical stages that will help you better understand Seychelles and be useful during your travels.

Historians today are unsure of the exact time and by whom Seychelles was discovered. However, they all agree it was approximately 1000 years ago. The first people to set foot on the islands were Arab traders.

Interesting to know:

In an Arabic manuscript from 915 AD, there’s a mention of islands in the Indian Ocean. It’s highly probable that it refers to Seychelles, according to today’s historians. Or perhaps the Maldives 🙂

History of Seychelles Islands: Colonization by Portugal and France

However, when the islands were first discovered by Europeans, Seychelles’ history is clear.

Interesting to know:

Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, during his 1502 expedition to India around Africa, first discovered the Seychelles islands. Since then, the islands appeared on European maps.

Key points to know:

  • At the time of the Portuguese discovery, the islands were entirely uninhabited.
  • Nevertheless, they had secluded bays, freshwater to replenish provisions, and a rich flora and fauna. All this is detailed in the article via the link.
history of seychelles
The initial explorers on the islands discovered a colony of giant land tortoises (particularly on Aldabra Island). Hence their name – Seychelles tortoises. Today, they freely roam some islands. In the photo – on La Digue Island.
  • But the Portuguese were more interested in India, and the islands remained unexplored and uninhabited for almost 280 years!

Interesting fact:

As Seychelles lay on the trade route from Europe to India, and the Suez Canal hadn’t yet been built, Seychelles became a base for pirates who robbed trade ships and hid on uninhabited islands. To this day, many local legends circulate about pirate treasures supposedly still hidden on the archipelago’s islands.

Only in middle of 18th century did the French land the first group of settlers, dispatching two warships. The primary goals of the initial colony were to secure the trade route to India from pirates and commence the cultivation of exotic spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.


Seychelles had no indigenous inhabitants as the islands were uninhabited before settlement began in the 19th century by immigrants from India, Africa, and those fleeing slavery, including those from Mauritius. This mixing of nations gave rise to the Creole people – the primary population in Seychelles today. Read all about the Creoles, their attitudes toward tourists, languages spoken, crime rates, and more in the linked article.

Seychelles’ history as a colony of France lasted only 44 years.

Seychelles: British Empire Colony

Seychelles’ transition under British rule was quite amusing. Here’s how events unfolded:

  • In 1794 (remember, at that time Seychelles was a French colony since 1770) – a squadron of British warships approached Mahe Island.
  • The French governor of the island unconditionally surrendered to the British and pledged allegiance to the British crown, agreeing to pay all taxes to Britain.
  • However, as soon as the British departed, he lowered the British flag and hoisted the French flag. Seychelles continued to be a French colony, even though the British believed they already owned the islands.

And now, for a bit of laughter:

This scenario repeated seven times. The British arrived, the governor surrendered, but as soon as they left, he raised the French flag again. Only in 1814 did the British leave their observer and a military frigate in Seychelles. It’s 1814 that is considered the year when Seychelles became a British colony.
seychelles history
The center of Seychelles’ capital: English colonial buildings and a mini Big Ben. Whose influence do you think led to the construction of all this?

Seychelles remained a British colony for over 160 years until 1975. Then, Queen Elizabeth II granted partial independence to the country: internal affairs were self-governed, while Britain retained control over foreign policy.

However, a year later, on June 29, 1976, Seychelles began its independent history. The Seychelles Republic was established, gaining complete independence from England. So, Seychelles’ history as an independent state on the world map spans only about 50 years. Find more fascinating facts about Seychelles in the linked article.

Seychelles History: Interesting Information for Travelers

I’ll tell you what Seychelles inherited from Europeans, establish a connection, and much will become clearer to you.

Nothing remained from the Portuguese. Though they discovered the islands, they did nothing more.

The first settlers and explorers of Seychelles were the French.

  • As a result, all mountains, beaches, bays bear French names: Beau Vallon, Anse Major, Petite Anse, Morne Blanc mountain, and so on.
  • The archipelago got its name in 1759 from a French official at the court of Louis XV – Jean Moreau de Séchelles.

Today, Seychelles officially has three official languages: Creole, English, and French. Local residents often speak all three. Even children speak English fluently. All about the language in Seychelles, what tourists need to know, advice, and life hacks can be found in the article.

seychelles colony
The technological progress in Seychelles’ history is closely tied to England and its rule over the islands.

The English didn’t alter the names after establishing their authority. They only renamed the main city in Mahe and named it after their queen – Victoria. Actually, the capital still bears her name today. An overview of Victoria, what to see, shops, the market, free parking, and the ferry terminal.

During the British rule, Seychelles’ history entered an era of global technological progress. It was a time when the internal combustion engine was invented, the first high-quality roads and automobiles appeared, and the widespread implementation of electricity began. By the time the country gained independence from Britain, they had:

  • Left-hand traffic, as in England
  • Power outlets and electricity like in England (see the photo above)
  • Even the system of weights and measures, just like in England. Today, it has already been replaced by standard measures.

Today, when planning a trip to Seychelles, it’s essential to take this information into account.

In conclusion: This was a very brief history of Seychelles meant to provide an overall understanding of the country. It illustrates how different periods in the country’s history have influenced present-day life and the specific aspects you’ll encounter.

IMPORTANT: essential links to organize your dream trip to the Seychelles:

  • FLIGHTS: Aviasales – direct flights and best deals.
  • CAR RENTAL: Mahe and Praslin, no deposit required – DiscoverCars.
    • GetYourGuide – 75+ activities on land and water in the Seychelles.
    • Viator – 150 + activities in Seychelles.
    • Hotellook compares prices among a dozen other services and platforms and offers to choose the best one.
    • Booking – the most popular service for booking accommodation.
    • Agoda – the main competitor of Booking.
  • PACKAGES: from budget to luxury – Expedia.
  • INTERNET: eSIM of local telecom operator – Airalo.