Ancient travelogues bear witness to the Arabs’ knowledge of the islands from as early as the 9th century. Certain of their graves point to visits to and perhaps even a settlement of - a place they named jaza’ir az zarrin - the golden isles.
It was Portuguese navigator Joao da Nova who made the first recorded sighting of Seychelles in 1501, followed by a further sighting of the Amirantes Group by the celebrated Vasco da Gama in the following year.
On early Portuguese maps, Seychelles appeared as the Sete Irmas or Seven Sisters but it was not until 1609 that a ship of the English East Indian Company first landed on her shores.
Following a succession of expeditions, a French settlement was finally established in 1770 by ‘15 Whites, 5 Malabor Indians and 8 Africans. The islands remained in French hands until the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, evolving from these humble beginnings to attain a population of 3500 by the time Seychelles was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Paris in 1814.
Under the British, Seychelles slumbered for the next 161 years as a backwater colony building a population of some 7000 by the year 1825. Important estates of coconut, food crops, vanilla and other spices were establihed. During this period Seychelles saw the establishment of Victoria as its capital and numerous colourful troublemaskers were exiled to the Seychelles.
Seychelles was granted independence from Britain in 1976 and become an independent Republic within the Commonwealth. The Republic of Seychelles is now a thriving multi-party democracy with a comprehensive infrastructure for education, health and community services.