Located in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Africa, the Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands, were named after Jean Moreau de Sechelles, Louis XV's Minister of Finance, when their possession was claimed by France in 1756. The islands comprise more than forty central, mountainous granitic islands known as the Mahe group and a second cluster of more than seventy outer, flat, coralline islands. The archipelago later came under from British control during the Napoleonic Wars following the defeat of French Mauritius by whom they were administered. In 1903 the islands became a separate crown colony and the Seychelles officially became the Republic of Seychelles following their full independence from the UK in 1976.
With a population today of around 98,462 (2020), the islands suffered their first coup d'etat a year after independence in which President James Mancham was replaced by France Albert Rene, the country's Prime Minister, who, two years later declared a one party state that survived until 1991. As a result of the coup, some 10,000 islanders fled the country and the following years saw mutinies and failed coup attempts to restore Mancham to power. By 1991 Rene had bowed to increasing pressure to restore multi-party politics and introduced a new constitution that led to elections in 1993 which he duly won. He was re-elected in 1998 and 2001, standing down in 2004 in favour of his deputy, who in turn was elected democratically in 2006. On 25th October 2020, Wavel Ramkalawan won the presidential election, the first such victory for an opposition candidate since independence.
Today the Seychelles is run by the President and his appointed cabinet, who are subject to approval by the country's legislature. The Seychelles is made up of 115 different islands; an archipelago that is home to a wide range of wildlife including giant tortoises. Its economy relies on tourism and fishing and is one of only two African countries classified as a high-income economy by the World Bank (the other being Mauritius). Outcomes for children are good, with high levels of literacy and health care. The Seychelles are in 67th place out of 189 countries and territories in 2019 when ranked in terms of life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and the living standards of a country, positioning it in the high human development category.
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