Seychelles is composed of scattered islands located in a remote part of the Indian Ocean. This African island nation is a member of the Commonwealth since 1976. More than ¾ of its small population of 96,000 Seychellois reside in the main island as some of the other islands remain uninhabitable.
1. It has the only granite islands in the world
Due to volcanic eruptions millions of years ago, some islands that formed what we know as Seychelles today are granitic in nature. This characteristic made them unique in the world. These granite islands are in the central part of Seychelles Bank and granite rocks can be found in some of the beaches there, an interesting Seychelles fact.
2. The Seychelles archipelago stretches over 155 islands
Situated in the Indian Ocean, just northeast of Madagascar, is the Republic of Seychelles. It is made up of 155 islands as listed in its Constitution, although it is more generally known with only 115 islands. They are divided into two classifications. One is granitic and the other is coralline. There are 42 inner granite islands and the remaining 113 are coral islands. Not all of these islands are habitable.
3. Seychelles has one of the smallest capital cities in the world named Victoria.
The capital city of Seychelles, Victoria, is so small that people can explore it without spending 24 hours to do it. It has a total area of 20.1 km² with around 30,000 residents. One of its popular attractions is the Victoria Clock Tower. It is a replica of London’s Little Ben and has been ticking since the early 1900s. Former governor Sir Ernest Sweet Escott ordered a copy be made after admiring the original clock during his visit in Britain and named it after Queen Victoria. It is located in Mahe Island, which is the country’s main island.
4. The country has some of the world’s rarest birds
The Seychelles Scops Owl otherwise known as the bare-legged Scops Owl is one of the world’s rarest birds. In the late 1800s, they were thought to have been extinct due to deforestation. However, after a series of research was made on the first decade of the 21st century, it was discovered that around 300 owls are still alive. As endangered species, they are under the protection of both international and local animal conservation groups. They have a permanent home at the Morne Seychellois National Park on Mahe Island.
5. Pirates made Seychelles a treasure hideout in the 18th century
An interesting fact about Seychelles is that many pirates have used islands in this country as their hideout from maritime patrols. In 1721, legendary pirate Olivier la Vasseur, more popularly known as La Busse, was said to have hidden one of the biggest stolen treasures in Mahe Island. They valued it at around a billion dollars. During his hanging, he threw his necklace to the public and told them to find his treasure if they could figure out the clues in it. This tale was passed on from generations to generations. Up to this day, treasure hunters are still searching for the hidden treasure.
6. The island was uninhabited until the French came in the 1700s
There were no records of indigenous people living in Seychelles before the Europeans took over the island. The earliest known record about the island nation was of a sighting in March of 1503 documented by Thomé Lopes from passing Portuguese fleet of ships. The first to land in the island was the British in 1609, but it was the French who were the first settlers of the island in 1756 and named it Seychelles after Louis XV’s Finance Minister Jean Moreau de Sechelles.
7. The current national flag of Seychelles was only created in 1996
After gaining its independence from the British, Seychelles had used three different national flags. Each time there’s a new government, the flag design changes. The third and current design was created in 1996 and adopted colors from the flags of major political parties of the country, a fun Seychelles fact.
8. Moyenne, one of its popular islands, is believed to be haunted
The Sainte Anne Marine National Park in Seychelles is composed of 8 small islands and one of them is believed to be haunted. Moyenne Island was originally uninhabited but said to be frequented by pirates. It was believed that an Englishwoman named Mary Best was roaming the night guarding the treasure that was buried by the pirates in the island. In 1962, it was bought by a British newspaper editor Brendon Grimshaw and made it habitable. He told more ghost stories he experienced in the small island cementing the authenticity of the legendary haunting tales.
9. Curieuse island of Seychelles was a leper colony
From 1829 up to 1965, Curieuse Island in Seychelles was used to quarantine people with leprosy, an interesting fact about Seychelles. It was designated by the Seychelles government to be a leper colony in order to stop the spread of the disease which they thought was incurable that time. The medical doctor’s official residence which was built in 1873 still stands today and regarded as a National Monument in the country.
10. This island nation is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Out of only about 200 Natural World Heritage Sites declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Seychelles has two of them, the Aldabra Atoll and the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve. These two sites are protected for the several endangered species such as the gigantic tortoises and plants such as the Coco de Mer that are endemic to the island.
11. The world’s biggest fruit and seed are in Seychelles
An interesting fact about Seychelles is that Coco de Mer, the world’s biggest fruit, is exclusively found in Praslin and Curieuse islands in Seychelles. Both the fruit and the seed are considered the biggest and heaviest in the world. The fruit weighs up to 42 kg and the seed can weigh up to 17.6 kg. They are strictly monitored by the government and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed them as endangered.
12. It has the biggest tortoise in the world
The biggest and heaviest living tortoise in the world named Esmeralda resides in the Bird Island in Seychelles. It weighs 304 kilograms and is 170 years old.
Seychelles is a mix of old fascinating tales, incredibly interesting facts, and idyllic natural landscapes that lure many people on this part of the world. It is one of the top destinations for a tropical island vacation in the world today.
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