Republic of Seychelles
CAPITAL : Victoria
FLAG : The flag is made up of five oblique bands of (left to right) blue, yellow, red, white, and green.
ANTHEM : Begins "Seychellois both staunch and true."
MONETARY UNIT : The Seychelles rupee ( R ) is a paper currency of 100 cents. There are coins of 5, 10, and 25 cents and 1, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 1,000, and 1,500 rupees and notes of 10, 25, 50, and 100 rupees. R 1 = $0.1984 (or $1 = R 5.04) as of March 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is the legal standard.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's, 1–2 January; Labor Day, 1 May; National Day, 5 June; Independence Day, 29 June; Assumption, 15 August; All Saints' Day, 1 November; Immaculate Conception, 8 December; Christmas, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include Good Friday, Easter Monday, Corpus Christi, and Ascension.
TIME : 4 PM = noon GMT.
Entry for the purpose of employment is strictly controlled. Since the 1950s, some retirees from the UK have settled in Seychelles. In 1999, the net migration rate was -6.32 migrants per 1,000 population. In 2000 the total number of migrants was 5,000. The government views the emigration level as too high, but the immigration level as satisfactory.
There are no distinct ethnic divisions, apart from small Indian and Chinese groups constituting about 1% of the total population. The bulk of the population is Seychellois, a mixture of African, French-European, and Asian strains.
Creole, a simplified form of French with borrowings from African languages, has been the first language since 1981 and is the initial language in public schools. English and French are also widely spoken; both are official languages. English is the official language of the National Assembly.
The great majority of the population in 1998 practiced Christianity. Roman Catholics constituted some 88% of the Christian community; Anglicans totaled another 8%. Approximately 2% was comprised of Baptists, Seventh-Day Adventists, the Assembly of God, the Pentecostal Church, Nazarites, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Hindus, Muslims, and Baha'is made up the remaining 2% of the total population.
All seats on the 23 elected district councils (formerly the SPPF district branch committees) are held by SPPF members.
In 2002 there were 450 active personnel in the armed forces of Seychelles, including an army of 200 (one infantry company and one security unit) and a national guard of 250 (200 in the coast guard and 20 in an air wing). Military expenditures in 2001 were $11 million or 1.8% of GDP.
Seychelles is self-sufficient in the production of pork, poultry, and eggs. In 2001 there were about 18,400 hogs, 5,300 goats, and 1,400 head of cattle. Cattle of improved strains are imported and maintained on an intensive feedlot system.
Little natural forest remains. Coconut plantations are the main source of timber, aside from imports. A reforestation program projects the planting of 100 ha each year. Imports of forest products totaled $1.4 million in 2000.
Seychelles Polytechnic, founded in 1983 at Victoria, has schools of agriculture, engineering, health studies, humanities and science, and maritime studies.
All private insurance companies were nationalized in 1983 and their business transferred to the State Assurance Corp. Two of the companies doing business in the Seychelles in 1997 were H. Savy Insurance Co., and State Assurance Corp. of Seychelles.
All imports are controlled by the Seychelles Marketing Board (SMB), which places quotas on certain imports (such as motor vehicles) and other types of restrictions on other items. Prohibited goods include arms and ammunition, dangerous drugs, pornographic materials, and spearguns. Import tariffs are 30%.
The Seychelles International Trade Zone offers tax benefits and other advantages to exporters.
The National Archives and Museum and a National Library (65,000 volumes) are both located in Victoria (Mahé Island). Seychelles Polytechnic University has 12,000 volumes. The Seychelles National Museum in Victoria, founded in 1964, has collections in the areas of botany, zoology, geology, and anthropology.
Trade groups include the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Seychelles Farmers' Association. The Women's Association and the Youth Organization are arms of the SPPF. Other youth organizations include the National Youth League of the Seychelles and the Scout and Guide Movement of the Seychelles. The Red Cross is active.
Sir James Richard Marie Mancham (b. 1939), leader of the SDP, became Seychelles' first president in 1976. He was deposed in 1977 by France Albert René (b. 1935).
Seychelles has no territories or colonies.
Benedict, Marion, and Burton Benedict. Men, Women, and Money in Seychelles. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982.
Bennett, George. Seychelles Pramila Ramgulam Bennett. Oxford, England; Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio Press, 1993.
Franda, Marcus. The Seychelles: Unquiet Islands. Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1982.
Lionnot, Guy. The Seychelles. Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole, 1972.
McAteer, William. Rivals in Eden: A History of the French Settlement and British Conquest of the Seychelles Islands, 1742–1818. Sussex, Eng.: Book Guild, 1990.
Scarr, Deryck. Seychelles Since 1770: History of a Slave and Post-Slavery Society. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1999.
Vine, Peter. Seychelles. 2d ed. London, Eng.: Immel Publishing, 1992.