Wednesday, March 2, 2011



454 sq km (175 sq miles).
78,500 (1998).
173 per sq km.
Victoria (Mahé).
70,000 (1998).
The Seychelles Archipelago occupies 400,000 sq km (150,000 sq miles) of the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar and contains 115 islands and islets. These fall into two groups of markedly different appearance, stemming from their distinct geologies: Granitic: A dense cluster of 42 islands, the only mid-ocean group in the world with a granite rock formation. Their lush green vegetation is tropical in character, with a profusion of coconut palms, bananas, mangoes, yams, breadfruit and other tropical fruit. Indigenous forest exists on the higher slopes, where cinnamon and tea are planted. All, including the second largest, Praslin, are less than 65km (40 miles) from Mahé. Coralline: Isolated coral outcrops speckling a vast area of the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the granitic group. They rise only a few feet above sea level but are covered with rich and dense vegetation due to fertilisation by copious amounts of guano. There is no permanent population. Aldabra, the largest atoll in the world, contains one third of all Seychellois land and is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. The largest island in either group is Mahé, lying 4°S of the equator. It is 27km (17 miles) long by 8km (5 miles) wide and contains Victoria, the capital and main port, and 90% of the population. Mahé is typical of the granitic islands, being mountainous and covered with jungle vegetation. Its highest point, indeed the highest point in the Seychelles, is Morne Seychellois (905m/2970ft). The isolated nature of the Seychelles has given rise to the evolution of many unique species of flora and fauna, including the coco-de-mer palm and unique varieties of orchid, giant tortoise, gecko, chameleon and 'flying fox' (fruitbat). National parks and reserves have been set up to protect this heritage. The Seychellois are descended from a mixture of French and British landowners, freed African slaves and a small number of Indian and Chinese immigrants, creating a unique culture.
Republic since 1976. Gained independence from the UK in 1975. Head of State and Government: President France Albert René since 1977.
The official languages are Creole, English and French.
92% Roman Catholic with Anglican, Seventh Day Adventist, Muslim and other minorities.
GMT + 4.
240 volts AC, 50Hz. British 3-pin plugs are in use.


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