The smallest country in Africa, by geographical size, is The Seychelles, a group of islands, north of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean that has a total of 451 square kilometers. The Seychelles is also the smallest in terms of population at just over 80,000 people. Their main industry is Tourism and Tuna fishing, although there is a strong potential for petroleum mining, as many new sources of oil are still being discovered. The Seychelles are also trying to establish a booming financial services sector.
The Seychelles only recently gained independence from England in 1976, but are a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. They were uninhabited until the 1700s when the French placed their Stone of Possession and claimed the island nation for France. The Seychelles are named after Louis XV’s Minister of Finance. The British officially assumed control over The Seychelles in 1814, after their war with France, in a peaceful negotiation that allowed the settlers to remain neutral.
Despite over a century and a half of British rule, The Seychellois remain predominantly French in name and culture. The official languages are French, English, Creole and Sechellois. They are one of the richest nations in Africa, but also one of the most in debt nations according to the IMF. Like many of us individuals, the culture has a habit of living beyond their means and borrowing to sustain the habit. The Seychellois benefit, however, in generous retirement plans and excellent state care of its marginalized citizens.
Unlike many other places in the world, The Seychelles is a Matriarchal society. The mother runs the household and makes financial decisions. Single mothers are very common, and the father, by law, must pay child support.
The Seychelles have one of the largest seabird colonies in the world and they are home to the Giant Tortoise. Sadly, the Seychelles Parakeet and the Saltwater Crocodile are extinct. Of particular note, are the abundance of coral reefs surrounding the islands, making the Seychelles an incredible spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.
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