African Studies The Seychelles
Richard Allen
  • LAST REVIEWED: 17 August 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 May 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846733-0147


The Seychelles are an archipelago of some 115 small granitic and coralline islands scattered over 1 million square kilometers of the western Indian Ocean. The largest island is Mahé, situated 1,600 kilometers east of Mombasa, which houses more than 80 percent of the country’s population of approximately 90,000. Most other Seychellois live on the neighboring islands of La Digue and Praslin. The Seychelles remained uninhabited until 1770 when the central Mahé group was settled by colonists and their African and Malagasy slaves from the French-controlled Mascarene Islands of Île de France (modern Mauritius) and Île de Bourbon (modern Réunion). The Seychelles remained a Mauritian dependency following that island’s cession to Great Britain in 1814 by the Treaty of Paris. The islands became a separate British Crown colony in 1903 and acquired independence in 1976. Because of their geographical isolation, small population, and lack of natural resources, the Seychelles have remained a subject of limited interest to economists, historians, political scientists, and social scientists.

General Overviews and Bibliographies

Few general overviews and bibliographies of the Seychelles exist, all of which are now dated. The earliest published survey of Seychellois culture, economy, history, natural history, etc., is Bradley 1940. For more recent overviews, see Lionnet 1972 and Tartter 1995. The earliest published bibliography of Seychellois history and natural history is included in Fauvel 1909 (cited under History and Historical Sources). The most extensive recently published bibliography of the islands is Bennett and Bennett 1993.

  • Bennett, George, and Pramula Ramgulam Bennett. Seychelles. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1993.

    Volume 153 in a world bibliographical series, which covers individual countries and major geographical regions. Organized into sections on the country and its people; geography; travelers’ accounts; flora and fauna; history; population and demography; Aldabra; language; religion; society, social conditions, and health; politics; constitution, legal system, and administration; philately; economy; finance and banking; agriculture and fishing; industry; manpower and employment; education; the arts; libraries and museums; cuisine; literature; government reports and statistics; media; directories; and bibliographies.

  • Bradley, John T. The History of the Seychelles. 2 vols. Victoria, Seychelles: Clarion, 1940.

    An account of the islands’ climate, economy, geology and natural history, early history, population, and religion as well as the political prisoners exiled there.

  • Lionnet, Guy. The Seychelles. Newton Abbot, UK: David & Charles, 1972.

    A survey of the islands’ culture, flora and fauna, geology, history, population, etc. by the colony’s former director of agriculture.

  • Tartter, Jean R. “Seychelles.” In Indian Ocean: Five Island Countries. 3d ed. Edited by Helen Chapin Metz, 199–248. Washington, DC: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1995.

    Part of the Library of Congress’s area handbook series; a profile of the Seychelles, including information on the country’s history, population, society, economy, politics, and foreign relations.

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