The Seychelles are a group of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean that lie off the coast of East Africa, northeast of Madagascar. Only a few are inhabited. The Seychelles is the smallest African country by size and population.
Maldivian and Arab traders were the first to visit the uninhabited Seychelles. The first European to arrive at the islands was Portuguese Admiral Vasco da Gama who passed through the Amirantes in 1502 and named them after himself (Islands of the Admiral). They became a waypoint on the Cape Route. The Seychelles were disputed between France and Great Britain during the age of colonialism, with Britain ending up in control in 1814 after the Napoleonic Wars. The islands achieved independence in 1976; however, free elections did not occur until 1993.
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