Seychelles is an African island nation located in the Indian Ocean to the northeast of Madagascar. Seychelles, officially known as the Republic of Seychelles, is a part of the Mascarene Island Chain, about a thousand miles away from the African mainland. Seychelles consists of a considerable number of islands, including one hundred and fifteen islands in addition to a variety of other islets and atolls. Seychelles is currently governed by President James Michel and Vice President Danny Faure, and maintains a republican form of government. The island chain which currently comprises Seychelles was uninhabited during its early history, and was first discovered by Arab and Austronesian sailors. European exploration of the islands began in the early sixteenth century, when Vasco da Gama sailed by the archipelago. Over the next three centuries, Seychelles became a hub for international trade as well as a hot spot for pirate activity. Control of Seychelles eventually passed from France to England, and the country attained independence in 1976. Many aspects of Anglo-French control persist within the culture of modern day Seychelles, which like many other African island nations has developed a hybrid culture.
The Seychelles education system has made substantial strides in the last several decades. In the early history of Seychelles, the education system was largely restricted to wealthy individuals. Starting in the second half of the twentieth century, the government assumed control of the educational system and began to implement a number of reforms. A technical college arrived in the archipelago in 1970, and a universal system of free education arrived in the 1980s. The literacy rate has risen above ninety percent, thanks to an educational system that includes twenty five primary schools and three private schools. Post secondary institutions in Seychelles include the National Institute of Education, the Maritime Training Centre, the National Institute for Health and Social Studies, and the School of Advanced Level Studies. Most of the islands in Seychelles are coral atolls, although the islands vary widely in terms of geology and natural features. Some of the islands feature striking cliffs, while others boast deep, lush forests and diverse wildlife.
The climate of Seychelles is extremely consistent throughout the year due to the islands’ location. Seychelles sees temperatures in the seventies and eighties during all months, although humidity can be somewhat overwhelming at times. The economy of Seychelles depends heavily on agriculture, fishing, tourism, and foreign investment, although these different sectors are still rapidly evolving. Seychelles is considered an international leader in sustainable tourism, due to heavy government regulation of that sector. Seychelles boasts beautiful beaches and shimmering waters, which are excellent for snorkeling and diving due to gorgeous coral reefs and diverse marine life. Seychelles is also home to a diverse cultural and artistic tradition, such as a unique brand of folk music and an intriguing matriarchal society. Seychelles continues to be home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, such as the Seychelles Black Parrot, which is the national bird. Other notable animal species in the archipelago include the Seychelles giant tortoise, the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, and a variety of seabirds. There are about a hundred endemic plant species in Seychelles, such as the coco de mer and the jellyfish tree.