May 23, 2012

0218 SEYCHELLES - Beaches and coco de mer

I don't know what thought Vasco da Gama when discovered them in 1502, but certainly he liked them, because otherwise he wouldn't be named them after himself, Ilhas do Almirante, which means Islands of the Admiral. Anyway, neither he nor the English who visited the islands in 1609 haven't taken them in possession. The first who claimed the islands were the French, in 1756, who named them Seychelles (from the Vicomte des Séchelles, Louis XV's finance minister). The colonization began in 1768, when a party of 22 Frenchmen arrived on the islands, bringing with them a number of slaves.

On the late 18th century, the British were thought that these islands located to the north of Madagascar could be useful, so that in 1814 they have passed them (together with Mauritius) in own patrimony, through the Treaty of Paris. In 1903, the islands became a crown colony, no longer subordinate to Mauritius, and in this way the cosmopolitan character of Seychelles had been established. In 1976 Seychelles achieved independence.

The number of islands in the archipelago is often given as 115 (42 granitic islands, and the rest coral islands), but the Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles lists 155. With an estimated population of 86,525, has the smallest population of any African state, but it also has the highest Human Development Index on the continent. Intermarriage between the descendants of the French, African, and Asian populations produced the Seychellois of today, who speeks english, french and seychellois creole.

On the back of the postcard is writen only "Souvenir of Seychelle", but I think that I identified on the bottom Cape Barbi and Anse Source d'Argent beach, both located on La Digue, the third largest inhabited island of the Seychelles. In the upper side are male and female coco de mer (Lodoicea maldivica), a palm endemic to the islands of Praslin and Curieuse. The coco de mer tree (about which I wrote here) is now a rare and protected specie, and the Vallée de Mai, a palm forest located in the heart of the island of Praslin was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983, under the name Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of a series with fishes, issued on 2010:
• Queen Coris / Coris formosa (6.50 Rupees)
• White-lined Goatfish / Parupeneus ciliatus (7 Rupees) – it’s on the postcard
• Three Spot Angelfish / Apolemichthys trimaculatus (8 Rupees)
• Coral Grouper / Cephalopholis miniata (100 Rupees)

sender: Harris Banbosse (direct swap)
sent from Victoria (Seychelles), on 20.04.2012
photo: Jurien Palmyre

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