Seychelles (in full: Republic of Seychelles), an island country in the Indian Ocean near the Equator, some 1,100 miles (1,800 km) east of Africa.
It consists of about 90 volcanic and coral islands, totaling 171 square miles (444 km 2 ).
Most of the people are of mixed African and European descent and live on the largest island, Mahe.
The capital and only sizable city is Victoria, on Mahe.
Agriculture, fishing, and construction sustain most of the people.
But tourism is an important source of income for the country.
Seychelles is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Seychelles is a republic that consists of a president and a 34-member Legislative Assembly. All serve five-year terms. The president appoints a Cabinet.
Seychelles Islands were known to the Portuguese by about 1500. They were first settled, by the French and by African slaves, in 1770. Britain seized the islands during the Napoleonic Wars and acquired them by treaty in 1814. They were made a colony in 1903 and granted independence in 1976.
The soaring mountains of Seychelles, covered with lush jungle, emerge from deep blue seas and a hundred glistening reefs.
These Indian Ocean islands, numbering 115 in all, stretch in a jeweled crescent from the equator to the tip of Madagascar. With a population of 86 000 Kreol-speaking inhabitants, whose ancestors came from Africa, India and Europe, Seychelles was largely unknown until the construction of an airport in 1971 introduced tourism to islands.
Many of the islands are tiny palm-tufted coral specks where yours may be the only one yacht to weigh anchor in a year.
Aldabra, the world's largest atoll and a world Heritage Site, is home to 150 000 giant tortoises.
In the high mist forests of Mahe and Silhouette there are bats that eat mangoes, pitcher plants and gobble insects, and pygmy piping frogs the size of an emerald.
The extraordinary beauty of the islands is such that nearly half of Seychelles' landmass has been set aside national park.
Mahe, the centre of Seychelles, is an island of sweeping beaches, secluded coves, and modern homes.
Tales of buried pirate treasure abound and elderly plantation houses decay away under breadfruit trees.
On neighbouring Praslin, the presence of giant male and female coco de mer palms has given Seychelles its exotic reputation as the islands of love.
Le Cerf fastboat calls at La Digue, where oxcarts trundle along the roads.
Some islands are strictly for birds, others have a solitary, luxury loudge, while many seem to be no more that a mirage across the wide ocean.