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Saturday, January 10, 2009


This isolated island paradise offers fine beaches, turquoise seas and warm weather. As a result of their extraordinary history, the Seychelles are also rich in rare plants which flourish nowhere else on the planet. No less than 81 species are unique survivors from the luxuriant tropical forests that covered the islands until humanity's belated arrival two centuries ago. Outstanding amongst these is the coco-de-mer (sea coconut), native to Praslin, which grows in the Vallée de Mai. Its seed is the largest in nature.The Seychelles are also a major attraction for birdwatchers. Up to two million sooty terns nest on Bird Island, and on Aride can be found the world's largest colonies of lesser noddies, roseate terns and other tropical birds.After French colonial rule, under which the islands were named after the royal accountant Vicomte Moreau de Séchelles, the islands were annexed by Britain. For 150 years, isolated from the rest of the world and all but ignored by the major European powers, the Seychelles developed their own traditions, language and culture. The islands became a Crown Colony in 1903. Internal self-government was granted in 1975 and independence a year later