What you need to know about Victoria
Victoria is the capital and largest city of Seychelles, situated on the north-eastern side of Mahé island, the archipelago’s main island. The city was first established as the seat of the British colonial government. In 2010, the population of Greater Victoria (including the suburbs) was 26,450 out of the country’s total population of 90,945.
The principal exports of Victoria are vanilla, coconuts, coconut oil, fish and guano.
Victoria, on Mahé Island, is the capital city of the Seychelles archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Seychelles National Botanical Gardens showcases endemic palms and orchids, as well as giant tortoises and fruit bats. The colorful Sir Selwyn Clarke Market sells spices, fruit, art and souvenirs. Near the Cathedral of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is the imposing La Domus, built in 1934 to house Catholic missionaries.
Population: 26 450(2010)
Area: 20,1 km²
The rupee is the currency of the Seychelles. It is subdivided into 100 cents. In the local Seychellois Creole (Seselwa) language, it is called the roupi. The international currency code is SCR.
Victoria features a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af) with high temperatures throughout the course of the year. The capital does have noticeably wetter and drier periods during the year, with June and July being its driest months and December through February being the city’s wettest months. However, since in no month does the average monthly precipitation falls below 60 mm in Victoria, the city does not have a true dry season month. This lack of a true dry season month is a primary reason why the climate falls under the tropical rainforest climate category. The capital averages about 2,000 mm of precipitation annually. Although being very rainy, skies are usually clear to partly clear and completely cloudy days remain scarce throughout the year even during the rainiest months.
French and English are official languages along with Seychellois Creole, which is primarily based upon French. However, nowadays the language is often laced with English words and phrases. Including second-language speakers, Seychellois is the most-spoken official language in the Seychelles, followed by French, and lastly by English. 87% of the population speaks Seychellois, 51% speaks French, and 38% speaks English.
During the plantation era, cinnamon, vanilla and copra were the chief exports. In 1965, during a three-month visit to the islands, futurist Donald Prell prepared for the then-crown colony Governor General an economic report containing a scenario for the future of the economy. Quoting from his report, in the 1960s, about 33% of the working population worked at plantations, and 20% worked in the public or government sector. The Indian Ocean Tracking Station on Mahé used by the Air Force Satellite Control Network was closed in August 1996 after the Seychelles government attempted to raise the rent to more than $10,000,000 per year.
Since independence in 1976, per capita output has expanded to roughly seven times the old near-subsistence level. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labour force, compared to agriculture which today employs about 3% of the labour force. Despite the growth of tourism, farming and fishing continue to employ some people, as do industries that process coconuts and vanilla.
As of 2013, the main export products are processed fish (60%) and non-fillet frozen fish (22%).
The prime agricultural products currently produced in Seychelles include sweet potatoes, vanilla, coconuts and cinnamon. These products provide much of the economic support of the locals. Frozen and canned fish, copra, cinnamon and vanilla are the main export commodities.
Since the worldwide economic crises of 2008, the Seychelles government has prioritised a curbing of the budget deficit, including the containment of social welfare costs and further privatisation of public enterprises. The government has a pervasive presence in economic activity, with public enterprises active in petroleum product distribution, banking, imports of basic products, telecommunications and a wide range of other businesses. According to the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, which measures the degree of limited government, market openness, regulatory efficiency, rule of law, and other factors, economic freedom has been increasing each year since 2010.
The national currency of Seychelles is the Seychellois rupee. Initially tied to a basket of international currencies, it was depegged and allowed to be devalued and float freely in 2008 on the presumed hopes of attracting further foreign investment in the Seychelles economy.
According to the 2010 census, most Seychellois are Christians: 76.2% were Roman Catholic, pastorally served by the exempt Diocese of Port Victoria or Seychelles (immediately dependent on the Holy See); 10.6% were Protestant, (Anglican 6.1%, Pentecostal Assembly 1.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.2%, other Protestant 1.6%).
Hinduism is practiced by 2.4%, and Islam by 1.6%. Other non-Christian faiths accounted for 1.1% of the population while a further 5.9% were non-religious or did not specify a religion.
Until the mid 19th century, little formal education was available in Seychelles. The Catholic and Anglican churches opened mission schools in 1851. The Catholic mission later operated boys’ and girls’ secondary schools with religious brothers and nuns from abroad even after the government became responsible for them in 1944.
A teacher training college opened in 1959, when the supply of locally trained teachers began to grow, and in short time many new schools were established. Since 1981 a system of free education has been in effect, requiring attendance by all children in grades one to nine, beginning at age five. Ninety percent of all children attend nursery school at age four.
The literacy rate for school-age children rose to more than 90% by the late 1980s. Many older Seychellois had not been taught to read or write in their childhood; adult education classes helped raise adult literacy from 60% to a claimed 100% in 2014.
There are a total of 68 schools in Seychelles. The public school system consists of 23 crèches, 25 primary schools and 13 secondary schools. They are located on Mahé, Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette. Additionally, there are three private schools: École Française, International School and the independent school. All the private schools are on Mahé, and the International School has a branch on Praslin. There are seven post-secondary (non-tertiary) schools: the Seychelles Polytechnic, School of Advanced Level Studies, Seychelles Tourism Academy, University of Seychelles Education, Seychelles Institute of Technology, Maritime Training Center, Seychelles Agricultural and Horticultural Training Center and the National Institute for Health and Social Studies.
The administration launched plans to open a university in an attempt to slow down the brain drain that has occurred. University of Seychelles, initiated in conjunction with the University of London, opened on 17 September 2009 in three locations, and offers qualifications from the University of London.
Staple foods include fish, seafood and shellfish dishes, often accompanied with rice. Fish dishes are cooked in several ways, such as steamed, grilled, wrapped in banana leaves, baked, salted and smoked. Curry dishes with rice are also a significant aspect of the country’s cuisine.