The Republic of Seychelles
World Convention is currently building a global reference for the countries and territories where we know there are Christian – Churches of Christ – Disciples of Christ Congregations. Of the 193 United Nations States, the Stone-Campbell Movement exists in 174. This listing includes other nations and territories, numbering 195 countries where there is at least one representation of our churches.
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Located in the Indian Ocean the Republic of Seychelles is a small island group one thousand miles east of Kenya and northeast of Madagascar.
The islands cover an area of about 455 sq km (176 sq miles) and are comprised of four larger islands, 36 small granite islands and 65 coralline islands, of which the latter are mostly uninhabited. Although the Arabs may have known of these islands the first notice of them comes from a Portuguese navigational chart from about 1505. In 1742 the French governor of Mauritius, Mahe de Labourdonnais sent an exploratory party to the islands. A second exploration was made four years later at which time the unoccupied islands were claimed for the French crown and named for King Louis XV’s finance minister. The French set up spice plantations in order to compete with the Dutch in the spice trade. In 1794 the British took the islands from France as a result of the Napoleonic Wars and they became a British crown colony. In 1976 the islands became an independent nation with a socialist-led government. The first free elections were held in 1993. The People’s Assembly is the single legislative body for the small Republic.
Today most Seychellois people are descendant from the French and Africans removed from slave ships by the British in an effort to halt the slave trade in the nineteenth century. There are some Indian and Chinese residents and about two thousand expatriates working in the islands, about one tenth of these are American military personnel. The population is approximately 80,000.
The Roman Catholic faith, inherited from French rule, accounts for 90% of the population. Anglicans make up 8% of the population with the remaining being Pentecostals, Seventh-day Adventists, etc. Tourism is the major source of revenue in this country where English and French are the official languages.
Even in this small island nation the Stone-Campbell Movement has made its mark with one small congregation that is being financially supported by the a cappella Church of Christ of Bremerton, Washington.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
Revised by Gary Holloway, January 6, 2014
For further historical reference:
Churches of Christ Around the World, Lynn, Mac, 21st Century Christian Publications, Nashville, TN, 2003.
Church of Christ
500 Pleasant Dr.
Bremerton, WA 98312-2273
Telephone: (360) 377-5622