With a population of less than 85,000, Seychelles demography is still comprised of people with different ethnic backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures. The country gained its independence on 1976 from British rule. However, the first people to inhabit the group of islands were the French in the 1770s. The citizens of Seychelles are known as Seychellois, and 90% of the populations inhabit the main island known as Mahe. The remaining 10% inhabit the other islands though not all islands are inhabited. The major ethnic groups in Seychelles are the Seychellois, also known as Creole, along with people of Indian and Chinese origin.
The Seychellois Creole is the leading ethnic group of Seychelles, accounting for 76,000 members of the population. According to the World Factbook, most Seychellois are descendants of early settlers and traders of mixed origin, including French, British, Africa, Chinese, and Middle Eastern. There was no indigenous population of the islands of Seychelles prior to the settlement of French plantation owners and their East African slaves brought to work the sugarcane and coffee plantations. Today, the primary language spoken by the Seychellois is Seychellois Creole though many understand English and French.
The group known as Indo-Seychellois are the second largest ethnic group in Seychelles with a total population of approximately 5,000. Their origin is traced to the Indians who settled in Seychelles when they were brought there as laborers. A majority of them speak Creole, English, or French, while a small number speak Hindi. Their presence is highly felt since most local shops have items consumed by their group and a Hindu temple has been built on the main Island of Mahe for their religious worship.
The Chinese population in Seychelles number approximately 1,000 people among the total population in the country, and they are also known as Sino-Seychellois. In 1886, the first Chinese migrants arrived in Seychelles. Their visit to the islands was primarily on a commercial venture, but over time they settled and married and intermarried with the Seychellois. Presently, there are no Chinese schools in the islands, and a small number of Sino-Seychellois understand Chinese. The majority speak Creole English and French. A large number of Sino-Seychellois are Christians, and there are only two Buddhist pagodas only in Seychelles’ main island of Mahe.
A Multi-Ethnic Society
The different ethnic groups of Seychelles interact positively in their daily lives, and the varied communities have all melted into one nation. The presence of schools has significantly helped the nation to unite the different communities, and the children learn Creole as the first language, which also helps to bring the ethnic groups together. People of the different ethnic group also interact positively in sports and other social activities. Other ethnic groups found in Seychelles include the French, Arab, European, and Americans.