Victoria, the capital city of Seychelles, is celebrating its 240th anniversary this year.

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Victoria, the capital city of Seychelles, is celebrating its 240th anniversary this year.

Post  Sirop14 on Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:04 pm

Victoria, the capital city of Seychelles, is celebrating its 240th anniversary this year.

11-June-2018

According to research, the area that would become Victoria was originally settled in 1778 by French colonists after they claimed the island in 1756.
But it was not until after the Treaty of Paris of 1814 was signed that the British formally established Victoria and gave it its modern name.
Situated on the north-eastern side of the main island, Mahé, Victoria was first established as the seat of the British colonial government.
Victoria is one of the smallest capitals in the world and is therefore the touristic, economic and cultural centre of Seychelles.
Banners as the one in the photo have been erected in different places in Victoria to remind people that the city is 240 years old. Happy Anniversary!

http://www.nation.sc/article.html?id=259216

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Re: Victoria, the capital city of Seychelles, is celebrating its 240th anniversary this year.

Post  Sirop14 on Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:26 pm

VICTORIA - The Birth

28-July-2018
This year, Seychelles is marking the 240th anniversary of its capital town, VICTORIA. On behalf of the Victoria Committee, Tony Mathiot recounts the early chapters…

The Fregate L’Helene must have dropped anchor at Mahé sometime in the mid-February of 1779 -- having left L’île de France on December 3, 1778. A voyage that must have taken over two months. The “new settlers” were 15 soldiers and a lieutenant colonel. They had been entrusted with the task of creating the first establishment that would, over the course of two centuries, become the modern capital of Victoria. Indeed, they had no illusions about the industry and labour that awaited them. Apart from their military experience in the regiment of L’île de France, each one of the 15 soldiers was skilled in some occupation: carpentry, masonry, blacksmithing, bakery and medicine. Their names should be known: Julien Diard, Michel Charles, Jacques Leonard, Jacques Antoine Giroux, Pierre Garnier, Jean-Baptiste Mareaux, Michel Dugoin, Julien Habraham, Sulpice Lanoux, Bonaventure Roitier, Joseph Bazerga, François Le Roy, Jean Thomas Pelletier, Dominique Bertin, Joseph La Bétonnière.There should have been sixteen of them, but one, a surgeon named Theodore, had died at sea.

The Lieutenant colonel was Charles Routiers de Romainville (1742-1792), a thirty-six-year-old cartographer who in 1767 had joined the expedition of Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811) to make the first French voyage around the world. The expedition was undertaken to discover new territories for the French to acquire, find a new route to China, establish new trading posts for the French East India Company and lastly, to look for spices that were acclimatizable to L’ile de France. At the end of the journey in 1769, Romainville stayed for a while at L’île de France until he was appointed in the regiment of Pondicherry, the Chief French settlement (until 1954) in India.

The decision to create a permanent settlement on Mahé came at a time when the global war that was a consequence of the American Revolution (1775-1783) was in full rage. Imperial rivalries and expansionism set the world order. France and England were inveterate enemies, relentlessly fighting for dominance in the English Channel, in the Mediterranean, in the West Indies, in the Indian Ocean. The second half of the 18th century was grimly punctuated by military conflicts between the French East India Company and the British East India Company. This Anglo-French war (1778-1783) was the immediate consequence of the military alliance that France had concluded with America on February 6, 1778 to support the 13 colonies which had been part of British America (1607-1776) and ultimately Great Britain (1707-1776). It was on December 11, 1777, that a naval officer at L’île de France, Charles Henri Louis d’Arsac, Chevalier de Ternay (1723-1780) wrote to the Secretary of State for the Navy in France, Antoine de Sartine (1729-1811), that “un officier avec un détachement de 15 hommes du régiment de L’ile de France peut y maintenir bon ordre de faire une distribution sage de terrains, aux familles qui voudraient s’y établir…”

The Governor of L’ile de France, Antoine de Guiran Chevalier de La Brilliane, had expressed his concern that the administration of Rodrigues, which the French had occupied since 1735, should be closed and all the funds re-allocated to the creation of an outpost in the Seychelles. Two years previously, a former wealthy employer of the French East India Company, Jacques Le Roux de Kermoseven, had offered to create a settlement on Mahé at his own cost -- since the French East India Company (formed in 1668) which had financed the first settlement on Ste Anne in 1770 had encountered disastrous financial deficit and had been closed by Louis XV (1710-1774) in 1770, that same year. Kermoseven’s request was rejected, probably because he had asked to be appointed commandant and be allowed to give land concessions.

The initial cost of creating the new settlement had been evaluated at 15,000 livres (6 livres = 1 piastre). The new settlers had to make their way through the thickets of mangroves that extended along the shoreline. Back in 177, the mangroves barrier was the reason why the first settlers who arrived aboard Telemaque had to go to Ste Anne Island. During the next decade, mangroves became less of a hindrance as their ashes were used in soap-making, thus making Port Royal accessible.

When they arrived ashore, they found an assortment of ill-conceived small buildings including the ruins of the small chapel of St. Antoine de Padua which a Lazarist Priest named Dumontagnier had blessed on December 1, 1771. Not surprisingly, the first settlement on Ste. Anne which Brayer du Barré had created in 1770 had failed disastrously. Consequently, the small group of settlers had moved over to Mahé to begin anew. However, lack of manpower and the unruly disposition of the settlers resulted in the abject failure of the small colony, to such an extent that famine and sickness had become a scourge. Moreover, there was constant altercations with new settlers. Fortunately, in May of 1773, they were repatriated to L’ile de France aboard La Belle Poule, leaving the rudimentary settlement to the new batch of settlers who had arrived at Mahé aboard La Marianne in January of 1772. Eventually, most of them went back to L’île de France except for an abbey named Dumontagnier, Sicard, Mousse and a woman called Dame Claire Larue who was the island’s first Florence Nightingale.

The settlement on Ste. Anne was taken over by a former soldier of the French East India Company named Pierre Hangard (1732 - 1812). He had arrived at Mahé on July 1, 1772 aboard Le Necessaire in the company of Antoine Gillot, to create the Jardin du Roi at Anse Royale. This most enterprising settler put his predecessor to shame by producing enough food for the entire small colony and to supply passing ships.

Unbeknownst to Romainville and his men, the settlement at Anse Royale had deteriorated into a disgraceful state of neglect. Most of the slaves had fled into the forests. The garden of spices which was a rectangle with an area of 52 gaulettes (1 gaulette being 5 metres) divided into 4 squares did not reflect the splendor of a Jardin du Roi created in the name of Louis XV (1710-1774). A few withering plants of nutmegs, cloves and cinnamons were all that remained, almost like a botanical burlesque of a ‘kings garden’.

They saw the ‘Stone of Possession’ -- the 57cm by 57cm block of stone inscribed with “I.de.Sechelles”, and the Coat of Arms of France, which Captain Nicholas Morphey (1729-1774) had placed on a rock on November 1, 1756 as an act of pre-emptive possession of the Seychelles islands for the French Empire.

Soon after they arrived, they set about their task, clearing the woods, selecting the best timber that they could find for construction. In addition to the fifteen soldiers, there were two marine carpenters, Laurent Elie and Yves Le Flere. Evidently, the site was eminently propitious for a permanent establishment due to the existence of at least two rivers there. Water is invariably a determining factor in the creation of a settlement. Salvation for survival then, came from not least, Bel Air River and Moussa River, because the east coast of Mahé abounds in rivers and streams.

Romainville complied scrupulously to his instructions. He built a house for himself of 30 feet length and 12 feet width (about 10 metres by 4 metres), “a magasin pour les effets du Roi et les subsistances”…barrack for soldiers, with a basement of 30 feet by 12 feet which was used as a prison, a kitchen of missionary which was 18 feet by 12 feet, a hospital with a verandah of 30 feet by 18 feet, and a lodge of 12 feet by 8 feet for passengers of ships. For the first four years these would be the aggregate amount of infrastructures constituting L’Etablissement du Roi. A house for the surgeon, a tortoise pen, a large pirogue shed and a battery were added by Romainville’s successors Berthelot de La Coste and Antoine Gillot (the former gardener at Jardin du Roi).

The authorities at I’île de France were pleased with Romainville. On its return voyage to L’île de France in January 1779, L’Hélène brought back 600 tortoises which was followed by a second consignment of 500 tortoises in April the same year.

Romainville’s administration was regrettably brief but impressive. He managed to curb the depredations of forests and the pillage of tortoises by certain unscrupulous settlers. He succeeded in reserving...Pour le Roi et pour la défense du pays, le long des côtes de l’île sechelles, une lisière de bois de zoo toise au moins en profondeur…

But also, an inadvertent monumental blunder. One day in May of 1780, he was deceived by a French ship flying an English flag and in an impetuous act of patriotism he ordered the destruction of the Jardin du Roi by fire! Unfortunately, because of serious infirmities of health relating to his liver, Romainville left Seychelles at the end of 1780.

His three predecessors administrated the settlement with the same tenacity of purpose in spite of which elsewhere, the plunder of the island’s natural resources continued. In the absence of a defined protocol to regulate the lives of the small colony, there was no submissions to rules and authority. In 1785, the total population of L’Etablissement du Roi was 28 inhabitants -- a commandant, a detachment of 12 soldiers from the Regiment of Pondicherry, and 15 slaves (8 men and 7 women). There were 9 pirogues in the service of the harbour.

In 1786, Jean Baptiste Philogène de Malavois (1748-1825) arrived at Mahé accompanied by a surveyor called Bataille. Malavois who was an agronomist, engineer and geographer re-organised the administrative establishment and instituted orderly land tenure, conceding to each inhabitant an area of 108 arpents (112 acres). The extensive work he and Bataille conducted resulted in the law of July 30, 1787 which contained 30 articles aimed at organising and systematising the economy, the society and landownership of Seychelles. By then, the territory of L’Etablissement du Roi extended along the south side of what is now Revolution Avenue, encompassing the Bel Air cemetery site in the west and the La Poudrière site in the south with the sea coast being what is now Francis Rachel Street. As the settlement gradually expanded, the woods were cleared for more construction. But the L’Etablissement du Roi as such, that is the settlement controlled, managed and directed on behalf of Louis XVI by Malavois’s legislation would experience quite a few upheavals caused by the events of the French Revolution (1789 -1799). On June 19, 1790, for example, ten settlers formed a Colonial Assembly, demanding that the law of July 30, 1787 should be amended, so that “… les iles Praslin, Frégate, Silhouette, et L’île du Nord soit affecter pour y conceder des terrains aux seuls enfant des habitants de Seychelles…”

There was a clamour for independence from L’île de France. But the political frenzy gradually abated and the following year, on July 30, 1791, the Minerve dropped anchor at Mahé. On August 1, 1791, at 8am, the national flag of France was unfurled at the L’Etablissement du Roi. Commandant Enouf displayed a modicum of exquisite diplomacy by communicating the decisions of the Colonial Assembly to Governor Cossigny for his approval.

On September 22, 1792, when the monarchy was abolished in France and the Republic was proclaimed, it was considered inappropriate, even offensive for the Mahé French Settlement to invoke the memory of the king, who would be guilloted on January 21, 1793. Therefore, L’Etablissement du Roi was stripped of its Royal connotation and was called L’Etablissement.

On September 9, 1793 a 45-year-old former Captain of the Pondicherry Regiment Jean-Baptiste Quéau de Quinssy (1748-1827) arrived at Mahé aboard L’Aimée to take up the post of commandant. The population of Seychelles amounted to 572 inhabitants (65 whites, 20 Free Africans, 487 slaves).Quinssy encouraged the construction of more buildings to accommodate new arrivals of settlers and their slaves. During his eighteen years as commandant, renovations and improvements were made to the original Romainville buildings of L’Etablissement. Even a cemetery was opened (the Bel Air cemetery) for the burial of those who passed away at L’Etablissement. Indeed, it was during his administration that L’Etablissement knew its first of many momentous events. Such one occurred on May 17, 1794, when Quinssy had to negotiate the first capitulation Treaty with Captain Henry Newcome aboard Orpheus. It was the first military confrontation to take place at L’Etablissement, or Seychelles. There were no means to defy a squadron of four vessels which totalled 1200 men and 66 canons. Quinssy had at his disposal, 40 volunteers, 60 muskets and 8 small canons. But his steadfastness of purpose and sagacity precluded the worse that could have happened to L’Etablissement and the inhabitants. The British Flag was unfurled for the first time on Seychelles. But after the British had disappeared, Quinssy had the French Flag Fly at high mast again!

On July 14, 1801, La Chiffone brought the first group of 32 Jacobins to Mahé, to the consternation of the settlers and the slaves. There would be 70 of those terrorists who were accused of planning to assassinate Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1831) and were thus sentenced to exile in Seychelles. The inhabitants were petrified a few weeks later, precisely on August 20, 1801 when a naval battle took place in Port Royal between La Chiffone and an English ship, Sybille. The half hour ferocious engagement left 35 men dead… and L’Etablissement dazed.

Understandably, there were then no shops at L’Etablissement. Inhabitants bartered with captains of passing ships. However, by 1804, there was a café and a billiard room. Since 1796, Mahé had been producing cotton and coconut oil for exportation to L’île de France. A network of footpaths which connected distant plantations to L’Etablissement created access for the transportation of these produce by slaves to the coast of Port Royal where they were put on board the occasional ship.

In 1811, the British took possession of the Seychelles and Barthelemy Sullivan was the first in a long series of British functionaries, who with various appellations (Agent, Commissioner, and Administrator Governor) would administrate the Seychelles until 1976.

From 1839 to 1850, the civil commissioner was Charles Augustus Etienne Mylius (1795-1873). Anxious that L’Etablissement should take advantage of the maritime traffic that passed through the Indian Ocean, he initiated the construction of a jetty with a grant of £50 from Mauritius. Though there was not much amenities for visiting ships, the “Mylius jetty” as the wharf was affectionately called, was an important start.

In the mid-19th Century, Seychelles formed part of the vast territory of colonies and protectorates known as the British Empire. These scattered different nations were united by a common obedience to the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The British throne was held by twenty-two-year-old Queen Alexandrina Victoria (1819-1901). On May 31, 1841, Ordinance No:12 of 1841 was passed in the Council at Port Louis, Mauritius, with the assent of Governor Sir Lionel Smith (1778-1842) that established the name of the Capital of Seychelles as Victoria.
http://www.nation.sc/article.html?id=259796

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Re: Victoria, the capital city of Seychelles, is celebrating its 240th anniversary this year.

Post  Sirop14 on Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:53 pm

Victoria - The early years

25-August-2018

As it changed from a small colonial outpost into a residential township, Victoria had to endure some events of calamity. Tony Mathiot, on behalf of the Victoria committee travels back through the mists of time….



Unsurprisingly enough, most inhabitants of Seychelles, except for the few government workers, were not aware that Victoria had been named. There were no means to disseminate the news that could have reached the remote territories of Mahé, not even the inner lying islands. Inhabitants, when they had to, which was seldom if ever, travelled to Victoria by pirogue and for many years to come, they were coming to “L’Etablissement”.

When the township was named, three streets were also named. Albert Street (in honour of Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert Francis Charles Augustus Emmanual of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1819-1861). Victoria Street (now Francis Rachel Street) and Royal Street (now Revolution Avenue). The two former ones were then merely coastal footpaths that did not lead any further from the township, whereas the latter, Royal Street, led up to the wooded hills of St Louis.

With the arrival of the Anglican mission and the Catholic Mission in Seychelles, Victoria began to assume a quaintly dignified character, as the small town accommodated their respective ecclesiastic buildings. In 1854, four years after the arrival of the first catholic priest, Father Leon des Avanchers (1825-1879), a small catholic church was built (on the actual site of the present cathedral) and blessed in dedication of the Immaculate Conception. Two years before, on November 26, 1852, Seychelles had become an Apostolic Prefecture of the Catholic Church and conveniently it was in Victoria that the first seeds of the Roman Catholic faith were sown. The small Anglican church of St. Paul was consecrated by the first Anglican Bishop of Mauritius, William Vincent Ryan (1816-1888). It had been designed by an architect named Scott, who had designed the cathedral of St. John in Newfoundland. It was also around that time that the Michaud family donated a piece of land to the people of Seychelles for the express purpose of establishing a market in Victoria. The land was often referred to as “Terrain du Bazaar”. There were shops in Victoria then, as well as a Police Station, a prison and a courthouse. Traders and retail merchants dealt in shillings, the Indian rupee and the Mauritian dollar, the latter of which five were equalled to one pound sterling.

On December 11, 1861, the first post office opened in Victoria. The town was still mourning the loss of Civil Commissioner George Thompson Wade who had passed away on September 25, 1861, after having administrated the islands for almost ten years. Through the hard labour and industry of the town dwellers, Victoria was slowly growing and expanding into a proper little colonial township when calamity struck. After many days of torrential rains, rivers burst their banks and raging torrents of water washed down the hill slopes above Victoria, dislodging boulders and uprooting trees which, as they went down the incline, destroyed everything in their path: huts, timber buildings and pig stys. An entire cliff face, dissolving as it went into a river of mud and debris covered a large portion of the town and partly created the Gordon Square (Freedom Square). The landslide also devastated a section of the cemetery where dozens of graves were washed down to Royal Street. Scores of inhabitants perished in that great lavalas (avalanche) of October 12, 1862, including two sisters of St. Joseph De Cluny who had arrived from Reunion on February 4, 1861. The old government house and the new St. Paul’s church were among the few buildings that survived the disaster. For many months, while the town was being cleared, the church gave sanctuary to those homeless and anguished inhabitants. It was Wade’s successor Swinburne Ward who had the burden of reconstruction. However, the Roman Catholic mission also played a pivotal role in the creation of optimistic development after such heart-wrenching devastation. In 1867, father Ignatius Galfione (1815-1881) established the St. Louis College for boys. Initially, managed by the Frères des Ecoles Chrétiennes, this noble educational establishment would be the predecessor of the twentieth century Seychelles College (1947). During the reconstruction of the town, the Anglican Church built the St. Paul’s school for boys. A new convent and school for the Sisters of St. Joseph de Cluny were also built.

With the arrival of the first ship of the Messageries Maritimes on September 24, 1864, the town soon appreciated the economic advantage of having a decent port of call to accommodate the maritime traffic of the Indian Ocean. Moreover, since 1861, ships of the Royal Navy were bringing in groups of liberated Africans who had been rescued from Arab dhows which were still persisting in the illicit lucrative slave trade. It was the Chief Civil Commissioner, William Hales Franklyn (1826-1874), a retired captain who joined the Colonial Service in Hong Kong before his appointment in Seychelles, who saw the need to build the Victoria lighthouse in 1872. In 1876, his successor, Charles Spencer Salmon (1832-1890) had received approval from the Colonial Secretary to build a coal depot at the end of the jetty. This coal wharf was a square measuring 91ft by 91ft. Hodoul Island, which had been built in 1829 by the French Corsair Jean François Hodoul (1765-1835) on a submerged reef on the shore side of the inner harbour for use as a careenage was leased to Dr. Henry Brooks (1831-1920). It had the capacity to hold some 2,000 tonnes of coal which was imported from Cardiff, Wales. Coal was certainly a very lucrative business, considering the large number of steam ships that came to drop anchor at Port Victoria. An islet measuring 73 feet by 86 feet at the end of the pier, called coal shed island was leased to Felix Desire Cheyron (1840-1896) who was the French Consular agent from Marseilles where the Messageries Maritimes was based. In 1898, after the death of Cheyron, the Imperial Government bought the coalshed islet for £1,030 with a view of turning Port Victoria into a Naval Coaling Station. The first commercial enterprise to establish in Victoria was no other than a coconut fibre factory. In early 1874, a French mariner named Léopold Auguste Charles Pallu decided to come to Seychelles to make use of all the tonnes of coconut husks that were accumulating on coconut estates on Mahé. He installed a coir fibre mill on the tract of land (which was later called Gordon Square and is now known as Freedom Square) that had been partly created by the avalanche of 1862. His modest enterprise which supplied the local market with ropes and cordage was unfortunately short-lived. “L’usine Pallu” closed in 1880. Apparently, the location was already being considered as the “industrial zone” because in 1883, another French man named Paul-Louis Guérard created the first soap factory on the same site. In 1891, Edouard De Saint-Jorre bought the business which prospered well into the early 20th century. In 1875, the St. John of the Cross Hospital opened at Le Chantier (on the actual site of the National House). The hospital was in the charge of the Sisters of Saint Joseph De Cluny.

By 1879, the town of Victoria had quite a few licensed commercial and business establishments that catered to the multifarious needs of its inhabitants. There were retailers (K.A.Narainasamy, K.M.Pillay &Co, L.Felicie, Sinapapoulle & Co, V. Westergreen), a jeweller (E. Forget), a watchmaker (N. Loizeau), spirit seller (K.S Naiken & Co), four hotels owned respectively by (F. Maure, H. Longaille, C. Moustache, A. Jouanis), barbers (Poonoosamy, Irlapin), a cooper (J. L. Marion), a druggist (T. Pasnin), a tinsmith (L. Renaud) and even an auctioneer (T. Doffay) -among others, like tobacco retailers, hawkers and sellers of cakes.

With the constant increase of lodging houses, taverns, residential buildings and even houses of ill-repute in the town, on November 11, 1881, Lieutenant- Governor of Mauritius Frederick Napier Broome (1842-1896) saw the imperative need to introduce an ordinance “To regulate the construction of buildings in the Town of Victoria, in the island of Mahé, one of the Seychelles (Act 31 of 1881). Article 3 specified that “No kitchen shall be erected in wood in any part of the Town; and no kitchen already built of wood shall be repaired except with uninflammable materials”. Article 8 stipulated that “No building shall newly built in the town of Victoria unless the ground floor thereof be raised at least thirty centimeters above the level of the footway in the streets, and if there is no footway, above the level of the street itself”. Elsewhere in the ordinance, it was emphasised that the room of every dwelling house should be in every part at least two metres and seventy-five centimetres in height from the floor to the ceiling, or to the point from which the roof sprang. A person intending to erect, rebuilt or make alterations to any buildings within the Town of Victoria was under obligation to give notice of his intention in writing to the Board of Civil Commissioners. To minimise the risk of fire, it was illegal to erect any house or building, covered, or lined with straw, leaves or any thatch whatsoever. Therefore, Act 31 of 1881 informs us that as of 1881, all buildings or houses in the town of Victoria would be constructed of masonry and coral limestone. Such a building is the old former Supreme Court Building which now houses the National Museum of History. It is indisputably the oldest building in the Seychelles. It was constructed in 1885 during the time of Civil Commissioner Arthur Cecil Stuart Barclay (1843-1890), to provide accommodations for the New Oriental Bank Company.

Pursuant to an agreement with the Government, it was the company itself which undertook the erection of the building - and in order to gain space, a large portion of sea land had to be reclaimed. The extent of land on which the building was situated was 447 feet long, 292 feet broad at the wide end, and 113 feet broad at the narrow end. Although the land was raised considerably, at high tide part of it was underwater some 5 feet and was hardly dry at low tide. The building was constructed with limestone coral and timber. Ironwork was largely used in the construction. The roof was covered with red tiles and the pillars of the gallery were of iron. Its estimated cost was R120,000. A stipulation in the lease agreement was that the bank paid the Government a nominal rent of R50 per annum.

The New Oriental Bank moved in the building which a shareholder of the company considered “too large for present or probably any future requirements of a banking institution...” in mid-1887. However, a few years later, on June 17, 1892, the bank closed. The land reverted to the Government, and the building which the Bank was entitled to remove was sold to the Government for R30,000.

In 1893, during the administration of Thomas Risely Griffith, the Eastern Telegraph Company rented a section of the building to use as offices until August of 1894. The company was laying submarine cables to connect Seychelles with Mauritius and Zanzibar.

Late in 1894, the Treasury and Customs Department offices were transferred to the ground floor of the right wing of the building. The Judicial department was transferred to the entire upper portion of the building. This consisted of the Judge’s Court, the Judge’s Chambers and the Magistrate’s Court. The Police Department was located beneath, on the ground floor of the left wing. In order to accommodate the premises to the new requirements, certain alterations and modifications were effected. Wooden partitions which divided the upper portion were removed and glass doors were installed to all the upper external openings of the Courts and offices. A major additional feature was a stone staircase at the back of the building to form the entrance to the Judicial Department.

For these alterations and modifications, the Legislative Council approved a special vote of R2,500. It was here on the first floor of this building that Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott (1857-1941) took his oath of office as the Governor of Seychelles on November 9, 1903. For many years during the 20th century, the building was known as the Treasury and Courthouse Building.

It was also in 1881 that Legislation was passed to establish a Savings Bank in Victoria. However, it was an ambitiously premature decision because the economy of the islands was such that virtually no inhabitant of the Seychelles had anything much to save. It would be over a decade later that a Savings Bank opened in the post office building.

In the early 1880s, two illustrious visitors arrived in Seychelles. The British general Charles George Gordon (1833-1885), who fought in the Crimean War 1853-1856, arrived at Mahé on September 11, 1818 and stayed in Victoria for almost a month in order to assess the defensive measures of the islands in the event of an enemy attack. In 1885, the year he was killed in Khartoum, Sudan, the broad level expanse of land which was partly created by the great and terrible landslide (lavalas) of October 12, 1862 was surrounded by the sea on three sides. During the colonial era, Gordon Square was the most popular venue for fancy fairs, football matches, sports activities, auctions and political rallies – and of course, as many of our septuagenarians would still remember, the annual Empire Day celebrations on May 24 (Queen Victoria’s Birthday). Gordon Square (since 1978, renamed Freedom Square) is among the most popular landmark feature of Victoria.

A peripatetic lady painter Marianne North (1830-1890) arrived in Seychelles on October 13, 1882 and spent three months in Victoria where she stayed as a guest of the Chief Civil Commissioner, Arthur Cecil Stuart Barkly (1843-1890) at Government House. She has left us with a magnificent and thrilling view of the Victoria Coast in 1883.

That dreadful year of 1883, when Victoria was once again struck with tragedy. An epidemic of smallpox, Variola Vera. On June 5, 1883, HMS Undine arrived in Port Victoria from Zanzibar. Aboard the ship was a passenger who had contracted the virulent disease. Wrongfully diagnosed as chickenpox, the disease soon spread across town and suburban neighbourhoods killing dozens of people and creating panic among the population. The Board of health imposed strict regulations pertaining to the burial of persons who died of the smallpox disease. The body had to be put into a coffin, the bottom of which was lined with a thick layer of quick lime or coarsely powdered charcoal. The shroud in which the body was wrapped had to be soaked with solution of hypochlorite of soda or carbolic acid, and the coffin then filled up with coarsely powdered charcoal and the lid duly fastened down.

In 1882, it was expedient to declare the government pier a legal quay for the loading and unloading of goods. At that time, the pier started from the corner of Albert Street where the Queen’s warehouse was located. No goods were allowed to be unladen from or shipped on board any vessel, mail steamers excepted, before 6am and after 4pm except by special permission of the collector of Dues and Taxes, goods imported had to be removed from the Quay within 48 hours.

In 1882, the town of Victoria was already discarding more than a few of its old buildings that had been erected during the last years of “L’Etablissement”. For example, near State House Avenue was an old stone building, covered with shingles, floored, having thirteen rooms pierced with twenty-five openings, measuring fourteen metres, five centimetres long by nine metres eight centimetres long by nine metres eight centimetres large, four metres fifty-five centimetres high. That, together with six other buildings in Victoria was in a “sale by Levy” on Thursday December 21, 1882 at the valuation of R8,500.
http://www.nation.sc/article.html?id=260131

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Re: Victoria, the capital city of Seychelles, is celebrating its 240th anniversary this year.

Post  Sirop14 on Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:19 pm

250 years of settlement in Seychelles Country gears up to celebrate milestone event

28-August-2018


President Danny Faure has appointed a National Committee comprising nine (9) members to coordinate and organise celebrations in commemoration of 250 years of settlement in Seychelles to be celebrated on August 27, 2020.

The National Committee was revealed to the media yesterday at State House where the president met members to discuss what he has termed as a golden opportunity for the country.

Yesterday marked 248years since the first settlers arrived in Seychelles.

As historian Tony Mathiot, also a member of the committee, recounts, a group of 28 settlers arrived in Seychelles on August 27, 1770. The first settlers who were of (Asian, African and French descent) the dishonesty of politicians, historians the African were slaves, the Indian were Coulis workers, like in Mauritius and the French were first generation French from France having lived in Mauritius and Reunion - settled on St. Anne island initially since the island of Mahé was covered in thick foliage and forests.

He noted that they moved to Mahé in 1771.

The committee consists of officials from different sectors and organisations who will work together to plan and execute activities to mark the historic celebration.

President Faure appointed Sherin Francis, the chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, as the chairperson of the committee.

Other members include Mayor of Victoria David André, chief executive of the Seychelles National Youth Council (SNYC) Alvin Laurence, chairperson of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA) Sybille Cardon and chief executive of the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB) Cindy Vidot.

Also sitting on the committee are the chairperson of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI) Oliver Bastienne, special advisor in the department of Culture Emmanuel D’Offay as well as chairperson of the National Council for the Elderly Jeanine Chung-Faye.

Mrs Francis said she is excited to be a member of the organising committee as it will mark a historic and symbolic era in our history.

“We want all Seychellois and visitors to look forward to the celebration as it is a milestone in our history. It marks a quarter of a millennium,” she said.

Mrs Francis added that the committee will start planning the event as soon as possible and that they will involve all sectors in the activities to ensure that the celebrations are memorable.

Once the committee has decided on the activities, the plan will have to be approved by the government.

Mrs Francis noted that the marketing campaign for the celebrations will be launched as soon as approval has been given.

Mr Mathiot said locals and tourists alike can expect a monument to be erected on St. Anne island where the settlers first disembarked.

“It will be a grand celebration since we are celebrating the birth of our nation and our civilisation. It will be an opportunity to learn more about our history and our origins. We should all have some national pride as Seychellois to celebrate this unique and historical celebration,” he said.
http://www.nation.sc/article.html?id=260178

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Re: Victoria, the capital city of Seychelles, is celebrating its 240th anniversary this year.

Post  Sirop14 on Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:40 pm

Victoria – The last decade of the 19th century
The 1890s were marked by a progression of events that would define the social and economic development of the capital town right through the mid-20th century. TONY MATHIOT, on behalf of the Victoria committee, takes us on a journey of enlightenment.

When Thomas Risely Griffith assumed the post of Administrator of the Seychelles on February 18, 1889, he immediately became aware that one of his urgent responsibilities was to arbitrate the acrimonious rivalry that existed between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church. This was in regard to grants for themselves and grant-in-aids for their schools. Both churches claimed that the other was receiving an unfair portion of the grant to finance their respective mission. As for the government grant-in-aid, it had been in application since 1874 when only four schools were eligible. In 1890, there were twenty-six schools in Seychelles, with twenty for the Catholic Mission and six for the Anglican Church. Thus, Victoria had four schools: St. Louis College for boys and the St Joseph de Cluny Convent school for girls owned by the Catholic Mission; the St Paul’s school for boys and the St Paul’s school for girls owned by the Anglican Church. Inhabitants of the Roman Catholic faith sent their children to the Catholic Mission schools and inhabitants of the Anglican Faith sent their children to the Protestant schools. It was not the least surprising then that Griffith felt that an undenominational school would help to alleviate the polarized dichotomy between the two churches. So, in June of 1890 the Board of Education agreed to purchase the St Paul’s School for boys for the sum of R1,800. After extensive refurbishments, a free government primary school opened in Victoria on March 2, 1891, with 59 boys on the roll.
http://www.nation.sc/article.html?id=260605

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Re: Victoria, the capital city of Seychelles, is celebrating its 240th anniversary this year.

Post  Sirop14 on Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:03 pm

‘Victoria, 240 years’ book launched
http://www.nation.sc/article.html?id=260809

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Re: Victoria, the capital city of Seychelles, is celebrating its 240th anniversary this year.

Post  Sirop14 on Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:26 am

Victoria at the dawn of the 20th century
http://www.nation.sc/article.html?id=260978

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Re: Victoria, the capital city of Seychelles, is celebrating its 240th anniversary this year.

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