Seychelles, officially the Republic of Seychelles, is an archipelagic state and country consisting of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. Its capital and largest city, Victoria, is 1,500 kilometres east of mainland Africa. Nearby island countries and territories include the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, and the French overseas departments of Mayotte and Réunion to the south; and Maldives and the Chagos Archipelago (administered by the United Kingdom as the British Indian Ocean Territory) to the east. It is the least populated sovereign African country, with an estimated 2020 population of 100,092.
Seychelles was uninhabited prior to being encountered by Europeans in the 16th century. It faced competing French and British interests until coming under full British control in the late 18th century. Since proclaiming independence from the United Kingdom in 1976, it has developed from a largely agricultural society to a market-based diversified economy, characterized by rapidly rising service, public sector, and tourism activities. From 1976 to 2015, nominal GDP grew nearly 700%, and purchasing power parity nearly 1600%. Since the late 2010s, the government has taken steps to encourage foreign investment.
As of the early 21st century, Seychelles has the highest nominal per capita GDP of any African nation. It has the second-highest Human Development Index of any African country after Mauritius.
Seychellois culture and society is an eclectic mix of French, British, and African influences, with more recent infusions of Chinese and Indian elements. The country is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, and the Commonwealth of Nations.