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This chapter provides a brief historical background and a description of major events in Seychelles. It also provides basic political, economic, and social data arranged in the following categories: polity, economy, population, purchasing power parities, life expectancy, ethnic groups, capital, political rights, civil liberties, and status. The chapter discusses the progress and decline of political rights and civil liberties in Seychelles. Seychelles has few natural resources and little industry. The economy is statist and the Seychelles Marketing Board has a monopoly on a wide range of staple foods. Seychelles, an archipelago of some 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, was a French colony until 1810. It was then colonized by Britain until independence in 1976. The Seychelles National Party of the Reverend Wavel Ramakalwan emerged as the strongest opposition group by espousing economic liberalization, which Rene had resisted. President Rene also heads the country's defense and interior ministries.