National Day in Seychelles is observed on 29 June in commemoration of the islands’ independence from the British Empire in 1976. 18 June had been called National Day in Seychelles prior to 2015. But now, that date is celebrated as Constitution Day.
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Independence was long in coming to Seychelles, which perhaps, makes the islanders value it the more. Before European colonisers arrived, Seychelles traded valuable coco de mer nuts with Arab traders, and the island were briefly sighted by the Portuguese in the early 1500’s. However, it was not until the 1700’s that France finally colonised the islands, also bringing in African slave labour.
The British took control of Seychelles in the early 1800’s. They abolished slavery in 1835, and also brought freed slaves rescued off Arab trading vessels to settle on the islands. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that a real independence movement sprang up, and after overwhelming support for independence in the 1974 election, Britain agreed to let Seychelles go free on 29 June, 1976.