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Mahe is the largest of the Seychelles Islands and contains Victoria, the country's capital, and one of its main tourist destinations. 90% of the country's population live in Mahe Island.
Mahe and her sister islands were not extensively explored until the 18th century though, in 1609, an English ship neared one of the islands during a storm. Investigating, sailors found huge tortoises, colorful birds, and fresh water. When the French began settling Mauritus in the early 1700s, they explored the islands, naming the largest on Mahe, after Mauritus' current governor.
In 1756, the islands were claimed for France, but it wasn't until 1770 that a citizen of Mauritus was given permission to start a settlement on the Seychelles islands at his own expense. With several fellow colonists and slaves, he landed on Saint Anne Island. Unable to make a successful go at it, however, he abandoned his efforts and the island two years later. During this time, colonists were sent to Mahe Island in an attempt to introduce spices and other crops for the purpose of improving France's spice trade.
By the end of the 1700s, Britain was making its presence known in the area and, by 1810, had wrested control of Mauritus and the Seychelles Islands from France. In 1903, the Seychelles Islands became an English colony apart from Mauritus. Two wars during the next 70 years devastated the economy of the islands, but also contributed to the formation of political organizations. In 1976, the new Republic of Seychelles elected its first president, but in 1977, he was deposed by his opponent and socialist rule continued until 1993 when a new constitution was established and free elections took place, making the Seychelles Islands independent.