BBC, Tuesday 20 March 2001, 16:18 GMT
A chronology of key events:
1502 - Portugal's Vasco da Gama explores the Seychelles.
1768 - French planters and their slaves begin settling in the Seychelles.
1794 - Britain annexes the Seychelles, which are then administered from Mauritius.
1903 - Seychelles become a separate British colony.
1948 - First elections to a legislative council take place.
1964 - First political parties are formed: France Albert Rene's socialist Seychelles People's United Party and James Mancham's pro-business Seychelles Democratic Party.
1966, 1970 - The Seychelles Democratic Party wins legislative elections.
1976 - Seychelles become independent and are governed by a coalition, with James Mancham as president and France Rene as prime minister.
1977 - Rene's supporters stage a coup against Mancham ostensibly without Rene's knowledge; Rene installed as president.
1978 - Rene enacts a new constitution, turning the Seychelles into a one-party state.
1981 - An attempt by South African-based mercenaries to restore Mancham to power is defeated with the help of Tanzanian troops.
1982 - Army mutiny thwarted.
1991 - President Rene restores multiparty democracy.
1993, 1998 - Rene re-elected in multiparty ballots.
1998 - Rene's Seychelles Progressive People's Front wins 30 out of 34 seats in parliamentary elections.