Malay and Arab sailors sailed through the Seychelles-archipelago on their way to Madagascar. Vasco da Gama landed on the Seychelles on his second voyage to the Indies (1502-’03).  The Seychelles were uninhabited when the British East India Company arrived on the archipelago in 1609. In 1742 the frenchman Lazare Picault landed on an island which he called Abondance, which was renamed two years later in Mahé. The French Compagnie des Indes claimed the islands officially in 1756 and called them Séchelles after the Minister of Finance of Louis XV, Moreau de Séchelles. It administered them as part of the colony of Mauritius. The first colonists arrived in 1770 on Saint Anne Island. After the Revolution the British ousted the french from most of the archipelago in 1794. They gained full control of the islands through the Treaty of Paris (1814) and changed the islands’ name from the French Séchelles to the Anglicized Seychelles.

In 1903 the Seychelles became a Crown Colony until self government was granted in 1975 and independence on 29 June 1976. They have remained a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.




Following the history of the islands from the point of view of heraldry, we meet first, in 1756, the french Compagnie Perpetuelle des Indes (1719-1770). After the liquidation of this company the islands were under the jurisdiction of the french Admiralty and shared the vicissitudes of the Ile de France (Mauritius) until the British definitely gained control of the islands in 1814. As it is, successively the coats of arms of the Company, the French Admiralty and the later coats of arms of the french administration were used. These coats of arms will be discussed in the essay about Mauritius, under the jurisdiction of which the Seychelles were in the time of  French as well as of British rule.

When the Seychelles were separated from Mauritius in 1903, a badge for the new Crown Colony was adopted. This consisted of a disc with a picture of the coast of Mahé with a Seychelles-palm (Lodoicea seychellarum – Palmæ) on the shore, some shrubs and an Aldabra giant Tortoise (Geochelone gigantea – Testudinidæ). On a listel in base is the motto  FINIS CORONAT OPUS (The Completion crowns the Work).


The badge was embellished and augmented in 1961. A second island was added, symbolizing the other 114 islands of the archipelago. In the Ocean a schooner symbolizes the traffic between the islands. Around the badge is a bordure with stylized waves and the title and motto of the colony.




By Royal Warrant of Queen Elizabeth II, dated 27 May 1976, an achievement was granted. It is:


Arms: A coast of the Indian Ocean, on the shore a Seychelles-palm and a Aldabra giant Tortoise, in the Ocean an island and a schooner, all proper.

Crest: On a steel helmet to the dexter, lambrequined parted per fess Gules and Azure, lined Argent, three waves Azure, Argent and Azure, and a hovering White-tailed Tropicbird (Phaeton lepturus  -  Phaetonidæ), proper.

Supporters: Two Indo-Pacific Sailfishes (Istiophorus Platypterus - Scombroidei) proper.

Motto:  FINIS CORONAT OPUS (The Completion crowns the Work).


ð see illustration in the top of this essay.


© Hubert de Vries 2008.12.23