The Seychelles was first colonised in the 18th century by the French who named the largest island, which later became Mahe, Isle de Séchelles in honour of the Minister of France, Viscount Jean Moreau de Séchelles. In 1814 the British defeated the French at the battle of Waterloo, and the following Treaty of Paris ceded the Seychelles to Britain.
Under British rule, estates were established for the production of food crops, cotton and sugar cane. The population on the islands grew to over 7000 by 1825. Independence from Britain was gained in 1976 when it became a republic in the Commonwealth.
Seychelles introduced a multiparty system of government in 1991 in which elections are held every five years.