Liberal Arts Blog — Indian Ocean (Part I): Seychelles, Maldives, Comoros
Liberal Arts Blog — Sunday is the Joy of Humor, Food, Travel, Practical Life Tips, and Random Stuff Day
Today’s Topic: Indian Ocean (Part I): Seychelles, Maldives, Comoros
I’ve never been to the Indian Ocean. Have you? This morning I decided to make three stops. The stories of these three island groups could hardly be more different. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
SEYCHELLES — “the least populated African country” (98,462) and uninhabited before the French arrived with enslaved Africans in the 18th century, is Anse Source d’Argent the most beautiful beach in the world?
1. Located in the “Somali Sea segment of the Indian Ocean.” About 1000 miles east of Kenya and 700 miles northeast of Madagascar. 90% of the population live on the island of Mahe, the location of its capital, Victoria. It has the highest nominal GDP per capita of any African nation and is the only one classified as a high income economy by the World Bank.
2. The islands were uninhabited when the French arrived with enslaved Africans. The British took over after the Napoleonic Wars. Slavery was abolished in 1835, The country gained independence from Britain in 1976.
3. The language of the islands is French-based Seychelles Creole. The predominant religion is Roman Catholicism (75%).
NB: The Anse Source d’Argent beach has been rated the most beautiful in the world. “The beach sparkles against a backdrop of enormous granite boulders, worn by time and weather. An offshore reef provides protection from ocean waves, making the turquoise water an ideal spot for swimming. Keep an eye out for endangered birds and giant tortoises!” (See fourth link below.)
THE MALDIVES — the “second least populous Asian country” (557,751) and the world’s lowest lying country (average ground elevation of 4 feet 11 inches), about 400 miles south southwest of India and Sri Lanka, will the country be under water soon?
1. “Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically dispersed sovereign states and the smallest Asian country as well as one of the smallest Muslim-majority countries by land area.”
2.“Male is the capital and the most populated city, traditionally called the “King’s Island” where the ancient royal dynasties ruled for its central location.”
3. “In the 12th century Islam reached the Maldivian Archipelago, which was consolidated as a sultanate, developing strong commercial and cultural ties with Asia and Africa. From the mid-16th century, the region came under the increasing influence of European colonial powers, with Maldives becoming a British protectorate in 1887. Independence from the United Kingdom came in 1965,”
NB: Will the entire population have to move to India or Australia for safety? “The difference between 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees (Celsius) is a death sentence for the Maldives.” (President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih).
THE COMOROS — “only country in the Arab world entirely in the southern hemisphere”
Three official languages: Chi comori, French, and Arabic. The island of Mayotte voted against independence from France and is now an overseas department of France, although the Republic of the Comoros still claims sovereignty. Pop: 888,456 (2021)
1. GDP per capita is a fraction of that of the Seychelles ($1300 versus $20,266) and the Maldives ($15,097)
2.“The Comoros was likely first settled by Ausronesisan/Malagsy peoples, followed by Swahili peoples, Bantu speakers from East Africa and seafaring Arab traders. It then became part of the French colonial empire during the 19th century before its independence in 1975.”
3. “Since then, it has experienced more than 20 coups or attempted coups, with various heads of state assassinated. Along with this constant political instability, it has one of the worst levels of income inequality of any nation, and ranks in the worst quartile on the Human Development index.”
NB: Religion: 99% Sunni Islam. Demographics: “97.1% ethnically Comorian, which is a mixture of Bantu, Malagasy, and Arab people.” Political instability has kept tourists away and driven many Comorans to Mayotte whose population is about 50% foreigners (mostly from the Comoros).
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“You’ve got to continue to grow, or you’re just like last night’s corn bread — stale and dry.” - Loretta Lynn
LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY:
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
Anything miscellaneous to share? Best trip you ever took in your life? Practical life tips? Random facts? Jokes? Or, what is the best cartoon you have seen lately? or in the last 10 years? or the last 50? Or what is your favorite holiday food? Main course? Dessert? Fondest food memories? Favorite foods to eat or prepare?
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your mind a memory that might otherwise disappear. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.