|HMS Sheba (1941-45)|
|Part of||Aden Station|
|Garrison/HQ||RN Base, Seychelles, Mahé, Seychelles.|
Seychelles was a naval command and base of the British Royal Navy. At various times it encompassed a shore base, naval formations and other ships not attached to other formations.
Seychelles was uninhabited prior to being encountered by Europeans in the 16th century. It faced competing French and British interests until coming under full British control in the late 18th century. The earliest recorded sighting by Europeans took place on 15 March 1503, recorded by Thomé Lopes aboard Rui Mendes de Brito, part of the 4th Portuguese India Armada commanded by the Portuguese Admiral Vasco da Gama. Da Gama's ships passed close to an elevated island, probably Silhouette Island and the following day Desroches Island. The earliest recorded landing was in January 1609, by the crew of the Ascension under Captain Alexander Sharpeigh during the fourth voyage of the British East India Company.
A transit point for trade between Africa and Asia, the islands were said to be occasionally used by pirates until the French began to take control starting in 1756 when a Stone of Possession was laid on Mahé by Captain Nicholas Morphey. The islands were named after Jean Moreau de Séchelles, Louis XV's Minister of Finance. The British frigate Orpheus commanded by Captain Henry Newcome arrived at Mahé on 16 May 1794, during the War of the First Coalition. Terms of capitulation were drawn up and the next day Seychelles was surrendered to Britain. Jean Baptiste Quéau de Quincy, the French administrator of Seychelles during the years of war with the United Kingdom, declined to resist when armed enemy warships arrived. Instead, he successfully negotiated the status of capitulation to Britain which gave the settlers a privileged position of neutrality.
Britain eventually assumed full control upon the surrender of Mauritius in 1810, formalised in 1814 at the Treaty of Paris. Seychelles became a crown colony separate from Mauritius in 1903. Independence was granted in 1976.
- Admiralty, British (December 1943). "Flag Officers in Commission". The Navy List (Bi Monthly) Vol III. London, England.: H.M.S.O. p. 2021.
- Admiralty, British (December 1943). "Ships or Ships Borne in The Royal Navy". The Navy List (Quarterly) Vol III. London, England.: H.M.S.O. p. 2983.