The replica was unveiled by President Wavel Ramkalawan, the Seychelles National Heritage Resource Council and the International Council on Monument and Sites (ICOMOS). (Seychelles Nation)
A replica of the Stone of Possession was unveiled at La Poudriere Lane, Mahe, on Tuesday, November 1 to commemorate 267 years since Captain Nicolas Morphey placed a boulder near the same area to declare Seychelles a French colony.
The French were the first to settle on the islands, although they were discovered previously by other nations’ seafarers as well.
The replica, done by local artist James August, was unveiled by President Wavel Ramkalawan, the Seychelles National Heritage Resource Council and the International Council on Monument and Sites (ICOMOS), a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to preserving the country’s national monuments.
The original Stone of Possession is a squared granite stone measuring 57cm by 57cm bearing the Coat of Arms of France and the name Iles de Sechelles (Sechelles Islands) carved within. The Fleur de Lys is engraved in the stone, which signified that France has taken pre-emptive possession of the islands.
|The original Stone of Possession can be seen in the National Museum of History. (Gerard Larose) Photo License: CC-BY
In his address, the secretary general of the Institute of Culture, Heritage and the Arts, David Andre, said, “This replica of the Stone of Possession acts as a link to our past and a permanent reminder of our shared history and heritage for generations to come. It reminds us of our existence and the determination of our forefathers to create the nation we are today.”
He added that this will create a connection between the people and its past history and that such monuments help people to appreciate the country’s past and the progress and development made over time.
Andre talked about the history of the Stone and recognised that it was the first man-made structure to be laid on the Seychelles Islands and would lead 15 years later to the settlements on the islands of Mahe and Ste Anne.
The original Stone of Possession was found in 1894 by a Frenchman Henry Le Frey among the debris on La Poudriere Lane and understanding its historical significance, he wrapped it and sent it by ferry to the Musée de Paris in France.
Fortunately, the Police Commissioner at the time was informed about this and contacted the ferry and had the stone returned. The original Stone of Possession, one of the oldest objects in the history of Seychelles, can be seen in the National Museum of History.