The Republic of Seychelles is an island country spanning an archipelago of 155 islands in the Indian Ocean. It is about 1,500 km (930 mi) east of the African continent, and spreads out over a vast area of ocean north of Madagascar. Independent from the UK since 1976, the country nevertheless is far more French after years of early French settlement and influence. Since independence, tourism has grown dramatically to become the primary industry of Seychelles, overtaking plantation agriculture. This 2010 image of some of the northern Seychelles islands covers an area of 54 x 66 km (34 x 41 mi). Photo courtesy of NASA.