Praslin’s Origins

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Praslin’s Origins

Of the 115 islands that make up the Seychelles, one stands out as having its most iconic features and distinctions: Praslin, the “Isle of Palms,” as christened by explorer Lazare Picault in the mid-1700s...

Praslin’s Origins and the Garden of Eden Theory

On this small but stunningly diverse island, the beaches merely scratch the surface of the wonders to be found here. And what you might have thought was simply a sun, sea and sand holiday destination soon gives way to the notion that there’s a much more primal, even mystic, quality about the island – one that defies explanation for most.

The famous British general, Charles George Gordon, could be counted among those who would attempt to figure out why, and he arrived at a startling conclusion. During his time in the Seychelles in 1881, he became convinced that the Vallée de Mai, the ancient palm forest on Praslin, was the original Garden of Eden.

Even at that time - when intrepid exploration of the unknown world offered all sorts of unprecedented discoveries – it might have sounded preposterous, but General Gordon’s argument was not without logical deductions.

One of the first criterion for any potential location of a biblical Garden of Eden on earth, he rationalised, was that it had to be ancient. While all other mid-ocean islands are either coral-based or volcanic (relatively ‘new’ formations on a geological scale), the Seychelles are the only such island group of granite formation, making them as ancient as the main continents themselves. Gordon believed, as do many scientists today, that Seychelles pulled apart from Gondwana, the ancient landmass that broke up to form the seven continents as we know them today.

Gordon also believed that a great river once flowed out of the area of Seychelles to become the four rivers mentioned in the Bible: the Euphrates, the Tigris, the Nile and the Jordan. The ice that covered much of the earth melted, raising the oceans to cover most of the world, but according to Gordon, the Garden of Eden could have survived had the mountains of Seychelles originally been between 8,000 and 10,000 feet high.

This incredible coincidence, that such a tiny archipelago could be formed from the largest peaks of a submerged mountain range on an ancient continent, comprised one pillar of this theory.

The other related to the coco de mer, the rare palm that grows naturally only on Praslin. The double-sided coconuts the female palms produce - the largest seed of the world’s plant kingdom – closely resemble the shape and form of a woman’s pelvic region. Strangely enough, the male coco de mer palms grow an equally suspicious (and large) phallic-like catkin. Gordon thus reasoned that the coco de mer palm must have been the real forbidden fruit tree of life, with its erotic nut being the “true seat of carnal desires.”

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