Seychelles - That tourism is still in its developing stages shouldn't come as a surprise - the Seychelles' history as an inhabited land is rather short (pirates first found it 400 years ago). The French claimed the Seychelles in the 1750s and attempted to turn the islands into a spice colony. After the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, the Seychelles became part of the British Empire, where it remained until achieving independence in 1976. Following independence, it became an unlikely player in the Cold War. In 1977, the jet-setting, capitalist president was ousted by a socialist named Albert Rene, who became a client of more powerful Communist regimes. He's still in power, though he's changed his tune a bit, and after rejecting a tourist-based economy, he now embraces it.