Curieuse Island is a small granitic island (1.78 sq mi) in the Seychelles close to the north coast of the island of Praslin. Curieuse is notable for its bare red earth intermingled with the unique Coco de Mer palms, one of the cultural icons of the Seychelles, only being present on the two islands.
Originally named Ile Rouge due to the red coloured soil, in 1768 the French claimed possession of the island and named it after a schooner “La Curieuse” which was under the command of explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne. Like many of the Seychelles islands there was a native giant tortoise population that was quickly extirpated.
In 1771 sailors set fire to the island, intending to make harvesting the coco de mer nuts easier. The fire destroyed many of the islands forests and its native trees and today indications of the fire can still be seen nearly 250 years on.