The islands were uninhabited when they were officially discovered in 1771 during a French exploratory mission from Mauritius and named after Baron d’Arros, a French naval commander at the time. A small community of fewer than 20 Seychellois settled on the islands in the mid-1800s to establish a coconut plantation. By the early 1900s the community had grown to over 100 and more than 90% of the natural vegetation had been converted to coconut plantation. The islands’ inhabitants were also extracting guano, logging mangroves and curing fish and turtle meat for the local market. By the 1970s Asia was dominating the coconut oil market and most of the Outer Island plantations were abandoned. In 1974 D’Arros and St Joseph came under private ownership and soon afterwards coconut production ceased and discreet conservation policies were implemented. The D’Arros Research Centre was built in 1994 and tasked with conducting scientific research to improve the understanding and management of local marine and terrestrial environments. Today, the population on D’Arros numbers between 30 and 40 while the islands of the St Joseph Atoll are once again uninhabited.