Solomon Islands - Melanesia - Pacific Ocean
Together they cover a land mass of 28,400 square kilometres (10,965 sq mi).
The capital is Honiara, located on the island of Guadalcanal.
The Solomon Islands are believed to have been inhabited by Melanesian people for thousands of years.
The United Kingdom established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s.
Some of the most bitter fighting of World War II occurred in the Solomon Islands campaign of 1942-45, including the Battle of Guadalcanal.
Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later.
The country is a Commonwealth realm.
Since 1998 ethnic violence, government misconduct and crime have undermined stability and civil society.
In June 2003 (following the Invasion of Iraq) an Australian-led 'multinational' force, the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias.
The North Solomon Islands are divided between the independent Solomon Islands and Bougainville Province in Papua New Guinea.
It is believed that Papuan speaking settlers began to arrive around 30,000 BC.
Austronesian speakers arrived circa 4,000 BC also bringing cultural elements such as the outrigger canoe.
It is between 1,200 and 800 BC that the ancestors of the Polynesians, the Lapita people, arrived from the Bismarck Archipelago with their characteristic ceramics.
The first European to discover the islands was the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira, coming from Peru in 1568.
Missionaries began visiting the Solomons in the mid-19th century.
They made little progress at first, because "blackbirding" (the often brutal recruitment of labourers for the sugar plantations in Queensland and Fiji) led to a series of reprisals and massacres.
The evils of the labour trade prompted the United Kingdom to declare a protectorate over the southern Solomons in 1893.
This was the basis of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate.
In 1898 and 1899, more outlying islands were added to the protectorate; in 1900 the remainder of the archipelago, an area previously under German jurisdiction, was transferred to British administration apart from the islands of Buka and Bougainville which remained under German administration as part of German New Guinea (until they were occupied by Australia in 1914, after the commencement of World War I).
Traditional trade and social intercourse between the western Solomon islands of Mono and Alu (the Shortlands) and the traditional societies in the south of Bougainville, however, continued without hindrance.
Under the protectorate, missionaries settled in the Solomons, converting most of the population to Christianity.
In the early 20th century, several British and Australian firms began large-scale coconut planting.
Economic growth was slow, however, and the islanders benefited little.
For more information about Solomon Islands see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon_Islands) see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, November 2008.
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
This information was correct in November 2008. E. & O.E.
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