Solomon Islands 

Getting There

From the West - London & Europe

There are many options to get to the Solomon Islands from the UK. Flights stopping over in Singapore, Manilla, Dubai which head over to Brisbane. It is a short three hour flight from Brisbane to Honiara. Some flights go through Port Moresby (Papua New Gunea). On average expect round about £650-800 for return flights.

From the East - USA

There are many carriers that will fly into Brisbane Australia via LA, and Honolulu. Flights normally cost $2000-2300us.

Early History

Indigenous Solomon Islanders have their own origin stories, differing between tribes and islands but commonly indicating that they originated from within the islands rather than arriving from somewhere far away.

The first official European contact was the sighting by Spanish explorer Mendana in 1568. It is said that he named the country Isle de Solomon after the riches of King Solomon and the biblical land of gold. Mendana was followed by missionaries, traders, labour recruiters and colonial administrators from many countries in Europe and Asia.

The British

In 1893, the British declared a protectorate over some of the islands in response to the German annexation of others. By 1900 Germany agreed to cede their interests to Britain and the Solomons came entirely under British rule.

In the early 20th century, several British and Australian companies began large scale coconut plantations on the islands and at around the same period missionaries arrived, converting many Solomon Islanders to Christianity.

A rise in nationalist sentiment following WWII eventually led to the country's independence in 1978.

World War II

World War II and its aftermath had a significant impact on the islands and people. There were heavy losses of life on all sides and names of key battle sites like Bloody Ridge, Red Beach, Skyline Ridge and Henderson Field remain to mark the brutal campaign.

Guadalcanal was invaded by the Japanese in July 1942 and being so close to Australia, the island was viewed as an important stronghold. At dawn on August 7, 1942 the American Navy fired on the island while Marines landed on the beaches. They caught the Japanese completely by surprise and swarmed ashore.

Elsewhere on the islands, the brutal fighting continued. A Japanese tactic was to take advantage of the honeycombed hills and hole up in the caves, pouring machine gun fire over approaching Marines.

After many months of constant combat, the Japanese withdrew completely in early 1943.

Recent

Following the war, Honiara was made the capital using infrastructure from the war to assist with its development.

In 1998, tribal rivalries erupted into armed conflict, prompting Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific Island neighbours to step in and negotiate peace and security. Assistance is still given today but with a new focus on community policing and sustainable development.

Population

The many islands that make up the Solomons are grouped into nine regions or provinces. Each region has their own provincial government and their own particular characteristics and customs. Honiara is the capital.

There is a small but growing population in the Solomon Islands of approximately 550,000 people. Solomon Islanders are predominantly Melanesian - about 95% - with smaller Polynesian, Micronesian, Chinese and European communities.

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Where are the Solomon Islands?