Solomon Islands Facts

Solomon Islands Facts and History


The Solomon Islands, also known as the Solomon Islands for short, consist of 999 islands, of which only around 345 are inhabited. They are located in the western Pacific and border on Papua New Guinea in the northwest and Vanuatu in the southeast. Southwest of the Solomon Islands is Australia. The Solomon Islands belong to the Melanesian part of the Pacific; Melanesia means “black islands”. Melanesia also includes Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and the Fiji Islands.

The Solomon Islands are extremely diverse in terms of population, they are inhabited by Melanesians, Micronesians, Polynesians and Papua New Guinea. The islands have rainforests, waterfalls, lagoons, coral reefs and active volcanoes, as well as gold deposits.

The islands have hardly been discovered by international tourism, which makes travel exciting.

After Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands are the second largest state in the South Pacific. It should be mentioned that the residents of the Solomon Islands have the highest malaria rate in the world, around a third of the population gets the disease every year.

Name of the country Solomon Islands, Solomon Islands
Form of government The Solomon Islands are a parliamentary-democratic monarchy in the Commonwealth of Nations
Location In the southwest of the Pacific, east of Papua New Guinea; approximately from 5 ° to 12 ° south latitude and from 154 ° to 162 ° east longitude
National anthem “God Save Our Solomon Islands”
Population About 550,000 (Credit: Countryaah: Solomon Islands Population)
Ethnicities Melanesians 93%, Polynesians 4%, Micronesians 1.5%, Europeans 0.8%, Chinese 0.3%, others 0.4%
Religions The main religion is Christianity with the following groups: Anglicans 45%, Catholics 18%, United Methodists and Presbyterians 12%, Baptists 9%, Seventh-Day Adventists 7%, Protestants 5% and Native Faiths 4%.
Languages The official language is English. However, it is only spoken by 1-2% of residents. Pidgin-English and Tok-Pidgin, so-called contact languages, are the most widely used languages. There are also around 120 native languages. The Solomon Islands, like the neighboring state of Vanuatu, belong to a region with the highest density of different languages.
Capital Honiara, with about 75,000 residents
Surface 28,370 km²
Highest mountain Mount Makarakomburu, with a height of 2,447 m
Longest river Wairaha River
Largest lake in area Lake Tegano, with an area of about 155 km²
International license plate SLB
Currency Solomon Dollar, SI $
Time difference to CET + 10 h
International phone code + 677
Mains voltage, frequency 230/240 V, 50 Hertz
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .sb

Solomon Islands: history

Early history

The first people settled in the Solomon Islands around 30,000 years ago.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, a sedentary settlement with agriculture took place about 6,000 years ago from the northwest and Papua New Guinea. The settlers brought the knowledge of animal husbandry and sailing with them to the islands.

By 1600 AD, Polynesians and groups of the Lapita culture invaded from the east. Since the main islands were already occupied by the Melanesian ethnic groups, the newcomers settled on the remote, small outer islands. The islands were repeatedly attacked from Tonga and Tokelau, which led to a hostile attitude towards any foreigner.

The Europeans are coming

In 1568 the Spaniard Mendana de Neira (1541-1595) discovered the islands he called the Solomon Islands while searching for the legendary southern continent. He enters this island world in Estrella Bay on Santa Isabel, the longest of the Solomon Islands. It wasn’t until 1595 that he returned from Peru to colonize the islands. On the trip he also discovered the Marquesa Islands, which are now part of French Polynesia.

He failed. He died of malaria only a few weeks after his arrival and the Spaniards left again. Since he had marked the islands too far east on the maps, they fell into oblivion for the next two hundred years.

In 1767 the British captain Philip Cartaret reached the Solomon Islands. A year later he was followed by Bourgainville, who rediscovered the island of Choiseul and gave it its name. These two were followed by traders, whalers and human catchers. As a result, the natives became more and more aggressive. The islands received a reputation for being the most unfriendly place in the Pacific.

Around 1830 traders came to the islands regularly to exchange sandalwood, bêche-de-mere and tortoiseshell.

The Bêche-de-Mer sea cucumber, which lies in shallow water and is easy to harvest, is and has been a delicacy and aphrodisiac for the people of China. It used to be and is still an important commodity today.

At the same time, the first missionaries set up on the islands. The final Christianization was achieved by the Anglicans from New Zealand. Fearing the wild population on the islands, they proselytized selected people from the Solomon Islands on the Norfolk Islands, who were later to spread Christian teaching on the Solomon Islands.

Between 1870 and 1910 around 30,000 locals were deported. They ended up on plantations in Fiji and Queensland, Australia. Of these, only a few later returned to the Solomon Islands.

19th and 20th centuries

In 1885 the northern islands, including Santa Isabel and Choiseul, were placed under German protectorate. In 1893 the southern islands were placed under British protectorate.

The Germans ceded a large part of the islands to the British between 1898 and 1900. Japan occupied the islands in 1942. A year later, the Americans moved in. From 1952 the islands were administered autonomously. It was not until July 7, 1976 that the Solomon Islands became independent from Great Britain.


In 1980 the first elections after independence took place.

Ethnic clashes developed on the main island of Guadalcanal between the native residents of the islands and newcomers from the island of Malaita.

In 1999 these were expelled by the GRA, Guadalcanal Revolution Army, whereupon a state of emergency was declared.

A peace treaty was accepted in 2000, but on July 24, 2003 the government had to call in international military for help. The operation was led by the Australians. In the same year the islands were hit by tsunamis. Images went through the media of the world showing completely devastated islands. However, since the islands could not be reached by plane, the world thought for days that the islanders who had saved themselves in caves had perished.

Solomon Islands Facts