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Solomon Islands is a nation in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea and is part of the Commonwealth of Nations. It consists of more than 990 islands, which together cover a land mass of 28,400 square kilometres.
Solomon Islands
( In Detail)
(adopted Nov. 18, 1977)
( In Detail)
National motto: To Lead is to Serve
image:LocationSolomonIslands.png
Official language English
Capital Honiara
Queen Elizabeth II
Governor-General Sir Nathaniel Waena
Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza
Area
- Total
- % water
Ranked 140th
28,450 km²
3.2%
Population
- Total 2004 (est based on 1999 census)
- Density
Ranked 160th
538,032
17/km²
HDI ( 2003) 0.594 ( 128th) – medium
Independence
- Date
From the UK
July 7, 1978
Currency Solomon Islands dollar
Time zone UTC +11
National anthem God Save Our Solomon Islands
Internet TLD .sb
Calling Code 677


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Contents

History
Politics
Provinces
Geography
Ecology
Economy
Language
Religion
National flag



History - Contents

The Solomon Islands have been inhabited by Melanesians for over 30,000 years. Polynesian settlers began to arrive in 4,000 BC. The first European to discover the islands was Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa in 1568.The United Kingdom established a protectorate over Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the most intense fighting of World War II occurred on these islands. The most significant of the Allied Forces' operations against the Japanese Empire Forces was launched August 14th, 1942 with simultaneous naval bombardments and amphibious landings on the Florida Islands at Tulagi and Red Beach on Guadalcanal.Primary target of these landings was the airfield under construction by the Japanese, to the east of the Lunga River and Mt Austen, on the flat plain-lands of Guadalcanal. The land battles of Guadalcanal became legendary. No less than 5 major sea battles took place in the waters of the Solomon Sea; including 'The Battle of Savo' and 'The Battle Of Santa Cruz', during which carrier-borne and land-based aircaft of both sides played important roles in the outcomes of the engagements. The strait between the Florida Island group and Guadalcanal became known as 'Iron Bottom Sound' due to the large amount of tonnage of vessels sunk there between August 1942 and March, 1943. (ref: Robert Ballard "Lost Ships Of Guadalcanal") This pivotal campaign was to become known as "The Turning Point" of the War in The Pacific.Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence was granted on July 7, 1978. Current issues include corruption, land relations, government deficits, deforestation, and malaria control.Continuing civil unrest led to an almost complete breakdown in normal activity: civil servants remained unpaid for months at a time, and cabinet meetings had to be held in secret to prevent local warlords from interfering. The security forces were unable to reassert control, largely because many police and security personnel are associated with one or another of the rival gangs. The country is therefore sometimes considered a failed state. [1]In July 2003 the Governor General of Solomon Islands issued an official request for international help, which was subsequently endorsed by the government. A sizable international security contingent of 2,200 police and troops, led by Australia and New Zealand, and with representatives from about 20 other Pacific nations began arriving the next month under Operation Helpem Fren, the Australian military contribution is known as Operation Anode.


Politics - Contents

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
Solomon Islands is a Constitutional Monarchy with Elizabeth I a Commonwealth Realm. The Queen is represented by the governor general, chosen by the Parliament for a 5-year term. The government is a parliamentary democracy with a unicameral Parliament and a ministerial system of government and is represented by a national Parliament of 50 members, elected for 4-year terms. However, Parliament may be dissolved by majority vote of its members before the completion of its term. Parliamentary representation is based on single-member constituencies. Suffrage is universal for citizens over age 18. The prime minister, elected by Parliament, chooses the other members of the cabinet. Each ministry is headed by a cabinet member, who is assisted by a permanent secretary, a career public servant, who directs the staff of the ministry.Solomon Islands governments are characterized by weak political parties and highly unstable parliamentary coalitions. They are subject to frequent votes of no confidence, and government leadership changes frequently as a result. Cabinet changes are common.


Provinces - Contents

Map of the Solomon Islands
Map of the Solomon Islands
The Solomon Islands are divided into 9 provinces and 1 town:
  • Central
  • Choiseul
  • Guadalcanal
  • Honiara, Town
  • Isabel
  • Makira-Ulawa
  • Malaita
  • Rennell and Bellona
  • Temotu
  • Western



Geography - Contents

Solomon Islands is a wide island nation that lies East of Papua New Guinea and consists of many islands: Choiseul, the Shortland Islands; the New Georgia Islands; Santa Isabel; the Russell Islands; Nggela (the Florida Islands); Malaita; Guadalcanal; Sikaiana; Maramasike; Ulawa; Uki; Makira ( San Cristobal); Santa Ana; Rennell and Bellona; the Santa Cruz Islands and three remote, tiny outliers, Tikopia, Anuta and Fataka.The distance between the most western and most eastern islands is about 1500 km. Especially the Santa Cruz Islands, north of Vanuatu, (of which Tikopia is part) are isolated at more than 200 km from the other islands. Volcanoes with varying degrees of activity are situated on some of the larger islands, while many of the smaller islands are simply tiny atolls covered in sand and palm trees. Bougainville is geographically part of the Solomon Islands, but politically Papua New Guinea.


Ecology - Contents

The Solomon Islands archipelago is part of two distinct terrestrial ecoregions. Most of the islands are part of the Solomon Islands rain forests ecoregion, which also includes the islands of Bougainville and Buka, which are part of Papua New Guinea. The Santa Cruz Islands, which lnounkotu


Economy - Contents

View of Honiara
View of Honiara
The bulk of the population depend on agriculture, fishing, and forestry for at least part of their livelihood. Most manufactured goods and petroleum products must be imported. The islands are rich in undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold. Economic troubles in Southeast Asia led to a steep downturn in the timber industry, and economic output declined by about 10% in 1998. The government instituted public service pay cuts and other retrenchments. The economy partially recovered in 1999 on the strength of rising international gold prices and the first full year of the Gold Ridge mining operation. However, the closure of the country's major palm oil plantation in mid-year cast a shadow over future prospects.


Language - Contents

Solomon Islanders speak 80 to 100 languages, the exact number depending on the definition. On the central islands, Melanesian languages are spoken, on the outliers Rennell and Bellona to the south, Tikopia, Anuta and Fataka to the far east, Sikaiana to the north east, and Luaniua ( Ontong Java, Lord Howe Atoll) to the north, Polynesian languages. Immigrant populations of Gilbertese (i-Kiribati) and Tuvaluans speak Micronesian languages. While English is the official language, the lingua franca is Solomons Pijin.


Religion - Contents

The religion of Solomon Islands is about 96% Christian (Anglican 45%, Roman Catholic 18%, United 12%, Baptist 10%, Seventh Day Adventist 7%, Other Christian 4%) and about 4% indigenous religious beliefs.


National flag - Contents

The national flag of Solomon Islands is divided diagonally by a thin yellow stripe from the lower hoist-side corner representing the sun; the upper triangle (hoist side) is blue representing the blue sky with five white five-pointed stars in an X pattern; the lower triangle is green representing the greeny patch of lands. The width exceeds the height of the flag by a ratio of 2:1.
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