Introduction of
Solomon Islands


Introduction/ About Solomon Islands

The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the most bitter fighting of World War II occurred on this archipelago. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, and endemic crime have undermined stability and civil society. In June 2003, then Prime Minister Sir Allan KEMAKEZA sought the assistance of Australia in reestablishing law and order; the following month, an Australian-led multinational force arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has generally been effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.


As part of the Melanesian group of islands that also includes Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji, Solomon Islands was first settled by hunters and gatherers from Southeast Asia. Seafarers followed later.

Through the tracing of a distinct type of pottery called Lapita, archaeologists say the original settlers of Polynesia in eastern Pacific trace their origins back to Melanesia, to the Solomon Islands actually.

Today, between 70 to 80 percent of the population lives a subsistence form of life in their small villages, settlements and islands away from the main urban centers.


It is believed that Papuan speaking settlers began arriving in the Solomon Islands around 30,000 BC. Austronesian speakers arrived BC. 4000 BC It is between 1200 and 800 BC that the ancestors of the Polynesians, the Lapita people, arrived from the Bismarck Archipelago and the Language history came forward.

Today the number of local languages listed for Solomon Islands is 74, of which 70 are living languages and 4 are extinct. Tok Pisin (Solomon Islands Pidgin), English and others were introduced lately and few others also evolved. The Count of the Number of Language spoken in the Solomon Islands is on rise.


Communal, clan and family ties remain strong in these islands with the existence of the Wantok system. A key part of the Melanesian culture, Wantok means people from the same language group who are blood relatives and part of the extended family support and assist one another.

Kastom, the Pidgin term for custom, refers to traditional beliefs and land ownership. Despite the predominance of devour Christians, traditional practices are still being followed, especially by those living in the interior of the country’s larger islands. Off the beaten path, village life remains much as it has been for centuries.

While some do welcome strangers, not all do so – so it is always a good practice to ask local authorities first before venturing to visit these remote and far-flung areas.


About 95% of the populations are Christians. The principal religions are Church of Melanesia (Anglican) about 25%; Roman Catholic 19%; South Seas Evangelical 17%; United Church (Methodist) 11%; and Seventh Day Adventist 10%. More recently, new religions have made an impact notably the Bahai’s faith, Jehovah’s Witness, Assemblies of God and Baptist.


The economy of Solomon Islands is small, but growing strongly. The GDP per capita in 2006 was around US$775. Preliminary projections indicate that the economy grew by over 10 per cent in 2007. In 2009, the economy continues to grow as an open, market based economy, providing a stable base for a more prosperous Solomon Islands.

Around 80 per cent of working age people in Solomon Islands are engaged in the non-monetary (or subsistence) economy. This means that agriculture is one of the most important sectors of the economy.

Logging activities have recently been one of Solomon Islands most important sources of economic growth. But this source of growth is unsustainable. The country is therefore broadening the base of the economy, with mining, agriculture exports, fisheries, and tourism all being targeted for fast economic growth.

The security and safety that RAMSI brought to Solomon Islands in 2003 has also provided a strong base for economic growth. New investors in the country are now able to start businesses with a renewed sense of confidence and certainty about the future.

Processes for starting a new business in Solomon Islands are also more streamlined, with a new Foreign Investment Act allowing investment applications to be turned around usually within five working days. The introduction of a new Companies Act in 2009 will make it even simpler to start and operate a business in Solomon Islands.

And because of this, new businesses are already getting underway in the main sectors of the Solomon Islands economy. A gold mine on Guadalcanal is expected to start producing gold by early 2010. International airlines are now competing vigorously on routes to and from Solomon Islands. And the Solomon Taiyo company is producing tuna for export markets around the world.

With bountiful oceans, beautiful scenery, and rich mineral deposits, this is only the beginning for a new and revitalized Solomon Islands economy.


Solomon Islands follow the Westminster system of democracy with the British monarch retained as head of state, represented in the country by a Governor General.

The Prime Minister is head of government who leads a group of cabinet ministers.

The country’s 50 – seat parliament, perched on a ridge overlooking Honiara, sits several times a year. ment may be dissolved by majority vote of its members before the completion of its term.

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 of 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.

For local government, the country is divided into 10 administrative areas, of which nine are provinces, administered by elected provincial assemblies, and the 10th is the city of Honiara, administered a city council, headed by a mayor.

Land ownership is reserved for Solomon Islanders. At the time of independence, citizenship was granted to all persons whose parents are or were both British protected persons and members of a group, tribe, or line indigenous to the Solomon Islands.

The law provides that resident expatriates, such as the Chinese and Kiribati, may obtain citizenship through naturalization. Land generally is still held on a family or village basis and may be handed down from mother or father according to local custom.

The islanders are reluctant to provide land for non-traditional economic undertakings, and this has resulted in continual disputes over land ownership.

No military forces are maintained by the Solomon Islands, although the police force of nearly 500 includes a border protection element. The police also have responsibility for fire service, disaster relief, and maritime surveillance. The police force is headed by a commissioner, appointed by the Governor General and responsible to the Prime Minister.

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Solomon Islands Trade, Investment and Culture Office Hong Kong/ China