Introduction of
Solomon Islands


Introduction/ History of Solomon Islands

Archaeological and linguistic evidence shows that Solomon Islands was settled between 4000 – 5000 years ago by people from Southeast Asia. From here, a group continued the east and south migration, settling in what is now known as Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and the Polynesian islands of Tonga and Samoa. It was not one way though, as archaeologists point to a return migration of mainly Polynesians sometime later. Their descendants now live in atolls that border Solomon Islands’ northern and eastern boundaries.

It was not until the 16th Century that the European world came to learn of Solomon Islands. Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendana made the first contact in 1568. When he discovered alluvial gold on Guadalcanal, he thought he had found the source of King Solomon’s great wealth and named it the Isles of Solomon. It was through his influence that many of the islands in the archipelago bear original Spanish names. After Mendana, others – mainly Dutch and French explorers – made forays into the group. Then it became the turn of the Germans and British.

The islands of New Georgia, Guadalcanal, Makira and Malaita became a British protectorate in 1893 with Tulagi proclaimed the protectorate capital in 1896. The islands of Santa Cruz, Rennell and Bellona were included between 1898 and 1899. The Shortlands, Choiseul, Santa Isabel and Ontong Java were not roped into the protectorate until 1900.

Japanese aggression turned the islands into a theatre of war during World War II. Both the Japanese and Allied Forces suffered huge losses in land, sea and aerial battles. Over 60 years later, the archipelago is littered with war wrecks and some of the country’s infrastructure today, like airstrips and roads, owe their existence to the war.

Solomon Islands gained independence from Britain on July 7, 1978. Twenty years later in 1998, tribal rivalries erupted into armed hostilities on Guadalcanal, which prompted Australia and its Pacific Islands neighbors to launch RAMSI, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, in July 2003. Hostilities have ended and the nation is back on track with an elected government in power.

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