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Hotels of Solomon Islands

A hotel on Solomon Islands is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger on Solomon Islands hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms on Solomon Islands are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Solomon Islands hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Solomon Islands hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels on Solomon Islands have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels on Solomon Islands
An upscale full service hotel facility on Solomon Islands that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Solomon Islands hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels on Solomon Islands
Full service Solomon Islands hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels on Solomon Islands
Boutique hotels of Solomon Islands are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Solomon Islands boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels on Solomon Islands may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels on Solomon Islands
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Solomon Islands travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Solomon Islands focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels on Solomon Islands
Small to medium-sized Solomon Islands hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Solomon Islands traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Solomon Islands hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs on Solomon Islands
A bed and breakfast on Solomon Islands is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Solomon Islands bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Solomon Islands B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels on Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Solomon Islands hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels on Solomon Islands
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Solomon Islands hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels on Solomon Islands lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs on Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts on Solomon Islands often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Solomon Islands on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels on Solomon Islands
A Solomon Islands motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Solomon Islands for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Solomon Islands motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation on Solomon Islands

For the group of islands rather than the state, see Solomon Islands (archipelago).

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Solomon Islands
Flag of Solomon Islands
Coat of arms of Solomon Islands
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "To Lead is to Serve"
Anthem: God Save Our Solomon Islands
Royal anthem: God Save the Queen
Location of Solomon Islands
Location of Solomon Islands
and largest city
 / -9.467; 159.817
Official languages English
Ethnic groups (1999)
  • 94.5% Melanesian
  • 3.0% Polynesian
  • 1.2% Micronesians
  • 1.1% others
  • 0.2% unspecified
Demonym Solomon Islander
Government Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
• Governor-General
Frank Kabui
• Prime Minister
Manasseh Sogavare
Legislature National Parliament
• from the United Kingdom
7 July 1978
• Total
28,400 km (11,000 sq mi) (142nd)
• Water (%)
• 2015 estimate
642,000 (162nd)
• Density
18.1/km (46.9/sq mi) (200th)
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
• Total
$1.725 billion
• Per capita
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
• Total
$840 million
• Per capita
HDI (2015) Increase 0.515
low · 156th
Currency Solomon Islands dollar (SBD)
Time zone (UTC+11)
Drives on the left
Calling code +677
ISO 3166 code SB
Internet TLD .sb

Solomon Islands is a sovereign country consisting of six major islands and over 900 smaller islands in Oceania lying to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu and covering a land area of 28,400 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). The country's capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal. The country takes its name from the Solomon Islands archipelago, which is a collection of Melanesian islands that also includes the North Solomon Islands (part of Papua New Guinea), but excludes outlying islands, such as Rennell and Bellona, and the Santa Cruz Islands.

The islands have been inhabited for thousands of years. In 1568, the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña was the first European to visit them, naming them the Islas Salomón. Britain defined its area of interest in the Solomon Islands archipelago in June 1893, when Captain Gibson R.N., of HMS Curacoa, declared the southern Solomon Islands as a British protectorate. During World War II, the Solomon Islands campaign (1942–1945) saw fierce fighting between the United States and the Empire of Japan, such as in the Battle of Guadalcanal.

The official name of the then British overseas territory was changed from "the British Solomon Islands Protectorate" to "Solomon Islands" in 1975. Self-government was achieved in 1976; independence was obtained two years later. Today, Solomon Islands is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen of Solomon Islands, currently Queen Elizabeth II, as its head of state. Manasseh Sogavare is the current prime minister.

Solomon Islands: Name

In 1568, the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña was the first European to visit the Solomon Islands archipelago, naming it Islas Salomón ("Solomon Islands") after the wealthy biblical King Solomon. It is said that they were given this name in the mistaken assumption that they contained great riches.

During most of the period of British rule the territory was officially named "the British Solomon Islands Protectorate". On 22 June 1975 the territory was renamed "Solomon Islands". When Solomon Islands became independent in 1978 they retained the name. The definite article, "the", is not part of the country's official name but is sometimes used, both within and outside the country.

Solomon Islands: History

Main article: History of Solomon Islands
Solomon Island warriors, armed with spears, aboard an ornamented war canoe (1895).

Solomon Islands: Early history

It is believed that Papuan-speaking settlers began to arrive around 30,000 BC. Austronesian speakers arrived c. 4000 BC also bringing cultural elements such as the outrigger canoe. Between 1200 and 800 BC the ancestors of the Polynesians, the Lapita people, arrived from the Bismarck Archipelago with their characteristic ceramics.

Solomon Islands: European contact (1568)

The first European to visit the islands was the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira, coming from Peru in 1568. The people of Solomon Islands were notorious for headhunting and cannibalism before the arrival of the Europeans.

Missionaries began visiting the Solomons in the mid-19th century. They made little progress at first, because "blackbirding" (the often brutal recruitment or kidnapping of labourers for the sugar plantations in Queensland and Fiji) led to a series of reprisals and massacres. The evils of the labour trade prompted the United Kingdom to declare a protectorate over the southern Solomons in June 1893.

In 1898 and 1899, more outlying islands were added to the protectorate; in 1900 the remainder of the archipelago, an area previously under German jurisdiction, was transferred to British administration, apart from the islands of Buka and Bougainville, which remained under German administration as part of German New Guinea. Traditional trade and social intercourse between the western Solomon Islands of Mono and Alu (the Shortlands) and the traditional societies in the south of Bougainville, however, continued without hindrance.

Missionaries settled in the Solomons under the protectorate, converting most of the population to Christianity. In the early 20th century several British and Australian firms began large-scale coconut planting. Economic growth was slow, however, and the islanders benefited little.

Journalist Joe Melvin visited in 1892, as part of his undercover investigation into blackbirding. In 1908 the islands were visited by Jack London, who was cruising the Pacific on his boat, the Snark.

Solomon Islands: Second World War

Main articles: Solomon Islands campaign and Battle of Guadalcanal
The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) under aerial attack during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

With the outbreak of the Second World War most planters and traders were evacuated to Australia and most cultivation ceased. Some of the most intense fighting of the war occurred in the Solomons. The most significant of the Allied Forces' operations against the Japanese Imperial Forces was launched on 7 August 1942, with simultaneous naval bombardments and amphibious landings on the Florida Islands at Tulagi and Red Beach on Guadalcanal.

The Battle of Guadalcanal became an important and bloody campaign fought in the Pacific War as the Allies began to repulse Japanese expansion. Of strategic importance during the war were the coastwatchers operating in remote locations, often on Japanese held islands, providing early warning and intelligence of Japanese naval, army and aircraft movements during the campaign.

Sergeant-Major Jacob Vouza was a notable coastwatcher who, after capture, refused to divulge Allied information in spite of interrogation and torture by Japanese Imperial forces. He was awarded a Silver Star Medal by the Americans, which is the United States' third-highest decoration for valor in combat

Islanders Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana were the first to find the shipwrecked John F. Kennedy and his crew of the PT-109. They suggested using a coconut to write a rescue message for delivery by dugout canoe, which was later kept on Kennedy's desk when he became President of the United States.

American Marines rest during the 1942 Guadalcanal Campaign.

The Solomon Islands was one of the major staging areas of the South Pacific and was home to the famous VMF-214 "Black Sheep" Squadron commanded by Major Greg "Pappy" Boyington. "The Slot" was a name for New Georgia Sound, when it was used by the Tokyo Express to supply the Japanese garrison on Guadalcanal. Of more than 36,000 Japanese on Guadalcanal, about 26,000 were killed or missing, 9,000 died of disease, and 1,000 were captured.

Solomon Islands: Independence (1978)

Local councils were established in the 1950s as the islands stabilised from the aftermath of the Second World War. A new constitution was established in 1970 and elections were held, although the constitution was contested and a new one was created in 1974. In 1973 the first oil price shock occurred, and the increased cost of running a colony became apparent to British administrators.

Following the independence of neighbouring Papua New Guinea from Australia in 1975, the Solomon Islands gained self-government in 1976. Independence was granted on 7 July 1978. The first Prime Minister was Sir Peter Kenilorea, and Solomon Islands retained the Monarchy.

In September 2012, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the islands to mark the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II.

Solomon Islands: Ethnic violence (1998–2003)

Commonly referred to as the tensions or the ethnic tension, the initial civil unrest was mainly characterised by fighting between the Isatabu Freedom Movement (also known as the Guadalcanal Revolutionary Army) and the Malaita Eagle Force (as well as the Marau Eagle Force). (Although much of the conflict was between Guales and Malaitans, Kabutaulaka (2001) and Dinnen (2002) argue that the 'ethnic conflict' label is an oversimplification.)

In late 1998, militants on the island of Guadalcanal began a campaign of intimidation and violence towards Malaitan settlers. During the next year, thousands of Malaitans fled back to Malaita or to the capital, Honiara (which, although situated on Guadalcanal, is predominantly populated by Malaitans and Solomon Islanders from other provinces). In 1999, the Malaita Eagle Force (MEF) was established in response.

The reformist government of Bartholomew Ulufa'alu struggled to respond to the complexities of this evolving conflict. In late 1999, the government declared a four-month state of emergency. There were also a number of attempts at reconciliation but to no avail. Ulufa'alu also requested assistance from Australia and New Zealand in 1999 but his appeal was rejected.

In June 2000, Ulufa'alu was kidnapped by militia members of the MEF who felt that, although he was a Malaitan, he was not doing enough to protect their interests. Ulufa'alu subsequently resigned in exchange for his release. Manasseh Sogavare, who had earlier been Finance Minister in Ulufa'alu's government but had subsequently joined the opposition, was elected as Prime Minister by 23–21 over Rev. Leslie Boseto. However Sogavare's election was immediately shrouded in controversy because six MPs (thought to be supporters of Boseto) were unable to attend parliament for the crucial vote (Moore 2004, n.5 on p. 174).

In October 2000, the Townsville Peace Agreement, was signed by the Malaita Eagle Force, elements of the IFM, and the Solomon Islands Government. This was closely followed by the Marau Peace agreement in February 2001, signed by the Marau Eagle Force, the Isatabu Freedom Movement, the Guadalcanal Provincial Government, and the Solomon Islands Government. However, a key Guale militant leader, Harold Keke, refused to sign the agreement, causing a split with the Guale groups. Subsequently, Guale signatories to the agreement led by Andrew Te'e joined with the Malaitan-dominated police to form the 'Joint Operations Force'. During the next two years the conflict moved to the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal as the Joint Operations unsuccessfully attempted to capture Keke and his group.

New elections in December 2001 brought Sir Allan Kemakeza into the Prime Minister's chair with the support of his People's Alliance Party and the Association of Independent Members. Law and order deteriorated as the nature of the conflict shifted: there was continuing violence on the Weathercoast while militants in Honiara increasingly turned their attention to crime and extortion. The Department of Finance would often be surrounded by armed men when funding was due to arrive. In December 2002, Finance Minister Laurie Chan resigned after being forced at gunpoint to sign a cheque made out to some of the militants. Conflict also broke out in Western Province between locals and Malaitan settlers. Renegade members of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) were invited in as a protection force but ended up causing as much trouble as they prevented.

The prevailing atmosphere of lawlessness, widespread extortion, and ineffective police prompted a formal request by the Solomon Islands Government for outside help. With the country bankrupt and the capital in chaos, the request was unanimously supported in Parliament.

In July 2003, Australian and Pacific Island police and troops arrived in Solomon Islands under the auspices of the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). A sizeable 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. Since this time some commentators have considered the country a failed state. However, other academics argue that rather than being a 'failed state', it is an unformed state: a state that never consolidated even after decades of independence.

In April 2006, allegations that the newly elected Prime Minister Snyder Rini had used bribes from Chinese businessmen to buy the votes of members of Parliament led to mass rioting in the capital Honiara. A deep underlying resentment against the minority Chinese business community led to much of Chinatown in the city being destroyed. Tensions were also increased by the belief that large sums of money were being exported to China. China sent chartered aircraft to evacuate hundreds of Chinese who fled to avoid the riots. Evacuation of Australian and British citizens was on a much smaller scale. Additional Australian, New Zealand and Fijian police and troops were dispatched to try to quell the unrest. Rini eventually resigned before facing a motion of no-confidence in Parliament, and Parliament elected Manasseh Sogavare as Prime Minister.

Solomon Islands: Earthquakes

Main articles: 2007 Solomon Islands earthquake and 2013 Solomon Islands earthquake

On 2 April 2007 at 07:39:56 local time (UTC+11) an earthquake with magnitude 8.1 occurred at hypocenter S8.453 E156.957, 349 kilometres (217 miles) northwest of the island's capital, Honiara and south-east of the capital of Western Province, Gizo, at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). More than 44 aftershocks with magnitude 5.0 or greater occurred up until 22:00:00 UTC, Wednesday, 4 April 2007. A tsunami followed killing at least 52 people, destroying more than 900 homes and leaving thousands of people homeless. Land upthrust extended the shoreline of one island, Ranongga, by up to 70 metres (230 ft) exposing many once pristine coral reefs.

On February 6, 2013, an earthquake with magnitude of 8.0 occurred at epicentre S10.80 E165.11 in the Santa Cruz Islands followed by a tsunami up to 1.5 metres. At least nine people were killed and many houses demolished. The main quake was preceded by a sequence of earthquakes with a magnitude of up to 6.0.

Solomon Islands: Politics

Main article: Politics of Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands' National Parliament building was a gift from the United States.

Solomon Islands is a constitutional monarchy and has a parliamentary system of government. Queen Elizabeth II is the Monarch of the Solomon Islands and the head of state; she is represented by the Governor-General who is chosen by the Parliament for a five-year term. There is a unicameral parliament of 50 members, elected for four-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 21. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is elected by Parliament and chooses 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 characterised by weak political parties (see List of political parties in Solomon Islands) and highly unstable parliamentary coalitions. They are subject to frequent votes of no confidence, leading to frequent changes in government leadership and cabinet appointments.

Land ownership is reserved for Solomon Islanders. The law provides that resident expatriates, such as the Chinese and Kiribati, may obtain citizenship through naturalisation. 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 nontraditional economic undertakings, and this has resulted in continual disputes over land ownership.

No military forces are maintained by Solomon Islands although a police force of nearly 500 includes a border protection unit. The police also are responsible 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. On 27 December 2006, the Solomon Islands Government took steps to prevent the country's Australian police chief from returning to the Pacific nation. On 12 January 2007, Australia replaced its top diplomat expelled from Solomon Islands for political interference in a conciliatory move aimed at easing a four-month dispute between the two countries.

On 13 December 2007, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was toppled by a vote of no confidence in Parliament, following the defection of five ministers to the opposition. It was the first time a prime minister had lost office in this way in Solomon Islands. On 20 December, Parliament elected the opposition's candidate (and former Minister for Education) Derek Sikua as Prime Minister, in a vote of 32 to 15.

Solomon Islands: Judiciary

Main article: Judiciary of Solomon Islands

The Governor General appoints the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. The Governor General appoints the other justices with the advice of a judicial commission. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (based in the United Kingdom) serves as the highest appellate court. The current Chief Justice is Sir Albert Palmer.

From March 2014 Justice Edwin Goldsbrough will serve as the President of the Court of Appeal for Solomon Islands. Justice Goldsbrough has previously served a five-year term as a Judge of the High Court of Solomon Islands (2006–2011). Justice Edwin Goldsbrough then served as the Chief Justice of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Solomon Islands: Foreign relations

Main article: Foreign relations of Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth, Pacific Islands Forum, South Pacific Commission, International Monetary Fund, and the European Union/African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries (EEC/ACP) (Lomé Convention).

The political stage of Solomon Islands was influenced by its position regarding the Republic of China (ROC) and the People's Republic of China (PRC). Solomon Islands gave diplomatic recognition to the Republic of China (Taiwan), recognising it as the sole-legitimate government of all of China, thus giving Taiwan vital votes in the United Nations. Lucrative investments, political funding and preferential loans from both the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China have increasingly manipulated the political landscape of the Solomon Islands.

Relations with Papua New Guinea, which had become strained because of an influx of refugees from the Bougainville rebellion and attacks on the northern islands of Solomon Islands by elements pursuing Bougainvillean rebels, have been repaired. A 1998 peace accord on Bougainville removed the armed threat, and the two nations regularised border operations in a 2004 agreement.

Solomon Islands: Military

Although the locally recruited British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force was part of Allied Forces taking part in fighting in the Solomons during the Second World War, the country has not had any regular military forces since independence. The various paramilitary elements of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) were disbanded and disarmed in 2003 following the intervention of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). RAMSI has a small military detachment headed by an Australian commander with responsibilities for assisting the police element of RAMSI in internal and external security. The RSIPF still operates two Pacific class patrol boats (RSIPV Auki and RSIPV Lata), which constitute the de facto navy of Solomon Islands.

In the long term, it is anticipated that the RSIPF will resume the defence role of the country. The police force is headed by a commissioner, appointed by the governor general and responsible to the Minister of Police, National Security & Correctional Services.

The police budget of Solomon Islands has been strained due to a four-year civil war. Following Cyclone Zoe's strike on the islands of Tikopia and Anuta in December 2002, Australia had to provide the Solomon Islands government with 200,000 Solomon dollars ($50,000 Australian) for fuel and supplies for the patrol boat Lata to sail with relief supplies. (Part of the work of RAMSI includes assisting the Solomon Islands government to stabilise its budget.)

Solomon Islands: Administrative divisions

Main article: Provinces of the Solomon Islands

For local government, the country is divided into ten administrative areas, of which nine are provinces administered by elected provincial assemblies and the tenth is the capital Honiara, administered by the Honiara Town Council.

  1. Central
  2. Choiseul
  3. Guadalcanal
  4. Isabel
  5. Makira-Ulawa
  6. Malaita
  7. Rennell and Bellona
  8. Temotu
  9. Western
  10. Honiara City

Solomon Islands: Geography

Main article: Geography of the Solomon Islands
Aerial view of the Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands is an 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 the remote, tiny outliers, Tikopia, Anuta, Fatutaka and Falkie Atoll.

The country's islands lie between latitudes 5° and 13°S, and longitudes 155° and 169°E. The distance between the westernmost and easternmost islands is about 1,500 kilometres (930 mi). The Santa Cruz Islands (of which Tikopia is part) are situated north of Vanuatu and are especially isolated at more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) from the other islands. Bougainville is geographically part of the Solomon Islands but politically part of Papua New Guinea. Falkie Atoll, which is closer to Bougainville that to Choiseul, is part of the Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands: Climate

The islands' ocean-equatorial climate is extremely humid throughout the year, with a mean temperature of 26.5 °C (79.7 °F) and few extremes of temperature or weather. June through August is the cooler period. Though seasons are not pronounced, the northwesterly winds of November through April bring more frequent rainfall and occasional squalls or cyclones. The annual rainfall is about 3,050 millimetres (120 in).

Solomon Islands: Ecology

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; these forests have come under pressure from forestry activities. The Santa Cruz Islands are part of the Vanuatu rain forests ecoregion, together with the neighbouring archipelago of Vanuatu. Soil quality ranges from extremely rich volcanic (there are volcanoes with varying degrees of activity on some of the larger islands) to relatively infertile limestone. More than 230 varieties of orchids and other tropical flowers brighten the landscape.

The islands contain several active and dormant volcanoes. The Tinakula and Kavachi volcanoes are the most active.

Solomon Islands: Economy

Main article: Economy of Solomon Islands
A proportional representation of the Solomon's exports.

Solomon Islands' per-capita GDP of $600 ranks it as a lesser developed nation, and more than 75% of its labour force is engaged in subsistence and fishing. Most manufactured goods and petroleum products must be imported. Until 1998, when world prices for tropical timber fell steeply, timber was Solomon Islands' main export product, and, in recent years, Solomon Islands forests were dangerously overexploited.

Other important cash crops and exports include copra and palm oil. In 1998 gold mining began at Gold Ridge on Guadalcanal. Minerals exploration in other areas continued. In the wake of the ethnic violence in June 2000, exports of palm oil and gold ceased while exports of timber fell. The islands are rich in undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold.

Solomon Islands' fisheries also offer prospects for export and domestic economic expansion. A Japanese joint venture, Solomon Taiyo Ltd., which operated the only fish cannery in the country, closed in mid-2000 as a result of the ethnic disturbances. Though the plant has reopened under local management, the export of tuna has not resumed. Negotiations are underway that may lead to the eventual reopening of the Gold Ridge mine and the major oil-palm plantation.

Tourism, particularly diving, is an important service industry for Solomon Islands. Tourism growth is hampered by lack of infrastructure and transportation limitations.

Solomon Islands Government was insolvent by 2002. Since the RAMSI intervention in 2003, the government has recast its budget. It has consolidated and renegotiated its domestic debt and with Australian backing, is now seeking to renegotiate its foreign obligations. Principal aid donors are Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, Japan, and the Republic of China.

Recently, Solomon Islands courts have re-approved the export of live dolphins for profit, most recently to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This practice was originally stopped by the government in 2004 after international uproar over a shipment of 28 live dolphins to Mexico. The move resulted in criticism from both Australia and New Zealand as well as several conservation organisations.

Solomon Islands: Energy

A team of renewable energy developers working for the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and funded by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), have developed a scheme that allows local communities to access renewable energy, such as solar, water and wind power, without the need to raise substantial sums of cash. Under the scheme, islanders who are unable to pay for solar lanterns in cash may pay instead in kind with crops.

Solomon Islands: Demographics

Main article: Demographics of the Solomon Islands

As of 2006, there were 552,438 people in Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands: Ethnic groups

Solomon Islander boys from Honiara

The majority of Solomon Islanders are ethnically Melanesian (94.5%). Polynesian (3%) and Micronesian (1.2%) are the two other significant groups. There are a few thousand ethnic Chinese.

Solomon Islands: Languages

Further information: Languages of the Solomon Islands

While English is the official language, only 1–2% of the population speak English. The lingua franca is Solomons Pijin.

The number of local languages listed for Solomon Islands is 74, of which 70 are living languages and 4 are extinct, according to Ethnologue, Languages of the World. Melanesian languages (predominantly of the Southeast Solomonic group) are spoken on the central islands.

Polynesian languages are spoken on Rennell and Bellona to the south, Tikopia, Anuta and Fatutaka to the far east, Sikaiana to the north east, and Luaniua to the north (Ontong Java Atoll, also known as Lord Howe Atoll). The immigrant population of Gilbertese (i-Kiribati) speaks a Micronesian language.

Solomon Islands: Religion

Main article: Religion in the Solomon Islands

The religion of Solomon Islands is mainly Christian (comprising about 92% of the population). The main Christian denominations are: the Anglican Church of Melanesia 35%, Roman Catholic 19%, South Seas Evangelical Church 17%, United Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands 11% and Seventh-day Adventist 10%. Another 5% adhere to aboriginal beliefs.

The remaining adhere to Islam, the Baha'i Faith, Jehovah's Witnesses, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). According to the most recent reports, Islam in the Solomon Islands is made up of approximately 350 Muslims, including members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

Solomon Islands: Health

Female life expectancy at birth was at 66.7 years and male life expectancy at birth at 64.9 in 2007. 1990–1995 fertility rate was at 5.5 births per woman. Government expenditure on health per capita was at US$99 (PPP). Healthy life expectancy at birth is at 60 years.

Blond hair occur in 10% of the population in the islands. After years of questions, studies have resulted in the better understanding of the blond gene. The findings show that the blond hair trait is due to an amino acid change of protein TYRP1. This, therefore, accounts for the highest occurrence of blond hair outside of European influence in the world. While 10% of Solomon Island's people display the blond phenotype about 26% of the population carry the recessive trait for it as well.

Solomon Islands: Education

Children at the school in Tuo village, Fenualoa.

Education in Solomon Islands is not compulsory and only 60 percent of school-age children have access to primary education.

From 1990 to 1994, the gross primary school enrolment rose from 84.5 percent to 96.6 percent. Primary school attendance rates were unavailable for Solomon Islands as of 2001. While enrolment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.

Efforts and plans made by the Department of Education and Human Resource Development to expand educational facilities and increase enrolment have been hindered by a lack of government funding, misguided teacher training programs, poor co-ordination of programs, and a failure of the government to pay teachers. The percentage of the government's budget allocated to education was 9.7 percent in 1998, down from 13.2 percent in 1990.

Male educational attainment tends to be higher than female educational attainment. The University of the South Pacific has a Campus in Solomon Islands while the University of Papua New Guinea has also established a foothold in the country at Guadalcanal.

Solomon Islands: Culture

Main article: Culture of the Solomon Islands
A Malaitan Chief.

In the traditional culture of the Solomon Islands, age-old customs are handed down from one generation to the next, allegedly from the ancestral spirits themselves, to form the cultural values of the Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands: Media

Radio is the most influential type of media in Solomon Islands due to language differences, illiteracy, and the difficulty of receiving television signals in some parts of the country. The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) operates public radio services, including the national stations Radio Happy Isles 1037 on the dial and Wantok FM 96.3, and the provincial stations Radio Happy Lagoon and, formerly, Radio Temotu. There are two commercial FM stations, Z FM at 99.5 in Honiara but receivable over a large majority of island out from Honiara, and, PAOA FM at 97.7 in Honiara (also broadcasting on 107.5 in Auki), and, one community FM radio station, Gold Ridge FM on 88.7.

There is one daily newspaper Solomon Star <> and one daily online news website Solomon Times Online (, 2 weekly papers Solomons Voice and Solomon Times, and 2 monthly papers Agrikalsa Nius and the Citizen's Press.

There are no TV services that cover the entire Solomon Islands, but satellite TV stations can be received. However, in Honiara, there is a free-to-air channel called One Television, and rebroadcast ABC Asia Pacific (from Australia's ABC) and BBC World News. As of Dec 2010, residents could subscribe to SATSOL, a digital pay TV service, re-transmitting satellite television.

Solomon Islands: Music

Further information: Music of Solomon Islands
A pan flute, nineteenth century, MHNT.

Traditional Melanesian music in the Solomon Islands includes both group and solo vocals, slit-drum and panpipe ensembles. In the 1920s, bamboo music gained a following. In the 1950s, Edwin Nanau Sitori composed the song "Walkabout long Chinatown", which has been referred to by the government as the unofficial "national song" of the Solomon Islands. Modern Solomon Islander popular music includes various kinds of rock and reggae as well as island music.

Solomon Islands: Literature

Further information: Solomon Islands literature

Writers from Solomon Islands include the novelists Rexford Orotaloa and John Saunana and the poet Jully Makini.

Solomon Islands: Sport

Main article: Sport in the Solomon Islands

Rugby Union is played in Solomon Islands. The Solomon Islands national rugby union team has been playing internationals since 1969. It took part in the Oceania qualifying tournament for the 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cups, but failed to qualify on each occasion.

National teams in association football and the related futsal and beach soccer have proved among the most successful in Oceania. The Solomon Islands national football team is part of the OFC confederation in FIFA. They are currently ranked 184th out of 209 teams in the FIFA World Rankings. The team became the first team to beat New Zealand in qualifying for a play-off spot against Australia for qualification to the World Cup 2006. They were defeated 7–0 in Australia and 2–1 at home.

On 14 June 2008, the Solomon Islands national futsal team, the Kurukuru, won the Oceania Futsal Championship in Fiji to qualify them for the 2008 FIFA Futsal World Cup, which was held in Brazil from 30 September to 19 October 2008. Solomon Islands is the futsal defending champions in the Oceania region. In 2008 and 2009 the Kurukuru won the Oceania Futsal Championship in Fiji. In 2009 they defeated the host nation Fiji, 8–0, to claim the title. The Kurukuru currently hold the world record for the fastest ever goal scored in an official futsal match. It was set by Kurukuru captain Elliot Ragomo, who scored against New Caledonia three seconds into the game in July 2009. They also, however, hold the less enviable record for the worst defeat in the history of the Futsal World Cup, when in 2008 they were beaten by Russia with two goals to thirty-one.

The Solomon Islands' beach soccer team, the Bilikiki Boys, are statistically the most successful team in Oceania. They have won all three regional championships to date, thereby qualifying on each occasion for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. The Bilikiki Boys are ranked fourteenth in the world as of 2010, higher than any other team from Oceania.

Solomon Islands: See also

  • Lau Lagoon
  • LGBT rights in the Solomon Islands
  • List of birds of the Solomon Islands
  • Outline of Solomon Islands
  • Visa policy of Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands: References

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  8. Sheppard, Peter J. "Lapita Colonization Across the Near/Remote Boundary" Current Anthropology, Vol 53, No. 6 (Dec 2011), p. 800
  9. Kirch, Patrick Vinton (2002). On the Road of the Winds: An Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. Buy book ISBN 0-520-23461-8
  10. "From primitive to postcolonial in Melanesia and anthropology". Bruce M. Knauft (1999). University of Michigan Press. p. 103. Buy book ISBN 0-472-06687-0
  11. "History of the Solomon Islands". Retrieved 10 December 2013
  12. "The Tulagi Battle". 7 August 1942. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  13. The Battle for Guadalcanal. NPR: National Public Radio.
  14. Elmer Belmont Potter, Roger Fredland, Henry Hitch Adams (1981) Sea power: a naval history. Naval Institute Press Buy book ISBN 0-87021-607-4 p. 310
  15. English, Rebecca (16 September 2012). "Carnival Kate met by crowd of 70,000". Daily Mail. London.
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  19. Pillars and Shadows: Statebuilding as Peacebuilding in Solomon Islands, J. Braithwaite, S. Dinnen, M.Allen, V. Braithwaite & H. Charlesworth, Canberra, ANU E Press: 2010.
  20. Spiller, Penny: "Riots highlight Chinese tensions", BBC News, Friday, 21 April 2006, 18:57 GMT
  21. "Solomon Islands earthquake and tsunami", Breaking Legal News – International, 4 March 2007
  22. "Aid reaches tsunami-hit Solomons", BBC News, 3 April 2007
  23. Quake lifts Solomons island metres from the sea Archived 17 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
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  25. Sireheti, Joanna., & Joy Basi, – "Solomon Islands PM Defeated in No-Confidence Motion", – Solomon Times, – 13 December 2007
  26. Tuhaika, Nina., – "New Prime Minister for Solomon Islands", – Solomon Times, – 20 December 2007
  27. "Solomon Islands parliament elects new PM", – ABC Radio Australia, – 20 December 2007
  28. Boyce, Hayden (20 September 2014). "Turks & Caicos Islands Chief Justice Edwin Goldsbrough Resigns". Turks & Caicos Sun. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  29. Vltchek, Andrew (20 April 2008). "Wooing the Islands: China and Taiwan High Stakes Bid for Pacific Island Support". Japan Focus. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  30. Solomon Islands Solar: A New Microfinance Concept Takes Root. Renewable Energy World. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
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  34. "Ahmadiyya Solomon Islands". Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  35. Human Development Report 2009 – Solomon Islands. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
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  37. Kenny EE; et al. (4 May 2012). "Melanesian Blond Hair is Caused by an Amino Acid Change in TYRP1.". Science. New York, N.Y. 336 (6081): 554. doi:10.1126/science.1217849. PMC 3481182Freely accessible. PMID 22556244.
  38. Norton HL; et al. (June 2006). "Skin and Hair Pigmentation Variation in Island Melanesia.". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 130 (2): 254–68. doi:10.1002/ajpa.20343. PMID 16374866.
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  • Latest Earthquakes – United States Geological Survey
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