Solomon Islands is an island nation (sovereign country) of 6 major islands plus more than 900 smaller isles. They are located in Oceania (Pacific Ocean) to the northwest of Vanuatu and east of Papua New Guinea. The country covers a total area of approx 28,400 km2 (11,000 ml2) and has population around 645,000.
- The country's capital city Honiara is on Guadalcanal Island. The country took its name from the Solomon archipelago - a collection of Melanesian islands also including North Solomon Islands (part of PNG), but excluding the outlying islands (like Santa Cruz and Rennell-Bellona).
- Solomon Islands have been inhabited for thousands of years. The first European here was the Spanish navigator Alvaro de Mendana (1542-1595) in 1568, naming them "Islas Salomon". In June 1893 Britain defined its area of interest in the islands archipelago when Capt. Gibson R.N., of HMS Curacoa, declared southern Solomon Islands a British protectorate. During WWII, the Solomon Islands campaign saw fierce fighting between the Empire of Japan and the United States, such as in Battle of Guadalcanal.
- In 1975 the official name of then British overseas territory was converted from "the British Solomon Islands Protectorate" to become "Solomon Islands". Self-government was reached in 1976, while independence was obtained a couple of years later. Currently, Solomon Islands is constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of Solomon Islands.
- Tourism, particularly diving, is a major service industry for the islands. However, tourism growth is complicated by transportation limitations and lack of infrastructure.
- Solomon Islands courts re-approved the live dolphins' export for profit, most recently to Dubai, UAE. In 2004 this practice was initially stopped by the government after international uproar over shipment of live dolphins to Mexico. This move resulted in criticism from Australia, New Zealand and a number of conservation organisations.
Highlights: Honiara, Guadalcanal, New Georgia Islands, Ghizo, Tikopia
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