Solomon Islands is a nation in the Melanesian region of the South Pacific Ocean. It consists of two volcanic island chains and atolls. There are six main islands and over 900 smaller islands.
The capital city, Honiara, is located on the nation’s principle island of Guadalcanal.
Modern Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands has a population of approximately 600,000 people, most of whom are of Melanesian descent (94.5%). There are minority groups of Polynesians (3%), Micronesians (1%), and a few other unspecified groups, possibly including small numbers of ethnically Chinese inhabitants.
Many languages are spoken on the Solomon Islands, and although English is the official language of the country, only 1–2% of the population speak it. The most widely-spoken language in the country is Solomons Pijin. It is related to the Tok Pisin language spoken in Papua New Guinea. However, Solomons Pijin is not officially recognized. There are up to 70 other languages spoken on the islands. They are spread among the different regions and ethnic groups who live there. Most of the people on the central islands speak Melanesian languages. Those to the south speak Polynesian languages. Islanders of Gilbertese (i-Kiribati) heritage speak Micronesian languages.
Inhabitants of the Solomon Islands are predominantly Christian. Christian groups are over 90% of the population. The largest congregations 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%). There are also smaller congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
There are also small numbers of non-Christians on the island. Approximately 5% follow the aboriginal beliefs of their ancestors. The remainder are followers of the Baha’i faith or Islam. However, these groups are thought to only number in the hundreds.
Solomon Islands Prehistory
The first people to reach the Solomon Islands are thought to be Papuan-speaking settlers who arrived as part of an ancient migration over 30,000 years ago.
A wave of Austronesian-speaking settlers arrived as early as 4000 BC, most likely by outrigger canoe.
Finally, the Lapita people came. They arrived between 1200 and 800 BC. They may have come from the Bismarck Archipelago to the northwest. They are believed to be the progenitors of the Polynesians. These people would later spread throughout the Pacific.
Solomon Islands History
Contact with Europeans was first made in 1568. It was by a Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendana de Neira. He had come by way of Peru. Rumors began to circulate that gold had been discovered on the islands and that the islands were the site of the mines of the biblical King Solomon. These rumors are what gave the Solomon Islands their name. Few Europeans returned for the next century. Thus, the existence of the Solomon Islands was not reliably confirmed and mapped until the late 18th century. That changed when the English settled Sydney, Australia. They then began to sail the waters around the Solomon Islands more frequently.
Missionaries began arriving in the mid-19th century. They found no real success until near the turn of the 20th century. During this time, many islanders were being taken as laborers for plantations around the South Pacific. Germany and Britain divided the Solomon Islands between them. Relationships between the indigenous islanders and their colonial rulers frequently suffered. Many rebellions broke out. These often resulted in retaliatory raids and expeditions.
During the Second World War in the 1940s, Japanese forces moved to occupy the Solomon Islands. This was in order to construct airfields from which to conduct strategic bombing and attacks against the Allied forces. However, troops from the United States arrived at nearly the same time. The two sides fought a bitter, 15-month conflict for control of the islands. In particular, the battle of Guadalcanal was one of the most significant battles in the Pacific theatre of World War II.
After the Allied victory in World War II, the capital was moved from Tulagi to Honiara, on Guadalcanal. The war also brought about increased political awareness on the islands, resulting in the formation of local councils. Eventually, independence was gained in 1978. In the following decades, Solomon Islands has been plagued by frequent unrest and near governmental collapse. This has lead to several influxes of foreign aid to stabilize the country.
This section is under development.
Genographic ProjectGeno 2.0 Data
Data from Geno 2.0 is derived from the The National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project — the DAR. The Hg ID is specific to this site and is used to protect the identities of those who take part in Genographic research. Birth Country, Mother’s Birth Country, and Maternal Grandmother’s Birth Country have been normalized from DAR database fields. The Maternal Origin is determined based on the three previous fields.
Note: Geno 2.0 results currently use Phylotree build 16. I am working on changing results over to build 17.
|Hg ID||Hg Build 16||Birth Country||Mother’s Birth Country||Maternal Grandmother’s Birth Country|
Sources & Resources
CIA Staff. (2018). Solomon Islands The World Factbook. Retrieved, August 20, 2018, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/bp.html.
Hugh Michael Laracy and Sophie Foster. (2018). Solomon Islands. The Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved, August 20, 2018, from https://www.britannica.com/place/Solomon-Islands.
Wikipedia contributors. (2018, August 18). Solomon Islands. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved, August 20, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Solomon_Islands&oldid=855473781.