Solomon Islands is a sovereign country consisting of a large number of islands in Oceania lying to the east of Papua New Guinea and north west of Vanuatu and cover a land area of 28,400 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). The country's capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal. It is part of, but not to be confused with, the Solomon Islands archipelago, which a collection of Melanesian islands that includes Solomon Islands and Bougainville Island.
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. It is between 1200 and 800 BC that the ancestors of the Polynesians, the Lapita people, arrived from the Bismarck Archipelago with their characteristic ceramics.
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.
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 three remote, tiny outliers, Tikopia, Anuta, and Fatutaka.
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 Papua New Guinea.
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, Ross Mining of Australia began producing gold at Gold Ridge on Guadalcanal. Minerals exploration in other areas continued. However, 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.
The religion of Solomon Islands is about 92% Christian with the following denominations: 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, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), 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.
World Tourist Attractions
1. Mataniko and Tenaru Falls in Honiara
2. Aola Bay
3. Rennell and Bellona
4. Santa Cruz Islands