The Solomon Islands is a state in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean, in Melanesia, occupying most of the archipelago of the same name, as well as some other island groups. Consists of 992 islands, the total area of which is 28,450 km² (land - 28,400 km²). The capital of the Solomon Islands is the city of Honiara.
The state occupies most of the archipelago of the same name in the
Pacific Ocean, in Melanesia, east of the island of New Guinea. Largest
islands: Guadalcanal, Santa Isabel, Malaita, San Cristobal, Choiseul,
New Georgia. It also occupies the island groups of Duff, Santa Cruz,
Swallow and the islands of Bellona, Rennell, etc.
The islands are predominantly of volcanic origin; active volcanoes. The length of the archipelago from north to south is 1400 km. The highest point of the country is the Popomanaceu Peak on Guadalcanal with a height of 2335 meters. Short deep rivers. Lakes are practically non-existent.
The climate is subequatorial, very humid. Average monthly temperatures are from 26 to 28 °C. Precipitation from 2300 to 7500 mm per year. The southeast trade wind prevails from May to October, and the northwest equatorial monsoon prevails from December to March.
Most of the islands are covered with evergreen forests (palms, ficuses, etc.); in the driest places - savannahs; along the banks are mangroves. Fauna: rats, bats, crocodiles, lizards, snakes, giant frogs; birds - wild pigeons, parrots, etc.
The Solomon Islands are located in a seismically dangerous region where earthquakes often occur. In January 2010, an earthquake occurred with a magnitude of 7.2 aftershocks, which provoked the appearance of a tsunami with a maximum wave height of 2.5 meters. In total, about a thousand people were left homeless. On April 23, 2011, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 was recorded. On February 6, 2013, an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 occurred.
The first Papuan-speaking settlers began arriving in the Solomon
Islands around 3000 BC. With them they brought elements of culture
such as outrigger canoes. Between approximately 1200 and 800 BC. the
ancestors of the Polynesians (people of the Lapita culture) from the
Bismarck archipelago, who knew pottery, arrived on the Islands.
The Solomon Islands were discovered in 1568 by the Spanish navigator A. Mendanya de Neira, who bartered gold from the locals and called these islands the Solomon Islands after the legendary biblical King Solomon, comparing them with the "Golden Land of Solomon". Founded in 1595 by Mendanya by decree of King Philip II on the island of Santa Cruz, the Spanish colony did not last long and was soon abandoned due to conflicts with warlike natives.
For the next century and a half, the islands were not visited by Europeans. They were re-discovered by the Englishman F. Carteret in 1767.
Since the mid-1840s, Catholic and Protestant missionaries have repeatedly tried to settle in the Solomon Islands, but for a long time they did not succeed: many of them were killed by the natives.
The development of the Solomon Islands by Europeans began only in the 1860s, when the first white traders began to gain a foothold there. The natives tried to kill these merchants, but they, unlike the missionaries, managed to organize their defense.
In 1893, Britain declared its protectorate over the Solomon Islands. Since 1907, English entrepreneurs began to create plantations of coconut palms in the British Solomon Islands. Since the beginning of the 20th century, missionaries have reappeared on the islands, converting the natives to Christianity.
During World War II, part of the islands was occupied by the Japanese. From 1942 to 1945, bloody battles were fought on the islands between the Japanese and the countries of the Anti-Hitler coalition (Great Britain, USA, Australia and New Zealand), which ended in victory for the latter.
In July 1978, the Solomon Islands gained independence from Great Britain. The first prime minister was Peter Kenilorea.
Since 1998, tribal tensions have increased sharply in the Solomon Islands, reaching the point of armed clashes. As a result, on June 5, 2000, a coup took place in the country, Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufaalu was arrested, then resigned, giving way to Manasse Sogawara.
In June 2003, Prime Minister Allan Kemakeza asked Australia to restore law and order to the country. The following month, the military and police forces of Australia, New Zealand and several countries of Oceania (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, etc.) arrived in the Solomon Islands - the "Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands" (RAMSI), in total about 2200 police and military. They restored order and disarmed the tribal fighters.
One of the five UN member countries (the other four are the Federated States of Micronesia, Ukraine, Georgia and Bhutan) that do not have diplomatic relations with Russia (not established).
The territory of the Solomon Islands is divided into 9 provinces; the capital of Honiara, located on the island of Guadalcanal, stands out as a special administrative unit - the Capital Territory.
Population - 515 870 people. (2009 census).
Annual population growth - 2.3% (2009 census).
Birth rate - 26.9 per 1000 (fertility - 3.4 births per woman)
Mortality - 3.7 per 1000.
The average life expectancy is 71 years for men, 76 years for women.
Ethnic composition: Melanesians - 95.3% (491,466 people), Polynesians - 3.1% (15,911 people), Micronesians - 1.2% (6446 people), Chinese - 0.1% (654 people .), Europeans - 0.1% (721 people), others - 0.1% (672 people) (according to the 2009 census).
Data on the literacy rate of the population of the Solomon Islands is not available.
Urban population - 19.7% (101,798 people) (2009 census).
Languages: English (official) - it is spoken by 1-2% of the population, one of the varieties of the Melanesian pidgin is used as the language of universal communication - the pidgin of the Solomon Islands (neo-Solomon, Solomon pidgin), which is actually a Creole language. There are 120 local languages in the country.
Religions: Church of Melanesia (Anglican) - 31.9% (164,639 people),
Catholics - 19.6% (100,999 people), South Sea Evangelists - 17.1%
(88,395 people), Seventh-day Adventists - 11.7% (60,506 people), united
church - 10.1% (51,919 people), Christian fellowship church - 2.5%
(13,153 people), other Christians - 4.4%, others - 2.7% (14,076 people).
(according to the 2009 census).
Approximately 97% of the population of the Solomon Islands professes the Christian faith. The largest Christian denominations: 31.9% of the population belong to the Church of Melanesia, 19.6% belong to the Roman Catholic Church, 17.1% to the South Seas Evangelical Church (Evangelical Church of the South Seas), 11.7% to Seventh-day Adventist Churches, 10.1% to the United Church of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, 2.5% to the Christian Fellowship Church. 2.9% of the population practices indigenous religious beliefs. There are approximately 350 Muslims (2007 data).
The political system of the Solomon Islands is a constitutional
monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. King Charles III is
the monarch of the Solomon Islands and head of state. His power is
exercised through the Governor-General, who is elected by Parliament for
a term of five years.
The parliament is unicameral, consists of 50 representatives, is elected every four years. According to the results of the last elections (August 2010), there are 19 independent deputies in the parliament and representatives of 12 political parties (the largest party has 13 deputies, the rest have from 3 to 1 deputies). Parliament may be dissolved early by a majority vote of its members.
Any citizen over the age of 21 has the right to vote. The head of government is the prime minister, who is elected by Parliament and appoints other ministers. The Cabinet of Ministers consists of 20 people. Each ministry is headed by a minister, who is assisted by a permanent secretary (Permanent Secretary), who directs the employees of the ministry.
The political parties of the Solomon Islands are weak, parliamentary coalitions are extremely unstable. There are frequent votes of no confidence in the government, resulting in frequent changes in the composition of the government.
There are no military units as such in the Solomon Islands, although the police, numbering about 500 people, includes a border guard unit. The police function as firefighters, assist in emergencies and carry out maritime patrols. The police are led by a commissioner appointed by the governor general. The Commissioner is under the control of the Prime Minister.
On April 23, 2006, the inauguration ceremony of the new government, led by Snyder Reenie, took place. The new government is called upon to intensify the fight against corruption, which caused the recent riots, as a result of which several metropolitan areas (primarily Chinatown) were burned to the ground.
On the same day, a mass evacuation of ethnic Chinese from the country began, of which there had previously been about 2 thousand. It was they who became the main object of discontent among the indigenous population. Snyder Rini, who previously served as Deputy Prime Minister, had close business contacts with the Chinese community and was largely dependent on it.
Solomon Islands is a member of the UN, the Commonwealth of Nations,
the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Pacific Islands Forum, the
International Monetary Fund and the countries of Africa, the Caribbean
and the Pacific (ACP).
Relations with Papua New Guinea, which have become tense due to the influx of refugees from about. Bougainville, after the uprising and attacks on the northern islands of the state by the persecutors of the rebels, were restored. A peace agreement on Bougainville was reached in 1998, and border issues were settled between Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in an agreement signed in 2004.
The basis of the country's economy is agriculture, fishing, and
Three-quarters of the workers are employed in agriculture, as well as in fishing and logging. In the industrial sector (fish processing, timber) 5% are employed, in the service sector - 20%.
GDP per capita (in 2009) - 2.5 thousand dollars (177th place in the world).
Cocoa, coconuts, rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruits are cultivated. Livestock is bred.
The country has large deposits of lead, zinc, nickel and gold, as well as bauxite and phosphate, but they are not exploited.
Exports - $0.696 billion in 2017 - timber (68%), processed fish (7.5%), palm oil (4.1%), copra (2.7%), cocoa and coconut oil. The Solomon Islands are among the ten largest exporters of raw timber (approx. 3.3% of the world volume).
The main buyers (in 2017) are China 66%, Italy 8.1%, Philippines 4.4%.
Imports - $ 0.589 billion in 2017 - food (including rice - up to 6.9%), manufactured goods, fuel (mainly oil products - 15%), chemical products.
The main suppliers (in 2017) are Australia 17%, New Zealand 13%, Singapore 13%, China 13%, Malaysia 12%.
The Solomon Islands have largely retained their historical cultural
In the villages, houses of the traditional type predominate: light, rectangular huts on pillars with wicker walls and a gable roof made of palm leaves. However, in large settlements there are many buildings of the European type.
In clothing, European elements have significantly supplanted the tradition, but some local residents continue to wear loincloths and short skirts.
In the spiritual culture of the islanders, tradition is also closely intertwined with modernity. Among the local population, folklore, original songs and dances, and applied arts are relatively well preserved, but modern culture is also being introduced.
The national football team made history by being the first team to defeat New Zealand and qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. However, they were defeated 7-0 by Australia in their first playoff match.
On June 14, 2008, the Solomon Islands national futsal team won the Oceania Championship in Fiji and qualified for the World Cup, which was held from September 30 to October 19, 2008 in Brazil. The Solomon Islands beach soccer team is considered the best team in Oceania and has participated in the last three World Cups.
The national rugby team is in the IRB Top 100 but has never played in the Rugby World Cup.