General Information about Solomon Islands

The official name is the Solomon Islands.

Located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The area is 28,450 km2, the population is 509 thousand people. (2003). The official language is English. The capital is the city of Honiara (55 thousand people, 2003). Public holiday – Independence Day July 7 (1978). The monetary unit is the Solomon Islands dollar.

Member of the UN (since 1978), IMF (1979), WTO (since 1994), Pacific Islands Forum (formerly UTF).

Located between 5°10 and 12°45 S and 155°30 and 170°30 E in the Solomon Islands archipelago (excluding Bougainville and Buka, which are part of Papua New Guinea), the Santa Cruz island group, other groups and individual islands (total 922 islands). The largest: Guadalcanal (5.6 thousand km2), Makira (San Cristobal) and Santa Isabel (4.7 thousand km2 each). The length of the archipelago is approx. 1500 km. The length of the coastline is 5313 km.

To the northwest and west of the archipelago is Papua New Guinea, to the southeast – Vanuatu.

In the west, the archipelago is washed by the Solomon Sea, in the southwest by the Coral Sea.

The Solomon Islands are volcanic, high (mostly), and coral, low, islands. On the high islands there are extinct and active volcanoes, hot springs, and earthquakes are frequent. Mountain ranges occupy almost their entire surface (the highest point is the city of Makarakomburu, 2294 m, Guadalcanal). Between the mountains are deep narrow valleys. Narrow lowlands stretch along the coast. Many volcanic islands are surrounded by coral reefs. There are many mountain rivers on large islands suitable for the construction of hydroelectric power plants. There are few lakes, but Lake Tinggoa (Rennell coral island) is the largest in Oceania. The high islands are covered with dense forests of valuable tropical species. The animal world is not rich: opossum, wood mouse, large gopher (found only here). Crocodiles live in mangrove swamps. St. 150 species of birds (especially many parrots).

Minerals: in the 200-mile economic zone (1.63 million km2) – one of the world’s largest concentrations of tuna. There are reserves of lead, zinc, nickel and gold.

The climate is tropical. Hot and humid season: November-March (showers, hurricanes). The average annual temperature is +23-27°C. The average annual rainfall is 2000-3000 mm (in some places up to 8000 mm).

According to Countryaah, the population growth rate is up to 3% per year. The composition of the population: Melanesians (93%), Polynesians (4%), Micronesians (1.5%), there are Europeans (0.8%), Chinese (0.3%), etc. The main language of interethnic communication is pidgin (Anglo-Melanesian version). No more than 2% of the inhabitants speak English. The indigenous population uses approximately 120 languages and dialects. Very strong community, clan and family ties remain. 90% of the inhabitants live in small villages and are engaged in subsistence or semi-subsistence agriculture. Competently 65% of the adult population. Life expectancy for men is 70, women – 75 years. Infant mortality 23 people per 1000 newborns.

Christians predominate among believers, mostly Protestants (78%), incl. Anglicans – 45%. Catholics – 18%, adherents of traditional beliefs – 4%.

The first European to visit the archipelago was the Spaniard A. de Mendaña (1568). Assuming that he had found the fabulous country of the biblical King Solomon, he named the archipelago of the Solomon Islands. Only 200 years later, other European sailors took up their research. Bloody clashes between slave traders and indigenous people served as a pretext for Great Britain to establish a protectorate over the archipelago and nearby islands in 1893-1900 (Germany ceded some of them to it in 1900). The unrest of the indigenous population continued until the 2nd World War, when the Solomon Islands were occupied by the Japanese. In 1942 – 43 islands – the site of fierce battles (especially Guadalcanal) of American troops and their allies with Japanese troops. After the war, under the pressure of the indigenous struggle for independence, the development of self-government began. In 1974, the first elections to the Legislative Assembly of the Solomon Islands were held. In 1976 they received the status of internal self-government, and in 1978 – independence. Due to periodic outbreaks of inter-ethnic clashes, the domestic political situation remains extremely unstable. Yes, in con. In 1998, another unrest broke out on the island of Guadalcanal, caused by the dissatisfaction of local residents (isatabu) with the flow of immigrants from other islands of the archipelago (primarily from the neighboring, most populated island of Malaita) and the seizure of land associated with this, an increase in crime, etc. More than 20 thousand Malaitans were expelled from Guadalcanal. In response, Malaitan paramilitaries in June 2000 forced the then prime minister to resign and seized control of the capital. Despite the fact that by the end. 2000 a peace agreement was reached, and in December 2001 new elections were held, lawlessness continued to reign in the country. The new state authorities have repeatedly called for the introduction of UN peacekeeping forces or the Pacific Islands Forum into the country. Finally, on July 24, 2003, an advance detachment of Australian troops landed on Guadalcanal as part of the combined forces of the Forum (they also included parts of Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and New Zealand) to restore law and order in the archipelago.

Solomon Islands is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly British). The head of state is the Queen of England (at the same time the Queen of the Solomon Islands). She appoints the Governor-General on the recommendation of the local parliament, whose 50 deputies are elected by popular vote for 4 years (next elections in 2005). Executive power belongs to the prime minister (A. Kemakez), who is approved by the parliament together with his deputy and ministers (all members of parliament).

Administratively, the country is divided into 9 districts (provinces) and the city of Honiara.

Main political parties: People’s Alliance Party (leader A. Kemakeza, 16 seats in parliament), Solomon Islands Union for a Coalition of Change (13), Progressive People’s Party (2), Solomon Islands Labor Party (1), etc.

There are no regular armed forces, only police and intelligence.

The Solomon Islands do not have diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation.

GDP per capita 1.7 thousand US dollars (according to the purchasing power parity of the currency, 2001). The domestic political chaos of recent years has hit the economy hard. If in 1984-93 the average annual GDP growth rate was 3.5%, and in 1994-96 even 7.7%, then in 1997-2002 the volume of GDP decreased by almost 20%. St. 70% of the economically active population is engaged in semi-subsistence agriculture. Cocoa beans, coconut palm, rice, potatoes, vegetables and fruits, etc. are grown. The population raises pigs and poultry, and cattle are raised on farms. In the commodity sector of the economy, agriculture, forestry and fishing account for 24% of the employed, industry – 13%, the service sector (trade, finance, government, etc.) – more than 60%.

There are enterprises for the production of canned fish, clothing, furniture, souvenirs, woodworking.

Of more than 1360 km of roads, only 34 km are paved, and 800 km are roads inside private plantations. Coastal boats ply between the islands. The main seaport is Honiara. There are several ports and harbors. Of the 32 airfields, 2 have paved runways. The international airport is in the area of ​​Honiara. Internet users – 8.4 thousand people. (2002).

The potential opportunities of tourism are poorly used, there are only 10-11 thousand foreign tourists a year. In addition to the underdevelopment of transport and other infrastructure, the main obstacle to expanding the flow of tourists is the unstable domestic political situation.

Copra, palm oil, fish, timber, cocoa are exported. Food and fuel, finished products, machinery and equipment are imported. Foreign economic partners: Japan, Australia, South Korea, countries of Southeast Asia, etc.

Foreign financial assistance (Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China) plays an important role.

School education is still optional. Of more than 500 secondary schools, only 21. The College of Higher Education trains teachers, accountants, paramedics, and fisheries specialists. But residents receive higher education in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. Honiara is home to the Marine Resources Institute of the University of the South Pacific (Fiji).

People of Solomon Islands