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These islands may have been inhabited as far back as 30,000 BC, though some Austronesians are believed to have arrived in 4,000 BC, and the Polynesians came in 800 BC. Europeans began exploring the islands in around 1568, with the Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendana de Neira. Later, missionaries began arriving in the nineteenth century, and eventually Britain declared the islands a protectorate. Guadalcanal was an important battle site during the World War II. The Solomon Islands were granted autonomy in 1976 and independence in 1978. Since then, the Solomon Islands have faced ethnic tensions, resulting in a civil war, and has struggled with government corruption.
The Solomon Islands are grouped into ten administrative areas: nine provinces and the capital, Honiara. The population of the country is about 523,000, of which nearly 95 percent are ethnic Melanesian, with small percentages of Polynesians and Micronesians. More than 70 languages are spoken around the Solomon Islands, including Melanesian languages, Polynesian, and Micronesian languages. The official language of the islands is English, but the lingua franca is Solomons Pijin, an English Creole. The predominant religion on the Solomon Islands is Christianity, with some followers of Islam, Baha'i, and others.
Last Updated On : March 13, 2013