Capital : Honiara
Languages: English, Solomon Islands Pidgin, local languages
This is a group of several hundred islands east of New Guinea. The largest island is Guadalcanal. They were inhabited by Melanesians and the first European sighting was by Spanish navigator Alvaro de Mendana on an expedition from Peru in 1568.
In the 1890s, they became a British protectorate and were given internal self-government in 1976 under Peter Kenilorea, leader of the Solomon Islands United Party (SIUPA) who became prime minister when they were given full independence within the Commonwealth in 1978. He had not managed to devolve power to the regions but under Solomon Mamaloni's People's Progressive Party who gained power in 1981, five new ministers were appointed to deal with provincial affairs, only to have the posts abolished when Kenilorea regained the premiership as head of a coalition government with the PPP, now known as the People's alliance Party, in 1984. Although he resigned after allegations of diverting French aid for personal use, he remained in Ezekiel Alebua's cabinet until Mamaloni's party became dominant after the 1989 elections. The latter resigned as PAP leader after a vote of no confidence in 1990 but remained head of government, leading to the fragmentation of both parties into personal factions.
The Solomon Islands have traditionally been pro-Western but the banning of nuclear warships from their waters alienated the USA and in 1988, they adopted a broader 'Pacific Strategy', joining Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea in the Spearhead Group which aimed to preserve Melanesian culture and help New Caledonia gain independence from France.
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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