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The Solomon Islands are believed to have been inhabited by Melanesian people for thousands of years. It is believed that Papuan speaking settlers began to arrive around 30,000 BC.
Austronesian speakers arrived circa 4,000 BC also bringing cultural elements such as the outrigger canoe. It is between 1,200 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. Missionaries began visiting the Solomons in the mid-19th century.
In the Second World War, there was fierce fighting between the Americans and the Japanese in the Solomon Islands campaign of 1942–45, including the Battle of Guadalcanal.
Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. The Solomon Islands is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen of the Solomon Islands, at present Elizabeth II, as the head of state.
In 1998, ethnic violence, government misconduct, and crime undermined stability and society. In June 2003, an Australian-led multinational force, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), has arrived and restored peace, disarmed ethnic militias and improved civil governance. It has also led to the development of facilities catering to the expatriate workers.
The Solomon Islands, a nation of hundreds of islands in the South Pacific, has many WWII-era sites.
Guadalcanal, a province and one of the archipelago’s largest islands, honors fallen Allied soldiers at its U.S. War Memorial.
Guadalcanal is also home to the nation’s capital, Honiara, whose bustling Central Market showcases the islands’ produce and traditional handicrafts.
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