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Solomon Islands is a sovereign state consisting of six major islands and over 900 smaller islands in Oceania lying to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu and covering a land area of 28,400 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi).
The country's capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal.
Between 1200 and 800 BC 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.
Economic growth was slow, however, and the islanders benefited little.
He was awarded a Silver Star Medal by the Americans, which is the United States' third-highest decoration for valor in combat.The official name of the then British administration was changed from "the British Solomon Islands Protectorate" to "the Solomon Islands" in 1975, and self-government was achieved the year after.Independence was obtained in 1978 and the name changed to just "Solomon Islands", without the definite article.Of more than 36,000 Japanese on Guadalcanal, about 26,000 were killed or missing, 9,000 died of disease, and 1,000 were captured.
Local councils were established in the 1950s as the islands stabilised from the aftermath of the Second World War.When Solomon Islands became independent in 1978, the name was changed to "Solomon Islands".