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Friday 24th May
Solomon Islands Information - Page 2
The first Europeans to visit the Solomon Islands were the Spanish but the leader of the expedition, Alvaro Mendana de Neyra, died on his second visit. It was one hundred and seventy years later, in 1767, before other Europeans visited the islands.

In the mid 1880s the UK and Germany divided the Solomon Islands between the two countries but in 1899 Germany ceded most of its islands to the United Kingdom.

During the Second World War, Japan occupied the Solomon Islands (1942 -1945); the UK resumed control after the War.

The Solomon Islands became self-governing in 1976. Independence was achieved in 1978. The country is a member of the Commonwealth and the monarch the United Kingdom is the Solomon Islands' Chief of State.

Civil unrest and conflict at the end of the twentieth century led to the intervention of peace-keeping forces from Australia and New Zealand.

The Melanesian countries of Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands belong to the Melanesian Spearhead Group, a Free Trade Area Agreement.

The largest percentage of the population work in agriculture, fishing and forestry.

Agricultural products include cocoa beans, coconuts, palm kernels, potatoes, palm oil, rice, nuts and fruit. Cattle, pigs and chickens are reared.

Mining is important to the economy. Mineral resources are gold, lead, nickel and zinc. Other industries are building materials, fibreglass and timber boats, furniture, clothing, food processing and beverages.

Tourism is one of the priority areas for investment.

Traditional crafts on the Solomon Islands differ in styles and design throughout the islands. A variety of woven products include baskets, mats and bags. Carvings are made from many types of wood, some featuring shell inlay. Masks, figures, clubs and spears are just a few of the items produced.

Musical instruments made from bamboo, especially pipes, are traditional in the Solomon Islands. Music and dance, an integral part of Solomon Islanders' culture, is performed at celebrations.

Football, basketball and netball are popular team games in the Solomon Islands.

The seas around the islands, with coral reefs and beaches, are known for water sports such as diving, swimming and fishing.

National holidays include Easter, Christmas, New Year's Day and Independence Day (7 July).

News from the Solomon Islands is available in Newslink.

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