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To Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands 3/10

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Uploaded on May 20, 2010

http://www.islamhouse.com/s/9661 Solomon Islands /ˈsɒləmən ˈaɪləndz/ (help·info) [4]) is a country in Melanesia, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of 28,400 square kilometres (10,965 sq mi). The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal.

The Solomon Islands are believed to have been inhabited by Melanesian people for thousands of years. The United Kingdom established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in 1893. In the Second World War, there was fierce fighting between the Americans and the Japanese in the Solomon Islands campaign of 194245, 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.

Since 1998, ethnic violence, government misconduct, and crime have undermined stability and society. In June 2003, an Australian-led multinational force, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), arrived to restore peace, disarm ethnic militias and improve civil governance. The country's official name, as established in the Constitution of Solomon Islands[5] and as used by government[6] [7] as well as by the country's press[8] [9], is "Solomon Islands", with no definite article. The country is also called "Solomon Islands" in Australian English[10] and in New Zealand English[11]. Its name is thus reflected in international organisations such as Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.[12] In other English-speaking countries, however, the definite article is often added.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15]

Missionaries began visiting the Solomons in the mid-19th century. They made little progress at first, because "blackbirding" (the often brutal recruitment of laborers for the sugar plantations in Queensland and Fiji) led to a series of reprisals and massacres. The evils of the labor trade prompted the United Kingdom to declare a protectorate over the southern Solomons in June 1893. This was the basis of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. In 1898 and 1899, more outlying islands were added to the protectorate; in 1900 the remainder of the archipelago, an area previously under German jurisdiction, was transferred to British administration apart from the islands of Buka and Bougainville which remained under German administration as part of German New Guinea (until they were occupied by Australia in 1914, after the commencement of the First World War). Traditional trade and social intercourse between the western Solomon Islands of Mono and Alu (the Shortlands) and the traditional societies in the south of Bougainville, however, continued without hindrance. Under the protectorate, missionaries settled in the Solomons, converting most of the population to Christianity. In the early 20th century, several British and Australian firms began large-scale coconut planting. Economic growth was slow, however, and the islanders benefited little. The Solomon Islands is a constitutional monarchy and have a parliamentary system of government. Queen Elizabeth II is the Monarch of the Solomon Islands and the head of state; she is represented by the Governor-General who is chosen by the Parliament for a five-year term. There is a unicameral parliament of 50 members, elected for four-year terms. However, Parliament may be dissolved by majority vote of its members before the completion of its term. Parliamentary representation is based on single-member constituencies. Suffrage is universal for citizens over age 21.[23] The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is elected by Parliament and chooses the other members of the cabinet. Each ministry is headed by a cabinet member, who is assisted by a permanent secretary, a career public servant, who directs the staff of the ministry. Solomon Islands governments are characterized by weak political parties (see List of political parties in Solomon Islands) and highly unstable parliamentary coalitions. They are subject to frequent votes of no confidence, and government leadership changes frequently as a result. Cabinet changes are common.

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