The Solomon Islands reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Solomon Islands

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The Solomon Islands are a nation in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea and is part of the British Commonwealth. It consists of more than 990 islands, which together cover a land mass of 28,000 square kilometres.

Solomon Islands
125px
Image:Solomon_Islands_coat_of_arms_small.jpg
(In Detail) (Full size)
National motto: To Lead is to Serve
image:LocationSolomonIslands.png
Official language English
Capital Honiara
Queen Elizabeth II
Governor General Father Sir John Lapli
Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 140th
28,450 km²
3.2%
Population
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
Ranked 160th
480,442
17/km²
Independence
 - Date
From the UK
July 7, 1978
Currency Solomon Islands dollar
Time zone UTC +11
National anthem God Save Our Solomon Islands
Internet TLD .SB
Calling Code677

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Provinces
4 Geography
5 Ecology
6 Economy
7 Culture
8 Religion
9 Miscellaneous topics
10 External links

History

Main article: History of the Solomon Islands

The United Kingdom established a protectorate over Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the bitterest fighting of World War II occurred on these islands. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence was granted on July 7, 1978. Current issues include corruption, land realtions, government deficits, deforestation, and malaria control.

Continuing civil unrest led to an almost complete breakdown in normal activity: civil servants remained unpaid for months at a time, and cabinet meetings had to be held in secret to prevent local warlords from interfering. The security forces were unable to reassert control, largely because many police and security personnel are associated with one or another of the rival gangs.

In July 2003 the Governor General of the Solomon Islands issued an official request for international help, which was subsequently endorsed by the government. A sizable international security contingent of 2,200 police and troops, led by Australia and New Zealand, and with representatives from about 20 other Pacific nations began arriving the next month under Operation Helpem Fren.

Politics

Main article: Politics of the Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth of Nations, with a unicameral Parliament and a ministerial system of government. The British monarch is head of state and is represented by a governor general, chosen by the Parliament for a 5-year term. The national Parliament has 50 members, elected for 4-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 18. The prime minister, elected by Parliament, 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 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.

Provinces

Main article: Provinces of the Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands are divided into 9 provinces and 1 capital territory*:

Image:SolomonIslandsMap.png

Geography

Main article: Geography of the Solomon Islands

The Solomons Island are a wide island nation that lies East of Papua New Guinea and consists of many islands: Choiseul, the Shortland Islands, the New Georgia Islands, Santa Isabel, the Russel Islands, the Florida Islands, Malaita, Guadalcanal, Sikaiana, Maramasike, Ulawa, Uki, San Cristobal, Santa Ana, Rennell, Bellona and the Santa Cruz Islands. The distance between the most western and most eastern islands is about 1500 km. Especially the Santa Cruz Islands, North of Vanuatu, (of which Tikopia is part) are isolated at more than 200 km from the other islands. Volcanoes with varying degrees of activity are situated on some of the larger islands, while many of the smaller islands are simply tiny atolls covered in sand and palm trees.

Ecology

The Solomon Islands are part of two distinct terrestrial ecoregions. Most of the islands are part of the Solomon Islands rain forests ecoregion, which also includes the islands of Bougainville and Buka, which are part of Papua New Guinea. The Santa Cruz Islands, which are west of the main group of the Solomons, are part of the Vanuatu rain forests ecoregion, together with the neighboring archipelago of Vanuatu. Both ecoregions are part of the Australasia ecozone, which also includes neighboring New Caledonia, the Bismarck Archipelago, and New Guinea, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Economy

Main article: Economy of the Solomon Islands

The bulk of the population depend on agriculture, fishing, and forestry for at least part of their livelihood. Most manufactured goods and petroleum products must be imported. The islands are rich in undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold. Economic troubles in Southeast Asia led to a steep downturn in the timber industry, and economic output declined by about 10% in 1998. The government instituted public service pay cuts and other retrenchments. The economy partially recovered in 1999 on the strength of rising international gold prices and the first full year of the Gold Ridge mining operation. However, the closure of the country's major palm oil plantation in mid-year cast a shadow over future prospects.

Culture

Main article: Culture of the Solomon Islands

See also: Music of the Solomon Islands

Religion

The religion of the Solomon Islands is about 96% Christian (Anglican 45%, Roman Catholic 18%, United 12%, Baptist 10%, Seventh Day Adventist 7%, Other Christian 4%) and about 4% indigenous religious beliefs.

Miscellaneous topics

External links


Countries in Oceania
Australia | Fiji | Kiribati | Marshall Islands | Federated States of Micronesia | Nauru | New Zealand | Palau | Papua New Guinea | Samoa | Solomon Islands | Tonga | Tuvalu | Vanuatu
Other political units: American Samoa | Cook Islands | Easter Island | French Polynesia | Guam | Hawaii | Papua (Indonesia) | Midway Atoll | New Caledonia | Niue | Norfolk Island | Northern Mariana Islands | Pitcairn Islands | Tokelau | Wake Island | Wallis and Futuna

Commonwealth of Nations
Antigua and Barbuda | Australia | Bahamas | Bangladesh | Barbados | Belize | Botswana | Brunei | Cameroon | Canada | Cyprus | Dominica | Fiji | The Gambia | Ghana | Grenada | Guyana | India | Jamaica | Kenya | Kiribati | Lesotho | Malawi | Malaysia | Maldives | Malta | Mauritius | Mozambique | Namibia | Nauru | New Zealand | Nigeria | Pakistan | Papua New Guinea | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Samoa | Seychelles | Sierra Leone | Singapore | Solomon Islands | South Africa | Sri Lanka | Swaziland | Tanzania | Tonga | Trinidad and Tobago | Tuvalu | Uganda | United Kingdom | Vanuatu | Zambia