Consisting of about 6 major islands and over 900 smaller ones, the Solomon Islands is a country in Melanesia, part of Oceania. It covers an area of about 29,000 square kilometers and has a population of about 800,000 people. Guadalcanal is the country’s biggest island; it provided an active battleground during World War II. Continue reading to learn more fascinating Solomon Island facts to make your day.
1. It Is One of the Few Countries without a Military Force
Since its independence, the Solomon Islands has not maintained any military force. Instead, it relies on the Royal Solomon Islands Force to maintain its internal security. There are about 22 countries that do not have an army. Other popular ones include Mauritius, Costa Rica, Iceland, and Andorra.
2. It Trades In Solomon Islands Dollars
Before 1977, the Australian dollar was Solomon Islands’ national currency. However, that changed after 1977, with the Solomon Islands dollar taking over. Its official symbol is SI$, but it often uses the prefix $, with the SI omitted.
3. The majority of the People in the Solomon Islands Are Christians
Over 90% of the people in Solomon Islands are Christians, only varying in denominations. The majority are Anglicans (about 35%), followed by Catholics (19%) and the United Church (11%). Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cater for the remaining percentage. Other than Christians, Aboriginal beliefs comprise about 5%, with Islam being the least.
4. One of the Solomon Islands Is Named After John F Kennedy
Before being the president of the United States, John F Kennedy was a military officer stationed at Lubaria Island. During the height of World War II, Kennedy was patrolling with his crew before they were struck by a Japanese destroyer and their boat sunk. Survivors had to swim for over 3 miles to the nearest island. Today, the castaway island is renamed after John F Kennedy. It measures 1.17 hectares and is currently inhabited.
5. John F Kennedy Carved a Message into a Coconut While Stranded on Solomon Islands
After their boat capsized and swum a long way to get to the island, the survivors, including J F Kennedy, still needed help. The former president inscribed a rescue message on a coconut, a move that proved fruitful as they were actually saved. When he returned to the United States, John F Kennedy got the specific coconut back and placed it in his Oval Office.
6. Solomon Islands Has Skyrocketing Domestic Violence Cases
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the Solomon Islands has one of the highest domestic violence cases. About 64% of women between 15 and 49 have reported being subject to domestic violence, sexual abuse, or both. The organization blames gender inequality and its effects for these high numbers.
7. The United States Helped Build the Solomon Islands Parliament Building
In memory of the US service members who lost their lives in the Battle of Guadalcanal, the United States Government gifted about US$ 5 million to build the Solomon Islands Parliament Building. The island was a very active World War II site, with plenty of military artillery leftovers.
8. There Is Only One Daily Newspaper in Solomon Islands
The Solomon Star is the only daily newspaper in Solomon Islands. Additionally, there is a daily online news website (www.solomontimes.com), a couple of weekly papers, and two monthly ones. With that, radio is the most influential media in the country, thanks to illiteracy and language differences.
9. It Doesn’t Have A National TV Service
To date, there is no television service covering the entire Solomon Islands. However, some cover as many as nine provinces. In the capital city, Honiara, there is an analog TV channel, a free-to-air HD digital TV, and a monopoly online service.
10. Solomon Islands Isn’t Popular with Sports
Most countries have a sport they identify with, but not so much for Solomon Islands. The region has a rugby union that governs the Solomon Islands National Rugby Union Team. Even though it was formed in 1969 (before the country’s independence), its only notable achievements have been participating in the 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cup qualification tournaments.
With a Worldwide FIFA ranking of 133, the country’s soccer team has been the most promising. Its highest ranking was 120 in 2007-2008. Other popular sports in the region include Futsal and beach soccer.
11. It Was Named Solomon Islands after the Biblical King Solomon
Contrary to popular belief, Álvaro de Mendana, a Spanish navigator, did not name the country even though he was the first European to visit the region. Solomon Islands (Islas Salomon) was named after the biblical King Solomon, with natives believing that the area was the Bible-mentioned city of Ophir.
12. Solomon Islands Gained Its Independence in 1978
Before 1978, the Solomon Islands was formally known as the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. After its independence, the region was named Solomon Islands through a new constitution, without the article “the.” Today, the islands are informally referred to as “the Solomons.”
13. There Are Indigenous Islanders with Naturally Dark Skin and Blonde Hair
14. Honiara Is the Capital City of Solomon Islands
Located on the north Coast of Guadalcanal Island, Honiara is the biggest city and the capital of Solomon Islands. Characterized by bright lights and beautiful sceneries, Honiara is the islands’ main administrative, economic, and educational center.
15. English Is Solomon Islands’ Official Language but Not the Most Spoken
Even though English is Solomon Islands’ official language, very few people use it fluently. The country is full of diverse cultures, languages, and customs. Melanesian takes about 93%, with Polynesian and Micronesian covering the remaining few spots. Approximately 120 vernacular languages are scattered across the islands, including Solomon Islands pidgin.
16. It Is Popular for Scuba Diving
Solomon Islands is one of the best places for diving in the world. Apart from the thrill that comes with the sport, participants enjoy viewing a plethora of marine life, including the barracuda and parrotfish. Additionally, it is rich with history; visitors can tour the JFK castaway island and the World War 2 sites.