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sunnuntai 16. lokakuuta 2016

Solomon Islands, Cool Facts #152

<= 151. Papua New Guinea                                                                                           153. Samoa =>

1. Name Origins of Solomon Islands 

The first European to visit Solomon Islands was the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña in 1568. Mendaña found gold in the islands and thought that he had found one of King Solomon's mythical gold mines. Thus Mendaña named the islands Islas Salomón, Solomon Islands. 

The Spanish weren't interested in settling to Solomon Islands because of the tropical humid climate and the resistance of the local people. The British later colonized Solomon Islands and used the name "the British Solomon Islands Protectorate". The country retained its name when it became independent in 1978 as Solomon Islands. 

Álvaro de Mendaña at Point Cruz

2. British Colonial Rule in Solomon Islands

Germany colonized the Northern Solomon Islands in 1885 and incorporated them as part of the German New Guinea colony. The British then conquered the rest of the Solomon Islands in 1893. The German Solomon Islands Protectorate was transferred to the British Solomon Islands Protectorate in 1900.

Malaita Rebellion
The people in Malaita rebelled against the colonial administration in 1927. One of the reasons was the harsh taxation of the locals. The rebellion ended poorly in 1928 as the British publicly hanged the rebellion leader Basiana and his allies in Tulag.

Moving towards independence
The national movement Maa'sina Ruru emerged in Solomon Islands and it was suppressed by the British in the 1950s. Some improvements were made in the 1960s when local administration was started to develop on the islands. In 1976 Solomon Islands gained self-government and in 1978 Great Britain granted Solomon Islands independence.

Solomon islanders during the British rule

Stamp of British Solomon Islands

3. Solomon Islands in World War II 

Influence on the local people
Most of the traders and planters were evacuated to Australia after the outbreak of the war. Cultivation in most of the places was ceased because some of the most intense fights of the war occurred in the Solomons.

Battle of Guadalcanal
In 1942 Japan had conquered the Solomon Islands and established a military base in Guadalcanal. The Battle of Guadalcanal started in August 1942 with simultaneous naval bombardments and amphibious landings on the Florida Islands at Tulagi and Red Beach on Guadalcanal. The Battle of Guadalcanal was the most important and bloody campaign fought in the Pacific Ocean as the Allied Forces began to stop the Japanese expansion.

John F. Kennedy 
During the war John F. Kennedy and his crew of the PT-109, were shipwrecked in the Solomon Islands. Two islanders, Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana, found Kennedy and his crew on an island, where they had swam after their ship had sunk. The islanders helped Kennedy and his crew to the nearest Allied base by rowing a canoe 65 km through hostile waters patrolled by the Japanese.

Battle of Guadalcanal
Kennedy in the far right

4. Civil War in Solomon Islands 1999-2003

Other names for the conflict
The tensions
The ethnic tensions 

Isatabu Freedom Movement (Guadalcanal Revolutionary Army)
Malaita Eagle Force 
Much of the fighting was between Guales and Malaitans 

Reason for the conflict 
During the world war the Americans and British settled workers from Malaita to the neighboring island of Guadalcanal. The people of Guadalcanal thought that the Malaitans had got the best lands and leading positions in the administration, which caused tensions between the Guales and Malaitans. 

Beginning of the conflict
In 1999 the militants in Guadalcanal started a campaign of violence and intimidation towards Malaitan settlers. As a result thousands of Malaitans fled the next year. As a counterforce the Malaita Eagle Force was established to fight against the Guadalcanal Revolutionary Army. 

End of the conflict
In 2003 Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomons Islands with 2200 police and troops from about 20 other Pacific nations came to stop the unrests and violence.

IFM militant

5. Blonde Melanesians of Solomon Islands

Blond hair around the world
Outside of Europe, natural blond hair is really rare. Melanesians along with some Australian Aborigines however are one of the few non-Caucasian people, who have blond hair. Scientists have researched the genes of the people in Solomon Islands because of this unique feature.

Between 5-10% of the population in the Solomon Islands are blond. The gene causing blond hair in Melanesians is entirely different than Caucasian gene for blond hair. An allele of TYRP1 results in blond hair.

Blonde Melanesian children


30,000BC Approximately the Papuan-speaking settlers arrived
4000BC Austronesian speakers arrived
1200-800BC The ancestors of the Polynesians, the Lapita people arrived from Bismarck archipelago
1568 The Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña visited the Solomon Islands archipelago as the first European and named it Islas Salomón after the wealthy biblical King Solomon
1800s Over 30,000 indigenous people were taken to forced labour in Fiji and Australia to the sugar cane plantations 
1885 Germany took the northern Solomons to their German New Guinea colony 
1893 United Kingdom declared a kingdom over the southern Solomons 
1898 and 1899 more outlying islands were added to the protectorate 
1900 The remainder of the archipelago, apart from the islands of Buka and Bougainville, was transferred to British administration having being previously under German jurisdiction
1927 A rebellion broke out at Malati against the colonial administration and the unfair taxation was one of the main reasons
1928 The British suppressed the rebellion by publicly hanging the rebellion leader Basiana and his supporters in the capital city Tulag
1940s Some of the most fierce naval battles was fought in the Solomon Islands between USA and Japan, which led to the expulsion of the Japanese from the islands
1950s The British suppressed the national movement Maa'sina Ruru
1960s Local administration was started to develop on the islands
1976 Solomon Islands gained self-government
1978 Great Britain granted Solomon Islands independence
1984 The government declared Solomon Islands as a nuclear weapon-free area
1999-2003 Ethnic violence, which escalated into a civil war
2003 Australian-led troops arrived to calm down the situation in Solomon Islands
2006 Unrests in Honiara as a Chinese businessman was alleged to have bribed the newly elected Prime Minister, as a result hundreds of Chinese fled to avoid the riots and much of the Chinatown in the city was destroyed
2007 Solomon Islands were struck by a major earthquake followed by a tsunami, killing at least 52 people and destroying more than 900 homes
2013 A sequence of earthquakes struck Solomon Islands again with a tsunami followed by the earthquakes

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