The US Marine Raiders Monument atop Edson’s Ridge, also known as Bloody Ridge and Raiders Ridge, on Guadalcanal. The Battle of Edson's Ridge, 12-14 September 1942, was the second of three separate major Japanese ground offensives during the Guadalcanal Campaign. The Marine 1st Raider Battalion held off repeated assaults by a 6,000-strong Japanese force. While the Marines suffered more than 250 casualties, the Japanese Army sustained a staggering 800 casualties during the two-day battle. Photo courtesy of the US Army photo/ Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon.
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Settlers from Papua arrived on Solomon Islands around 30,000 years ago. About 6,000 years ago, Austronesian settlers came to Solomon Islands and the two groups mixed extensively. Despite significant inter-island trade, no attempts were made to unite the islands into a single political entity. In 1568, Spanish explorer Alvaro de MENDANA became the first European to spot the islands. After a failed Spanish attempt at creating a permanent European settlement on the islands in the late 1500s, Solomon Islands remained free of European contact until 1767 when British explorer Philip CARTERET sailed by the islands. The islands were regularly visited by European explorers and American and British whaling ships into the 1800s, followed by missionaries in the 1850s.

Germany declared a protectorate over the northern Solomon Islands in 1885 and the UK established a protectorate over the southern islands in 1893. In 1899, Germany transferred its Solomon Islands to the UK in exchange for the UK relinquishing all claims in Samoa. The UK tried to encourage plantation farming but few Europeans were willing to go to Solomon Islands and the UK left most services - such as education and medical services - to missionaries. In 1942, Japan invaded Solomon Islands and significant battles against Allied forces during the Guadalcanal Campaign proved a turning point in the Pacific war. World War II destroyed large parts of Solomon Islands and a nationalism movement emerged near the end of the war. By 1960, the British relented to allow for some local autonomy. The islands were granted self-government in 1976 and independence two years later under Prime Minister Sir Peter KENILOREA.

In 1999, longstanding ethnic tensions between ethnic Guale in Honiara and ethnic Malaitans in Honiara’s suburbs erupted in civil war, leading thousands of Malaitans to take refuge in Honiara and Guale to flee the city. In 2000, newly-elected Prime Minister Manasseh SOGAVARE focused on peace agreements and distributing resources equally among groups, but his actions bankrupted the government in 2001 and led to SOGAVARE’s ouster. In 2003, Solomon Islands requested international assistance to reestablish law and order. The Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), which ended in 2017, was generally effective in improving the security situation. In 2006, riots broke out in Honiara and the city’s Chinatown burned over allegations that the prime minister took money from China. SOGAVARE was reelected prime minister for a fourth time following elections in 2019 and that same year announced Solomon Islands would switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea

Geographic coordinates

8 00 S, 159 00 E


total: 28,896 sq km

land: 27,986 sq km

water: 910 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries

total: 0 km


5,313 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm

measured from claimed archipelagic baselines


tropical monsoon; few temperature and weather extremes


mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls


highest point: Mount Popomanaseu 2,335 m

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

Natural resources

fish, forests, gold, bauxite, phosphates, lead, zinc, nickel

Land use

agricultural land: 3.9% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 2.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 78.9% (2018 est.)

other: 17.2% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km NA (2012)

Population distribution

most of the population lives along the coastal regions; about one in five live in urban areas, and of these some two-thirds reside in Honiara, the largest town and chief port

Natural hazards

tropical cyclones, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earthquakes, tremors, and volcanic activity; tsunamis

volcanism: Tinakula (851 m) has frequent eruption activity, while an eruption of Savo (485 m) could affect the capital Honiara on nearby Guadalcanal

Geography - note

strategic location on sea routes between the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea; Rennell Island, the southernmost in the Solomon Islands chain, is one of the world’s largest raised coral atolls; the island’s Lake Tegano, formerly a lagoon on the atoll, is the largest lake in the insular Pacific (15,500 hectares)

People and Society


690,598 (July 2021 est.)


noun: Solomon Islander(s)

adjective: Solomon Islander

Ethnic groups

Melanesian 95.3%, Polynesian 3.1%, Micronesian 1.2%, other 0.3% (2009 est.)


Melanesian pidgin (in much of the country is lingua franca), English (official but spoken by only 1%-2% of the population), 120 indigenous languages


Protestant 73.4% (Church of Melanesia 31.9%, South Sea Evangelical 17.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 11.7%, United Church 10.1%, Christian Fellowship Church 2.5%), Roman Catholic 19.6%, other Christian 2.9%, other 4%, unspecified 0.1% (2009 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 32.99% (male 116,397/female 109,604)

15-24 years: 19.82% (male 69,914/female 65,874)

25-54 years: 37.64% (male 131,201/female 126,681)

55-64 years: 5.04% (male 17,844/female 16,704)

65 years and over: 4.51% (male 14,461/female 16,417) (2020 est.)

This is the population pyramid for Solomon Islands. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 77.6

youth dependency ratio: 71.1

elderly dependency ratio: 6.5

potential support ratio: 15.3 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 23.5 years

male: 23.2 years

female: 23.7 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

1.75% (2021 est.)

Birth rate

23.07 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Death rate

3.97 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Net migration rate

-1.57 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Population distribution

most of the population lives along the coastal regions; about one in five live in urban areas, and of these some two-thirds reside in Honiara, the largest town and chief port


urban population: 25.1% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 3.57% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

82,000 HONIARA (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female

total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

22.6 years (2015 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality ratio

104 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 20.52 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 24.49 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 16.36 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.45 years

male: 73.78 years

female: 79.25 years (2021 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.92 children born/woman (2021 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 95% of population

rural: 67.1% of population

total: 73.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 5% of population

rural: 32.9% of population

total: 26.4% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.19 physicians/1,000 population (2016)

Hospital bed density

1.4 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 95.6% of population

rural: 22% of population

total: 39.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 4.4% of population

rural: 78% of population

total: 60.9% of population (2017 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

vectorborne diseases: malaria

Education expenditures

10.1% of GDP (2015)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 1.3%

male: 1%

female: 1.6% (2013)


Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil erosion; many of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying; effects of climate change and rising sea levels

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 10.67 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.17 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.43 megatons (2020 est.)


tropical monsoon; few temperature and weather extremes

Land use

agricultural land: 3.9% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 2.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 78.9% (2018 est.)

other: 17.2% (2018 est.)


urban population: 25.1% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 3.57% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from forest resources

forest revenues: 20.27% of GDP (2018 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

vectorborne diseases: malaria

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 179,972 tons (2013 est.)

Total renewable water resources

44.7 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Solomon Islands

local long form: none

local short form: Solomon Islands

former: British Solomon Islands

etymology: Spanish explorer Alvaro de MENDANA named the isles in 1568 after the wealthy biblical King SOLOMON in the mistaken belief that the islands contained great riches

Government type

parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm


name: Honiara

geographic coordinates: 9 26 S, 159 57 E

time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name derives from "nagho ni ara," which in one of the Guadalcanal languages roughly translates as "facing the eastern wind"

Administrative divisions

9 provinces and 1 city*; Central, Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Honiara*, Isabel, Makira and Ulawa, Malaita, Rennell and Bellona, Temotu, Western


7 July 1978 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 7 July (1978)


history: adopted 31 May 1978, effective 7 July 1978; note - in late 2017, provincial leaders agreed to adopt a new federal constitution, with passage expected in 2018, but it has been postponed indefinitely

amendments: proposed by the National Parliament; passage of constitutional sections, including those on fundamental rights and freedoms, the legal system, Parliament, alteration of the constitution and the ombudsman, requires three-fourths majority vote by Parliament and assent of the governor general; passage of other amendments requires two-thirds majority vote and assent of the governor general; amended several times, last in 2018; note - a new constitution was drafted in mid-2009 and the latest version drafted in 2013

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Solomon Islands

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years


21 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General David VUNAGI (since 8 July 2019)

head of government: Prime Minister Rick HOU (since 16 November 2017)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of the National Parliament for up to 5 years (eligible for a second term); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually elected prime minister by the National Parliament; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among members of the National Parliament

election results: Manasseh SOGAVARE (independent) defeated in no-confidence vote on 6 November 2017; Rick HOU elected prime minister on 15 November 2017

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Parliament (50 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 3 April 2019 (next to be held in 2023)

election results: percent of vote by party - UDP 10.7%, DAP 7.8%, PAP 4.4%, other 20.8%, independent 56.3%; seats by party - DAP 7, UDP 5, PAP 3, KPSI 1, SIPFP 1, SIPRA 1, independent 32; composition - men 49, women 1, percent of women 2%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and ex officio members including the High Court chief justice and its puisne judges); High Court (consists of the chief justice and puisne judges, as prescribed by the National Parliament)

judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and High Court president, chief justices, and puisne judges appointed by the governor general upon recommendation of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, chaired by the chief justice and includes 5 members, mostly judicial officials and legal professionals; all judges serve until retirement at age 60

subordinate courts: Magistrates' Courts; Customary Land Appeal Court; local courts

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Alliance Party or DAP [Steve ABANA]
Kadere Party of Solomon Islands or KPSI [Peter BOYERS]
People's Alliance Party or PAP [Nathaniel WAENA]
Solomon Islands People First Party or SIPFP [Dr. Jimmie RODGERS]
Solomon Islands Party for Rural Advancement or SIPRA [Manasseh MAELANGA]
United Democratic Party or UDP [Sir Thomas Ko CHAN]

note: in general, Solomon Islands politics is characterized by fluid coalitions

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Janice Mose KEMAKEZA

chancery: 685 Third Avenue, 11th Floor, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10017

telephone: [1] (212) 599-6192; [1] (212) 599-6193

FAX: [1] (212) 661-8925

email address and website:

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the US does not have an embassy in the Solomon Islands; the US Ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to the Solomon Islands

Flag description

divided diagonally by a thin yellow stripe from the lower hoist-side corner; the upper triangle (hoist side) is blue with five white five-pointed stars arranged in an X pattern; the lower triangle is green; blue represents the ocean, green the land, and yellow sunshine; the five stars stand for the five main island groups of the Solomon Islands

National symbol(s)

national colors: blue, yellow, green, white

National anthem

name: God Save Our Solomon Islands

lyrics/music: Panapasa BALEKANA and Matila BALEKANA/Panapasa BALEKANA

note: adopted 1978


Economic overview

The bulk of the population depends on agriculture, fishing, and forestry for at least part of its 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. Prior to the arrival of The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), severe ethnic violence, the closure of key businesses, and an empty government treasury culminated in economic collapse. RAMSI's efforts, which concluded in Jun 2017, to restore law and order and economic stability have led to modest growth as the economy rebuilds.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.71 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$1.78 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$1.76 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Real GDP growth rate

3.5% (2017 est.)

3.5% (2016 est.)

2.5% (2015 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$2,500 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$2,700 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$2,700 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.298 billion (2017 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.5% (2017 est.)

0.5% (2016 est.)

Credit ratings

Moody's rating: B3 (2015)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 34.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 7.6% (2017 est.)

services: 58.1% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: NA

government consumption: NA

investment in fixed capital: NA

investment in inventories: NA

exports of goods and services: 25.8% (2011 est.)

imports of goods and services: -49.6% (2011 est.)

Agricultural products

oil palm fruit, sweet potatoes, coconuts, taro, yams, fruit, pulses nes, vegetables, cocoa, cassava


fish (tuna), mining, timber

Labor force

202,500 (2007 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 75%

industry: 5%

services: 20% (2000 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 1.3%

male: 1%

female: 1.6% (2013)


revenues: 532.5 million (2017 est.)

expenditures: 570.5 million (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

9.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

7.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

41% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$54 million (2017 est.)

-$49 million (2016 est.)


$430 million note: data are in current year dollars (2020 est.)

$590 million note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$680 million note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

Exports - partners

China 65%, Italy 9%, India 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

lumber, fish, aluminum, palm oil, cocoa beans (2019)


$560 million note: data are in current year dollars (2020 est.)

$750 million note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$750 million note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

Imports - partners

China 24%, Australia 13%, South Korea 12%, Singapore 12%, Malaysia 10% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, fish, insulated wiring, broadcasting equipment, excavation machinery (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$0 (31 December 2017 est.)

$421 million (31 December 2016 est.)

Debt - external

$757 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$643 million (31 December 2016 est.)

Exchange rates

Solomon Islands dollars (SBD) per US dollar -

8.06126 (2020 est.)

8.10373 (2019 est.)

8.01282 (2018 est.)

7.9147 (2014 est.)

7.3754 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 66.7% (2018)

electrification - urban areas: 76.7% (2018)

electrification - rural areas: 63.5% (2018)

Electricity - production

103 million kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity - consumption

95.79 million kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

92% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

8% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

1,577 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 7,104 (2019)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1.06 (2019 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 478,116 (2019)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 71.38 (2019 est.)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Internet penetration has reached 20%; 3G and 4G LTE mobile network expansions, investment in mobile services in the region; otherwise 3G and satellite services for communication and Internet access; increase in broadband subscriptions; the launch of the Kacific-1 satellite in 2019 and the Coral Sea Cable System have vastly improved the telecom sector (2020)

domestic: fixed-line is 1 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular telephone density is about 71 per 100 persons; domestic cable system to extend to key major islands (2019)

international: country code - 677; landing points for the CSCS and ICNS2 submarine cables providing connectivity from Solomon Islands, to PNG, Vanuatu and Australia; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) does not broadcast television; multi-channel pay-TV is available; SIBC operates 2 national radio stations and 2 provincial stations; there are 2 local commercial radio stations; Radio Australia is available via satellite feed (since 2009) (2019)

Internet users

total: 198,900 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 11.92% (2019 est.)

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,045 (2019)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2019 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 6

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 427,806 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 3.84 million mt-km (2018)


total: 36 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2019)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 35

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 10

under 914 m: 24 (2013)


3 (2013)


total: 1,390 km (2011)

paved: 34 km (2011)

unpaved: 1,356 km (2011)

note: includes 920 km of private plantation roads

Merchant marine

total: 24

by type: general cargo 8, oil tanker 1, other 15 (2021)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Honiara, Malloco Bay, Viru Harbor, Tulagi

Military and Security

Military and security forces

no regular military forces; the Royal Solomon Islands Police is responsible for internal and external security and reports to the Ministry of Police, National Security, and Correctional Services

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the maritime branch of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force operates patrol boats provided by Australia (2021)

Military - note

Australia and New Zealand provide material and training assistance to the police

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

since 2003, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, consisting of police, military, and civilian advisors drawn from 15 countries, has assisted in reestablishing and maintaining civil and political order while reinforcing regional stability and security