Solomon Islands - Country history and economic development

1000 B.C. Evidence of human settlement on some islands.

140-670 A.D. Evidence of Lapita pottery culture on some islands.

1568. Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendaña visits several islands in search of the fabled mines of King Solomon. Islands given Spanish names include Guadal-canal, Santa Isabel, San Cristobal.

1600-1700s. Explorers visit from Spain, the Netherlands, England, and France.

1800s. Regular contact between Solomon Islanders and whalers, missionaries, and traders. Labor recruitment ("blackbirding") for plantations in Fiji and Queensland. Lever's Pacific Plantations begins establishing large-scale plantations.

1893. British Solomon Islands Protectorate (BSIP) declared.

1942. Japanese invade Solomons; Allied forces counterattack.

1943. Allied forces occupy Guadalcanal in February; Japanese evacuate in December.

1940s. Rise of "Marching Rule," an indigenous movement on Malaita that advocates independence, non-payment of taxes, and return to tradition; leaders are jailed in 1948.

1978. On 7 July, Solomon Islands becomes independent; first prime minister is Peter Kenilorea.

1986. Cyclone Namu strikes; many people on Guadal-canal buried by landslides, plantations destroyed.

1990s. Escalation of ethnic tensions as vigilante groups (Guadalcanal Revolutionary Army, then Isatabu Freedom Movement) begin to drive Malaitan settlers off the land.

2000. Malaitan group (Malaita Eagle Force) takes control of Honiara in June; Townsville Peace agreement, with international monitoring, is signed in October, allowing full access to Honiara by all groups. It guarantees compensation to offended parties and mandates confiscation of weapons.

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