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Ilhas Salomão

As Ilhas Salomão são um país no Pacífico. A capital é Honiara. A principal religião é o Cristianismo. As principais línguas são o Inglês e o Pidgin-Inglês. O Reino Unido estabeleceu um protetorado sobre as Ilhas Salomão na década de 1890. Alguns dos combates mais amargos da Segunda Guerra Mundial ocorreram neste arquipélago. Auto-governo foi alcançado em 1976 e a independência dois anos depois. A violência étnica, a má-fé do governo e a criminalidade endêmica têm minado a estabilidade e a sociedade civil. Em Junho de 2003, o então Primeiro-ministro Sir Allan Kemakeza procurou o apoio da Austrália em restabelecer a lei e a ordem; no mês seguinte, uma força multinacional Austrália-liderada chegou para restaurar a paz e desarmar as milícias étnicas. A Missão de Assistência Regional para as Ilhas Salomão (RAMSI) geralmente tem sido eficaz no restabelecimento da lei e da ordem e na reconstrução das instituições governamentais.


Few places on earth are as fascinating as the Solomon Islands, an archipelago in the southwest Pacific that is occupied mainly by a single independent nation. The islands were named by a Spanish explorer who tried—and failed—to colonize them four centuries ago. He named them after the fabled Isles of Solomon, thought to contain unimaginable wealth as the site of the biblical King Solomon's mines.

Today, these islands are valued not for the precious stones and metals the Spanish explorer sought, but for their rich mix of cultures and for their astonishing range of natural wonders. Solomon Islanders are Melanesian, Polynesian, and Micronesian. They speak nearly 90 languages and live among jungle-clad mountains and cascading waterfalls, active volcanoes and coral reefs, beaches of white and black sand, and more than 230 varieties of wild orchids and other tropical flowers.


The nation of the Solomon Islands lies about 1,200 mi. (1,900 km.) northeast of Australia. The largest island in the Solomons chain, Bougainville, belongs to Papua New Guinea, as does its medium-sized northern neighbor, Buka. The rest of the archipelago belongs to the nation of the Solomon Islands. It stretches 1,116 mi. (1,800 km.) from the Shortland Islands in the northwest to Tikopia and Fataka in the southeast, and nearly 560 mi. (900 km.) from the Ontong Java atoll in the north to Rennell Island in the south.

Most of the nation's major islands are arrayed in roughly two parallel strings that are separated by the New Georgia Sound. From west to east, the six main islands are Choiseul, New Georgia, Santa Isabel, Malaita, Guadalcanal, and San Cristobal. The Santa Cruz group, farthest to the east, contains, among other islands, Nendo, with rich bauxite reserves, and the uninhabited Tinakula Island, the Solomons' most active volcano.

The larger islands are mountainous and covered with dense rain forests. These forests teem with animals, including more than 140 species of birds, 70 species of reptiles, and gorgeous butterflies and moths. The coastal belts, where most Solomon Islanders live, are lined with coconut palms and ringed by reefs.

The smaller islands are low-lying coral atolls. The New Britain Trench, southwest of the archipelago, is the source of frequent earthquakes. Rennell Island, 124 mi. (200 km.) south of Guadalcanal, has 490-ft. (150-m.) sheer limestone cliffs, formed by the upthrust of Earth's crust; the island is the world's largest raised atoll. Rennell Island's cliffs surround a lake that is dotted by about 200 small islands.

The Solomon Islands' capital, Honiara, is on the northeast coast of Guadalcanal, the site of heavy fighting during World War II. Honiara became the Solomons' capital after the war, when British colonial officials decided to make use of the abandoned U.S. facilities. Today, Honiara is home to more than 45,000 residents. This is slightly more than one-tenth of the nation's population.

The weather is generally hot and humid throughout the year, with an average temperature of 80° F. (27° C.). Rainfall is heavy, about 120 in. (305 cm.) a year, and the islands suffer squalls and cyclones from November through April.

In May 1986, an unusually late cyclone ravaged the islands. The torrential rains tore out sections of mountains that excessive logging had already made unstable. Great masses of soil and mammoth trees washed down the river valleys, snapping bridges, sweeping away houses, and wiping out years of economic gains. In April 2007, an earthquake triggered a tsunami that left thousands of people homeless in the Western Province and the Choiseul Province of the Solomon Islands. In January 2010, earthquakes triggered landslides and a tsunami on the sparsely populated island of Rendova. And in April 2014, flash flooding hit Honiara, the capital city; roughly 10,000 people lost their homes.


About 93 percent of the Solomon Islanders are Melanesians, and they live mainly on the six large islands. About 4 percent are Polynesian, living on the outlying islands of Rennell, Bellona, Sikaiana, Ontong Java, Anuta, and Tikopia. Those Micronesians who resettled from the Gilbert Islands, now Kiribati, have lived near Honiara and on the island of Gizo since the 1950s. Small communities of Europeans and Chinese also live on Gizo and Guadalcanal.

In a nation where people speak nearly 90 distinct languages, a simplified form of English called Solomon Islands pidgin enables people from the different groups to communicate. English is the official language. But it is spoken by less than 2 percent of the population. Almost all Solomon Islanders are Christians. Education is not compulsory. But as many as three-quarters of all school-aged children attend some primary school. More than half of the people can read and write.

On the Solomon Islands about two-thirds of the people live in small villages, mostly near the shore. There, they farm native vegetables on individual plots and supplement their diets with fish, wild pig, and tropical fruits. On the island of Malaita, where many people live in the rugged interior, small herds of cattle are raised for food.

Most villagers live in thatched houses built on platforms that are raised off the ground. Landownership is important—in fact, it is the major source of an islander's status. It is passed on by the mother or the father, according to local custom. Only about one in three Solomon Islanders takes part in the cash economy, running a business or working for wages. Ethnic strife in 2000 disrupted the small tourist industry.

Fish, timber, cocoa, copra (dried coconut meat), and palm oil are the major exports. Tuna fishing and fish processing are expanding rapidly. With Japanese help, the Solomon Islands have launched a fishing fleet. There are deposits of bauxite, phosphates, and some gold.

Population growth is high, however. And unemployment is a serious problem, especially around towns such as Honiara, to which young men have gravitated in search of work. Another economic problem involves logging. Far fewer trees are being planted than are being harvested, risking the loss of topsoil, wildlife, and eventually the timber industry itself.


The Solomon Islands are a parliamentary democracy in the British Commonwealth. The British monarch is head of state, and is represented by a governor-general chosen by the 81-member, single-house parliament. The government is headed by a prime minister, who is elected by the parliament. Because the political parties are weak, the prime minister does not necessarily come from the largest party.


Archaeologists believe that hunter-gatherers lived on the larger islands at least as far back as 1000 B.C. The European who put the Solomons on the map was the Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendana y Neyra, who sailed from Peru in 1567. He died of malaria while trying to set up a colony on Nendo in 1595. Other attempts to colonize the islands failed, and Solomon Islanders were left alone for nearly two centuries.

The islands remained isolated until missionaries, traders, and sailors arrived in the 1800s. Germany claimed the northern islands in 1885, while the southern Solomons became a British protectorate in 1893. Some of the German-controlled islands were transferred to Australia following World War I. The northern islands became part of Papua New Guinea in 1975. The British Solomons became self-governing in 1976, and independent as the Solomon Islands on July 7, 1978.

After a June 2000 coup stemming from ethnic rivalry over land rights on Guadalcanal, the legislature chose a new prime minister. The rival ethnic militias then signed a cease-fire agreement, but violence continued. In July 2003, an Australian-led peacekeeping force, approved by the nearly bankrupt Solomon's government, went to the islands to restore order. Australian troops were again deployed to the Solomon Islands to restore order in the aftermath of the April 2006 national elections. The peacekeepers remained until 2013.

New general elections held in August 2010 were generally peaceful. The Reform Democratic Party leader, Danny Philip, was elected prime minister. In November 2011, Philip fired his finance minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo. Days later, he resigned in the face of a no-confidence vote, and parliament elected Lilo to succeed him. Lilo remained in that post until he lost his seat in the general elections held in November 2014. On December 9, 2014, Manasseh Sogavare was elected prime minister. He had previously held the office from 2000 to 2001 and from 2006 to 2007.

Harold M. Ross
St. Norbert College



The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the bitterest fighting of World War II occurred on this archipelago. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, endemic crime, and a narrow economic base have undermined stability and civil society. In June 2003, then Prime Minister Sir Allan KEMAKEZA sought the assistance of Australia in reestablishing law and order; the following month, an Australian-led multinational force arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has generally been effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.

Executive branch:

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Frank KABUI (since 7 July 2009);

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

Economy - 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 to restore law and order and economic stability have led to modest growth as the economy rebuilds.

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;

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: the Solomon Islands is a source and destination country for local adults and children and Southeast Asian men and women subjected to forced labor and forced prostitution; women from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines are recruited for legitimate work and upon arrival are forced into prostitution; men from Indonesia and Malaysia recruited to work in the Solomon Islands’ mining and logging industries may be subjected to forced labor; local children are forced into prostitution near foreign logging camps, on fishing vessels, at hotels, and entertainment venues; some local children are also sold by their parents for marriage to foreign workers or put up for “informal adoption” to pay off debts and then find themselves forced into domestic servitude or forced prostitution;

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – the Solomon Islands does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, the Solomon Islands was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; the government gazetted implementing regulations for the 2012 immigration act prohibiting transnational trafficking, but the penalties are not sufficiently stringent because they allow the option of paying a fine; a new draft law to address these weaknesses awaits parliamentary review; no new trafficking investigations were conducted, even after labor inspections at logging and fishing companies, no existing cases led to prosecutions or convictions, and no funding was allocated for national anti-trafficking efforts; authorities did not identify or protect any victims and lack any procedures or shelters to do so; civil society and religious organizations provide most of the limited services available; a lack of understanding of the crime of trafficking remains a serious challenge (2015).

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 Solomon Islands