The Solomon Islands is a country in Melanesia, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. Together they cover a land mass of 28,400 square kilometres (10,965 sq mi). The capital is Honiara, located on the island of Guadalcanal.
The Solomon Islands are believed to have been inhabited by Melanesian people for thousands of years. The United Kingdom established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the most bitter fighting of World War II occurred in the Solomon Islands campaign of 1942–45, including the Battle of Guadalcanal. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. The country is a Commonwealth realm.
Since 1998 ethnic violence, government misconduct and crime have undermined stability and civil society. In June 2003 (following the Invasion of Iraq) an Australian-led "multinational" force, the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias.
The North Solomon Islands are divided between the independent Solomon Islands and Bougainville Province in Papua New Guinea.