South Pacific, 3,300 km northeast of Australia and just east of Papua New Guinea. 5,800 km southwest of Hawaii.
Six main volcanic islands. More than 900 smaller ones.
Why the name?
In 1568, Spanish explorer Álvaro de Mendaña named the islands after biblical King Solomon, on the mistaken assumption the islands held vast gold reserves (they do have some).
20th century significance
The Japanese army occupied the Solomons during the Second World War as a strategic airbase. The six-month battle on Guadalcanal Island proved a decisive Allied victory over the Japanese in 1942-43. Solomon Islanders fought for the Allies.
John F. Kennedy’s famed PT-109 was shipwrecked in the Solomons in 1943. The future U.S. president saved 10 of his shipmates.
Solomons population today
660,000 (2018 World Factbook)
Western missionaries brought Christianity here in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today the population is 92% Christian but most do not have the Bible in their first language.
English is the Solomons’ official language, but only 1-2% of the residents speak it fluently.
Solomon Islands Pijin (a simplified speech used for communication between people with different languages) is widely spoken. The Solomon Islands Pijin Bible was published in 2008.
SITAG (SIL in the Solomons) is contributing to the translation of numerous New Testaments and full Bibles. Among the islands’ 70 living languages, more than half either already have Scripture or have translation work in progress.
Solomon Islands Sign Language is one of those waiting to begin, as it has no known Scripture. The Deaf community in the Solomons is estimated to be 6,200.
64% of Solomon Islands women ages 15-49 have reported being physically and/or sexually abused. It’s one of the highest abuse rates in the world.
(Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care)