1568 Apr 16, The first recorded
sighting of Tulagi Island by Europeans was by the Spanish expedition
of Álvaro de Mendaña. More precisely the sighting was due to a local
voyage done by a small boat, in the accounts the brigantine
Santiago, commanded by Maestre de Campo Pedro Ortega Valencia and
having Hernán Gallego as pilot.
1936 Raymond Firth (1901-2002),
New Zealand-born anthropologist, authored “We the Tikopia,’ a study
of the organization of some 1,200 Tikopia islanders of the British
Solomons. He later wrote 9 more books on the Tikopia.
(SFC, 3/19/02, p.A20)
1942 Jan 4, Japanese forces
began the evacuation of Guadalcanal
1942 Aug 7, The U.S. 1st Marine
Division under General A. A. Vandegrift landed on the islands of
Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the Solomon islands. This was the first
American amphibious landing of the war and the start of the first
major allied offensive in the Pacific during World War II. The
initial landing party included Navajo Codetalkers. This was the 1st
land Japanese defeat of WWII; Japan was building an air base with
designs on isolating the Australian continent.
(AP, 8/7/97)(HN, 8/7/98)(WSJ, 10/12/99,
1942 Aug 8, U.S. Marines
captured the Japanese airstrip on Guadalcanal.
1942 Aug 18, Japan sent a
crack army to Guadalcanal to repulse the U.S. Marines fighting
1942 Aug 21, U.S. Marines
turned back the first major Japanese ground attack on Guadalcanal in
the Battle of Tenaru.
1942 Aug 23, The 1st US flights
landed on Guadalcanal.
1942 Aug 24, In the battle of
the Eastern Solomons, the third carrier-versus-carrier battle of the
war, U.S. naval forces defeated a Japanese force attempting to
screen reinforcements for the Guadalcanal fighting.
1942 Aug, Following the
Battle of Midway, American forces at Guadalcanal--code-named
"Cactus"--took delivery of 12 Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers and
their escort of 19 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat fighters, the advance
squadrons of Marine Air Group (MAG) 23. Within 12 hours the
fledgling "Cactus Air Force" helped finish off a Japanese infantry
1942 Sep 13, Battle of Edson's
Ridge began at Guadalcanal.
1942 Sep 14, The 3-day Battle
of Edson's Ridge at Guadalcanal continued.
1942 Sep 15, The USS Wasp was
torpedoed by a Japanese submarine at Guadalcanal; the US Navy ended
up sinking the badly damaged aircraft carrier.
1942 Oct 8, Fight at Matanikau,
Guadalcanal (John Hersey Into the Valley).
1942 Oct 11, In the World War
II Battle of Cape Esperance in the Solomon Islands, U.S. cruisers
and destroyers decisively defeated a Japanese task force in a night
(AP, 10/11/97)(HN, 10/11/98)
1942 Oct 13, In the first of
four attacks, two Japanese battleships sail down the slot and
shelled Henderson field on Guadalcanal, in an unsuccessful effort to
destroy the American Cactus Air Force.
1942 Oct 25, Battle of
Henderson Field, Guadalcanal began.
1942 Oct 26, In the Battle of
Santa Cruz the USS South Dakota shot down a record 32 enemy planes
1942 Oct 26, Japanese planes
badly damaged the US ship Hornet in the Battle of Santa Cruz
Islands, in the South Pacific Solomon Islands. 300 survivors were
rescued by the destroyer Barton. The Hornet sank early the next
(HN, 10/26/98)(AP, 10/26/07)(SFC, 10/14/05, p.B6)
1942 Oct 26, On the 2nd day in
the Battle of Henderson Field. Mitchell Paige (1918-2003), US Marine
platoon sergeant, held his position against Japanese forces at
Guadalcanal as all his men were killed or wounded, until
reinforcements arrived. He received a battlefield commission and
later a Medal of Honor. In 1975 he authored the autobiography "A
Marine Named Mitch."
(HN, 10/26/98)(SFC, 11/19/03, p.A29)
1942 Nov 11, US code breakers
reported that the Japanese were about to launch a large convoy to
resupply US troops and annihilate US forces on Guadalcanal.
(SFC, 5/26/18, p.C2)
1942 Nov 12, The World War II
naval Battle of Guadalcanal began. 21 Japanese Mitsubishi torpedo
bombers attacked the cruisers San Francisco and Helena. One plane
struck the San Francisco killing 11 men firing at the plane. 11
others were killed elsewhere on the ship. The Allies eventually won
a major victory over the Japanese. The battle was described by Ira
Wolfert in news reports and his 1943 book "Battle for the Solomons."
In 2011 James Hornfischer authored "Neptune's Inferno: The US Navy
(SFC,11/28/97, p.B8)(AP, 11/12/07)(SFC, 5/26/18,
1942 Nov 13, On the 2nd day of
the 4-day battle between Japanese and US naval forces off
Guadalcanal Island in the Solomon Island chain Rear Adm. Daniel
Callaghan, aboard the heavy cruiser San Francisco and Capt. Cassin
Young, the ship’s commanding officer, were among 107 men killed.
Adm. Norman Scott of the cruiser Atlanta was also killed by
mistaken fire from the San Francisco. The battle was a tactical
defeat for the US Navy, but a strategic victory in saving
Guadalcanal's Henderson Field.
p.C3)(SSFC, 12/10/17, DB p.54)
1942 Nov 13, An American fleet
defeated a Japanese naval force in a clash off Guadalcanal. The five
Sullivan brothers, onboard USS Juneau, were all killed in the
action. 687 men aboard the Juneau were killed after the ship was
torpedoed and sank.
1942 Nov 14, American planes
sank Japan's battleship Hiei (Heiei). 188 of her crew were lost.
1942 Dec 31, After five months
of battle, Emperor Hirohito allowed the Japanese commanders at
Guadalcanal to retreat.
1943 Jan 5, The Japanese began
a planned withdrawal from Guadalcanal.
1943 Feb 9, The World War II
battle of Guadalcanal in the southwest Pacific ended with an Allied
victory over Japanese forces.
1943 Mar 8, Japanese forces
attacked American troops on Hill 700 in Bougainville. The battle
lasted five days.
1943 Mar 13, Japanese forces
ended their attack on the American troops on Hill 700 in
1943 Apr 7, US Marine Lt. James
Swett (1920-2009), division leader of Squadron 221, shot down 7
Japanese bombers over the Solomon Islands. He was later awarded the
Medal of Honor for his actions on this day.
(SSFC, 1/25/09, p.B3)
1943 Apr 18, Sixteen US P-38s
flew 400 miles west from Guadalcanal and spotted two enemy bombers
over Bougainville, in the Solomon archipelago. Japan's Admiral
Isoroku Yamamoto (59), mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack, was
among 11 men who died in the plane that crashed on land. The
Pentagon didn't officially release details of the mission until
Sept. 11, 1945, nine days after Japan surrendered.
1943 Jul 5, In the Solomon
Islands more than 730 of the USS Helena's crew of 900 survived its
sinking during the Battle of Kula Gulf. A group of 165 spent nearly
five days adrift in life rafts, during which some of the injured
died, before the sunburned, dehydrated and emaciated men took
shelter on Japanese occupied Vella Lavella Island. On March 23,
2018, the wreckage of the Helena was found about a half mile (860m)
below the surface of the New Georgia Sound by Paul Allen's R/V
1943 Jul 29, Lt. Robert Scott
(d.1999 at 85) led a platoon on New Georgia in the Central Solomons
to capture a hilltop overlooking the Munda Point airstrip. He found
himself alone and continued fighting with grenades and his rifle to
force an enemy withdrawal. 28 Japanese were found dead from his
attack. He received the Medal of Honor in Oct 1944.
(SFC, 2/12/99, p.A24)
1943 Aug 2, A Navy patrol
torpedo boat, PT-109, commanded by Lt. John F. Kennedy, sank after
being sheared in two by the Amagiri, a Japanese destroyer, off the
Solomon Islands. Lt. John F. Kennedy, towing an injured sailor, swam
to a small island in the Solomon Islands. The night before, his
boat, PT-109, had been split in half by the destroyer Amagiri.
Kennedy was credited with saving members of the crew. Two members of
the crew were killed in the collision in the Blackett Strait off
Gizo, the main town of western Solomon Islands. An injured Kennedy
and the ship's other survivors clung to the wreckage and swam to a
nearby island, where Aaron Kumana and Biuku Gasa found them. The
pair rowed 35 miles through enemy-held waters to summon a rescue
(AP, 8/2/97)(HN, 8/2/98)(AP, 8/30/07)
1943 Aug 5, American forces
took the Munda Point airstrip.
(SFC, 2/12/99, p.A24)
1943 Aug 25, U.S. forces
completed the occupation of New Georgia in the Solomon Islands
during World War II. Losing Hill 700 to the Japanese meant defeat
for the American forces on Bougainville. To the men of the 37th
Infantry Division, that was unthinkable.
(AP, 8/25/97)(HN, 8/25/98)
1943 Oct 6, The Battle at Vella
Lavella was fought in the Solomon Islands.
1943 Oct 18, US bombing of
Bougainville, Solomon Islands.
1943 Nov 1, American troops
invaded Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.
1943 Nov 2, The Battle of
Empress Augusta Bay in Bougainville ended in U.S. Navy victory over
1971 Australia joined with New
Zealand and 14 independent of self-governing island nations to form
the South Pacific Forum. The name was changed in 2000 to Pacific
Islands Forum. Member states include: Australia, the Cook Islands,
the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall
Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa,
the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Since 2006,
associate members territories are New Caledonia and French
Polynesia. In 2011 Guam, the Northern Marianas and American Samoa
became associate members.
1975 Sep 1, Bougainville Island
announced the formation of the "Republic of the North Solomons," but
failed in its bid to secede from Papua New Guinea.
1978 Jul 7, The Solomon Islands
gained independence from Britain.
2000 Jun 4, In the Solomon
Islands insurgents of the Malaita Eagle Force militia took Prime
Minister Bartholemew Ulufa'alua hostage in Honiara. The Malaita
Force was fighting the Isatabu force, which was trying to drive
thousands of migrants from Malaita off of Guadalcanal.
(SFC, 6/5/00, p.A9)
2000 Jun 7, In the Solomon
Islands Malaita rebels released Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa'alu
from house arrest and dropped demands that he resign.
(SFC, 6/8/00, p.C3)
2000 Jun 13, In the Solomon
Islands Prime Minister Ulufa'alu resigned prior to a no confidence
vote forced by armed rebels.
(SFC, 6/14/00, p.A13)
2000 Jun 30, In the Solomon
Islands Mannasseh Sogavare replaced Bartholomew Ulufa'alu as prime
(SFC, 7/1/00, p.A13)
2000 Aug 2, In the Solomon
Islands warring militias signed a cease-fire on an Australian
warship off the capital of Honiara.
(WSJ, 8/3/00, p.A1)
2000 Oct 15, Two rival Solomon
Island militia groups signed a peace agreement in Australia.
(SFC, 10/16/00, p.F8)
2000-2010 More than 54,000 wild birds, including
critically endangered species, were laundered through the Solomon
islands into the global wildlife trade during this period. In 2012
TRAFFIC, a wildlife group, said Singapore and Malaysia accounted for
93 percent of all birds imported from Solomon Islands.
2002 Jul 11, Solomon Islands
police reported that 10 men who went in search of a rebel warlord to
capture him for a bounty payment had all been killed.
2002 Dec 29, Cyclone Zoe hit
the Solomon Islands' Tikopia, Fataka and Anuta islands, with the eye
of the cyclone sweeping over Tikopia. The islanders survived and aid
arrived Jan 5.
(AP, 12/30/02)(AP, 1/5/03)
2003 Jan 20, A powerful
earthquake hit the Solomon Islands, causing residents to flee homes
2003 Jun 30, Foreign ministers
from 16 South Pacific nations endorsed a plan to send more than
2,000 troops and police to impose civil order in the Solomon
Islands. The military component of the Regional Assistance Mission
to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) ended in 2013.
(AP, 7/3/03)(Econ, 7/20/13, p.39)
2003 Jul 23, In "Operation
Helpem Fren" an Australian-led peacekeeping force poured into the
Solomon Islands to keep the island chain from slipping deeper into
(AP, 7/24/03)(Econ, 8/9/03, p.34)
2003 Oct 1, Solomon
Islands Foreign Minister Laurie Chan said an Australian-led force
has broken the reign of gangsters and warlords terrorizing the
Islands, paving the way for the small South Pacific nation to start
2003 Oct 28, Australia and New
Zealand said they will start withdrawing troops from the Solomon
Islands, claiming success in a mission to restore law and order.
2005 Mar 18, Former Solomon
Islands warlord Harold Keke and two other men were sentenced to life
in prison for the 2002 murder of a Catholic priest.
2005 Jul 18, In a program to be
screened on ABC TV, the fisheries chief of the Solomon Islands in
the South Pacific says Japan poured money into the country in
exchange for its support over whaling and cheap access to tuna.
Similar charges were made by former officials from the tiny
Caribbean nations of Dominica and Grenada.
2006 Apr 5, In the Solomon
Islands former premier Sir Allan Kemakeza narrowly clung to his seat
in parliamentary elections.
2006 Apr 18, Mobs of Solomon
Islanders looted stores, torched buildings and cars, and pelted
police with stones after lawmakers elected Snyder Rini as the new
prime minister. He associated with a previous administration accused
of corruption. Seven officers were injured.
2006 Apr 18, Australia said it
will send up to 110 troops to the Solomon Islands to help restore
calm after the election of a new prime minister sparked rioting.
2006 Apr 26, Snyder Rini, the
new Solomon Islands prime minister whose election last week sparked
two days of rioting and looting in the archipelago's capital,
resigned after losing support in Parliament.
2006 Oct 15, Foreign Minister
Alexander Downer said Australia would cut ministerial contacts with
its northern neighbor until an investigation was held into the
escape from Papua New Guinea of a Solomon Islands official wanted on
child sex charges. Julian Moti, now in custody in the Solomons and
facing charges of illegal entry, was wanted in Australia on child
sex charges involving a 13-year-old girl in Vanuatu in 1997. Moti
was deported to Australia in 2007. His case was thrown out in
December after the court found that Australian officials had
colluded in his illegal deportation.
(AFP, 10/15/06)(Econ, 10/28/06, p.51)(Econ,
2006 Solomon Islands' police
chief Shane Castles, an Australian, was sacked and declared an
undesirable immigrant after a raid by his police officers on the
home of the prime minister. The raid was connected to Australia's
pursuit of Julian Moti on child sex charges.
(Econ, 5/19/12, p.49)
2007 Apr 2, Tsunami waves
churned by an undersea earthquake crashed ashore in the Solomon
Islands, wiping away entire villages and triggering alerts from
Australia to Hawaii. At least 50 people were killed.
(AP, 4/3/07)(AP, 4/2/08)
2008 Apr 30, It was reported
that the value of spinner dolphin teeth in the Solomon Islands has
appreciated 400% in the last year from about .065 US cents to 26 US
cents. Dolphin teeth have been used there for centuries as currency.
(WSJ, 4/30/08, p.A1)
2009 May 15, In Indonesia 6
Asia-Pacific countries, meeting at the World Oceans Conference,
agreed on a management plan to protect one of the world's largest
networks of coral reefs, promising to reduce pollution, eliminate
overfishing and improve the livelihoods of impoverished coastal
communities. The Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries
and Food Security covered an area defined as the Coral Triangle,
which spans Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea,
the Solomon Islands and East Timor.
2010 Jan 4, A tsunami unleashed
by an earthquake plowed into the Solomon Islands with the crashing
waters devastating at least one village, leaving over a thousand
people homeless. The US Geological Survey recorded 8 earthquakes in
the region since late Jan 3. The magnitude 7.2 was centered 64 miles
(103 km) southeast of Gizo, and followed a 6.5 tremor less than two
hours earlier centered 54 miles (90 km) southeast of Gizo at a depth
of 6 miles (10 km).
(AP, 1/4/10)(AP, 1/5/10)
2011 Nov 11, Solomon Islands'
PM Danny Philip resigned to avoid a no confidence motion following
allegations of misappropriation of aid from Taiwan. Gordon Darcy
Lilo (b.1965) replaced him on Nov 16.
2012 May 3, The journal Science
reported that a single gene mutation is responsible for the pairing
of very dark skin and very blond hair in the Solomon Islands. The
findings debunked theories Solomon Islanders got their blond hair
from intermarrying with European explorers.
2013 Feb 6, A powerful 8.0
earthquake off the Solomon Islands generated a tsunami of up to 1.5
meters (about 5 feet) that damaged dozens of homes and left at least
9 people dead in the South Pacific island chain.
(AP, 2/6/13)(AP, 2/7/13)
2014 Apr 3, In the Solomon
Islands the Mataniko River in the capital, Honiara, burst its banks
and flooded low-lying settlements alongside the river. The flash
floods killed 14 people and left thousands more homeless.
2014 Apr 13, A powerful
earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 struck off the Solomon Islands,
hours after a 7.6 tremor. No casualties or damages were reported.
2014 Nov 19, The Solomon
Islands held a general election.
(Econ, 12/13/14, p.43)
2014 Dec 9, The Solomon Islands
parliament made Manasseh Sogavare (b.1955) prime minister.
2015 Mar 14, Residents in
Vanuatu hunkered in emergency shelters for a second straight night
after venturing out to find their homes damaged or blown away by
Cyclone Pam. 24 people were later confirmed killed with 3,300 left
homeless and nearly half the 300,000 population impacted. The
cyclone had already caused damage to other Pacific islands,
including Kiribati and the Solomon Islands.
(AP, 3/14/15)(SFC, 3/16/15, p.A2)(Reuters,
3/17/15)(CSM, 3/18/15)(AFP, 5/18/19)
2015 May 23, Japan pledged 55
billion yen ($450 million) in aid to Pacific island nations,
including Fiji, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands and
others, that are battling rising sea levels and natural calamities
as a result of global warming.
2016 Jun 16, In the Solomon
Islands scientists on World Sea Turtle Day tagged hawksbill sea
turtles in a key South Pacific breeding ground, hoping that
information fed to satellites will help them better understand the
endangered species' nesting, feeding and migration patterns.
2016 Dec 9, A 7.8 magnitude
earthquake hit the Solomon Islands. A 6.9 magnitude aftershock
followed a day later.
2019 Feb 5, In the Solomon
Islands the MV Solomon Trader ran aground on a reef off Rennell
Island, near the largest raised coral atoll in the world, a UNESCO
World Heritage site, and soon began leaking oil. Experts later
estimated that over 8 tons of oil had leaked into the sea and that
more than 660 tons of oil remained onboard. The ship was refloated
on May 11 after leaking a huge amount of oil into the sea.
(SFC, 3/2/19, p.A2)(AFP, 5/11/19)
2019 Jun 24, The Solomon
Islands, one of Taiwan's remaining allies in the Pacific, said it
will send a delegation to study Chinese aid in neighboring countries
as it considers a potential diplomatic switch to Beijing.
2019 Sep 16, The Solomon
Islands became the sixth country to switch allegiance to China since
President Tsai Ing-wen took office in Taiwan in 2016. Taiwan accused
China of trying to influence its presidential and legislative
2019 Sep 21, China and former
Taiwan ally the Solomon Islands established diplomatic ties in a
sign of Beijing's growing influence in the Pacific that has angered
Washington, with a top Chinese diplomat saying the time was almost
up for the rest of Taiwan's friends.
2019 Sep, The island of Tulagi
in Solomon Islands signed a deal with a Beijing-based company for
exclusive development rights for the entire island and its
(SFC, 10/17, p.A4)
2020 Apr 3, In the Solomon
Islands the MV Taimareho ferry lost dozens of passengers while
crossing Iron Bottom Bay in rough seas caused by Cyclone Harold.
(SFC, 4/4/20, p.A2)
2020 Apr 6, Cyclone Harold made
landfall on the largest island in Vanuatu, Espiritu Santo before
hitting the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Tonga. The storm left more
than two dozen people dead, and destroyed homes, buildings and crops
in the four countries.
2020 Sep 20, In the Solomon
Islands two men working to locate bombs left behind from WWII died
after one bomb exploded at their aid project in Honiara.
(SFC, 9/22/20, p.A2)
2021 Nov 25, Australia
announced it is sending police, troops and diplomats to the Solomon
Islands to help after anti-government demonstrators defied lockdown
orders and took to the streets for a second day in violent protests.
2021 Nov 26, In the Solomon
Islands more than a hundred people looted shops, before Australian
Federal Police officers arrived. Australian police began taking
control of hotspots following three days of violent protests in the
South Pacific island nation. Police found three bodies in a
burned-out building, as police made more than a hundred arrests
following rioting in Honiara in the past several days.
(Reuters, 11/26/21)(Reuters, 11/27/21)
2021 Dec 6, Solomon Islands PM
Manasseh Sogavare survived a no-confidence motion in parliament
after accusing the Pacific island nation's most populous province of
being "Taiwan's agent" and anti-government protesters of attempting