Brief History
The BSIP Police Force
BSIP Stamp
The Spanish navigator Alvaro Mendana discovered these islands in 1567, though it is somewhat doubtful whether he was actually the first European who set eyes on them. In anticipation of their natural riches he named them Islas de Salomon. The expedition surveyed the southern portion of the group, and named the three large islands San Cristoval, Guadalcanal and Ysabel. On his return to Peru, Mendana endeavoured to organize another expedition to colonize the islands, but it was not before June 1595 that he, with, Pedro Quiros as second in command, was able to set sail for this purpose. The Marquesas and Santa Cruz islands were now discovered; but on one of the latter, after various delays, Mendana died, and the expedition collapsed.

Even the position of the Solomon Islands was now in uncertainty, for the Spaniards, fearing lest they should lose the benefits expected to accrue from these discoveries, kept secret the narratives of Mendana and Quiros. The Solomon Islands were thus lost sight of until, in 1767, Philip Carteret lighted on their eastern shores at Gower Island, and passed to the north of the group; without, however, recognizing that it formed part of the Spanish discoveries. In 1768 Louis de Bougainville found his way there. He discovered the three northern islands (Buka, Bougainville and Choiseul), and sailed through the channel which divides the two last and bears his name. In 1769 a French navigator, de Surville, was the first, in spite of the hostility of the natives, to make any lengthened stay in the group. He gave some of the islands the French names they still bear, and brought home some detailed information concerning them which he called Terre des Arsacides (Land of the Assassins); but their identity with Mendanas Islas de Salomon was soon established by French geographers. In 1788 the English lieutenant Shortland coasted along the south side of the chain, and, supposing it to be a continuous land, named it New Georgia; and in 1792 Captain Edward Manning sailed through the strait which separates Ysabel from Choiseul and now bears his name.

Traders attempted to settle in the islands, and missionaries began to think of this fresh field for labour, but neither met with much success, and little was heard of the islanders save accounts of murder and plunder. In 1845 the French Marist Fathers went to Isabel, where Mgr Epaulle, first vicar apostolic of Melanesia, was killed by the natives soon after landing. Three years later this mission had to be abandoned; but in 1851 work was again resumed. In 1856 John Coleridge Patteson, afterwards bishop of Melanesia, had paid his first visit to the islands, and native teachers trained at the Melanesian mission college subsequently established themselves there. About this date the yacht Wanderer cruised in these seas, but her owner, Benjamin Boyd, was kidnapped by the natives and never afterwards heard of. In 1873 the foreign labour traffic in plantation hands for Queensland and Fiji extended its baneful influence from the New Hebrides to these islands. In 1893 the islands Malaita, Marovo, Guadalcanal and San Cristoval with their surrounding islets were annexed by Great Britain, and the final delimitation of German and British influence in the archipelago was made by the convention of the 14th of November 1899.

The Japanese occupied the islands from 1942 to 1945. They became independent in 1978.

Western Pacific High Commission Flag
map of Solomon Islands
Map of Polynesia, 1883
Oceania Map, 1912
Administrative Districts Map 1918
Guadalcanal 1930 Map
Malaita 1930s Map
Ontong Java (Lord Howe) Atoll, 1934 Map
Guadalcanal 1931 Map
Guadalcanal 1942 Map
Buka Island Map 1944
Bougainville Island Map 1944
Choiseul Island Map 1944
North Santa Isabel Island Map 1944
New Georgia Island Map 1944
Malaita Island Map 1944
Russell Islands Map 1944
San Cristobel Island Map 1944
Cape Survile Map 1944
Travanion Island Map 1944
Vanikoro Island Map 1944
Solomon Islands Military Campaign Map
Solomon Islands 1958 Map
Guadalcanal 1967 Map
Santa Isabel Map, c1970
Guadalcanal Elevation Map
Solomon Islands Map
Solomon Islands Geological Survey Map 1958
Historical solomons
Images of Solomons
National Archive Solomon Islands Images
Letters from the Solomon Islands
John Proctor recalls his time with the VSO in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate and his role in establishing a Community Education Project in Makaruka and Balo Villages on Guadalcanal in 1966-1967.

Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Crocodiles
David Bell recalls the variety of work undertaken as a Geological surveyor in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate in the 1950s. Apart from the challenging topography, it is an area of substantial geological activity. He also recalls the legacy of the Second World War was still playing itself out over a decade after it had finished.

The Marching Rule Rebellion in the Solomon Islands from 1944 to 1955/56
Chris Cochran recalls the difficult years for British rule of the Solomon Islands in the wake of the upheaval of the Second World War. Many Solomon Islanders were reluctant to see the return of British rule after the American military had swept through the region. There was however one small island which remained determinedly loyal even in a sea of rebels. The rebellion lasted a decade before cooperation replaced confrontation, but it did take a toll on the population and administrators alike before its resolution.

My Service in Solomons
by Martin Lewis

The Solomon Islands in the Early and Middle Thirties
R.A. Lever gives a broad overview of living and working in the Solomon Islands during the depression years of the 1930s and before it was transformed by the events of the Second World War

Tulagi: The Capital That Was Abandoned
R.A. Lever explains how a capital was chosen in 1893 for the Solomon Islands but also goes on to explain its development and then how and why it was dismantled as it lost its administrative status to a rival settlement on a completely different island in the archipelago.

Big Trouble
James Tedder explains the perils of sea tranport in a diffuse archipelago and how 20th century means of transport could be rescued by the timeless technology of the local population.

Canoe Capers
James Tedder recalls the time he had to resort to the centuries old tradition of canoe transport - with all its concomitant hazards - in order to reach some of the outermost parts of the Solomon Islands.

Sports Day
James Tedder explains how he instigated a good old-fashioned Sports Day as a way to attempt to repay the hospitality of Solomon Islanders on the remote Reef Islands when he had been sent on tour there.

A Stomach Ache in the Solomons
James L O Tedder recalls how a suspected case of appendicitis could be a hugely complicated medical procedure to deal with amongst the dispersed islands of the Solomon Islands with basic facilities and expertise at best being on hand.

Anuta - An Island from Paradise?
James Tedder thought that he had been posted to one of the most isolated districts in one of the most isolated colonies of the British Empire. However, he was to find out that even this isolated district had it's own isolated islands to which he had to travel and administer.

Airstrip at Avu Avu (Haimarao)
James Tedder explains the process and stakeholders involved in building an airfield on the geographically isolated and challenged 'Weather Coast' of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.

The BSIP (a "complicated country") Police Force
Alan L. Lindley explains what it was like to serve as a police officer in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate in the 1950s. He details the diversity and cultural sensitivities required in working in such a diverse archipelago.

Love and Mixed Marriage in 1970 in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate
C.D.A. Cochran explains what it was like in 1970 in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate for a Briton to marry the grand-daughter of a renowned local chief.

Mail Day in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate
James Tedder explains the importance and relative reliability of the mail system in even the furthest flung and remotest part of Britain's Empire.

Supermarket - Island Style
James Tedder explains the practicalities and processes of getting access to food and shopping in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate.

Solomons and Ships
James Tedder gives a potted history of the ships and vessels that enabled trade and administration to be undertaken throughout the Solomon Islands archipelago over time.

An Introduction to Ysabel
John D. Field recounts being sent to reopen a government office in the war ravaged and isolated island of Santa Ysabel in the Solomon Islands in 1950.

How the Road came to Choiseul
John D. Field explains the somewhat chicken and egg problem of what to do with a new Landrover on an island with no roads!

Further Reading
Solomon's Safari, 1953-58
by by Colin H. Allan

Beyond the Reef: A Story of the Solomon Islands
by John David Bee

The government is the district officer: An historical analysis of district officers as middlemen in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate, 1893-1943
by James A. Boutilier

"...When The Long Trick's Over". Donald Kennedy In The Pacific
by Mike Butcher

From Kaduna to Kirakira: Letters Home from Overseas: A Record of Nine Years in Northern Nigeria and the British Solomon Islands Protectorate
by Jennifer Cawte

Good Second Class: (But Not Even C3) Memories of a Generalist Overseas Administrator
by Trevor Clark

Alone on Guadalcanal: A Coastwatcher's Story
by Martin Clemens

This Island's Mine
by W Fowler

Gentleman Pauper
by Sir Ronald Garvey

A Forester in the Solomon Islands: Diary and Letters 1953 to 1958
by Chris Hadley

Fire Over the Islands: Coast Watchers of the Solomons
by D.C. Horton

The Happy Isles: A Diary Of The Solomons
by D.C. Horton

Colonial Window: A View from the Past Being the diary of a doctor in HM Colonial Medical Service 1951-1975
by Dr J D Macgregor

Vouza and the Solomon Islands
by H MacQuarrie

I Have The Honour To Be
by Tom Russell

An Island In The Autumn
by John Smith

Solomon Island Years: A District Administrator in the Islands 1952-74
by James L O Tedder

Nowhere Near Greenland
by Barry Weightman

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