Independence Day in Solomon Islands Date in the current year: July 7, 2019

Independence Day in Solomon Islands July 7 is Independence Day in Solomon Islands. It is a public holiday commemorating the independence of Solomon Islands from the United Kingdom in 1978.

Solomon Islands is an island country in Oceania. Much of its territory is formed by the Solomon Islands archipelago that also includes the North Solomon Islands (part of Papua New Guinea), but excludes a number of islands considered part of Solomon Islands as a state.

The archipelago had been uninhabited for thousands of years before Europeans arrived here, although there is evidence of early Papuan- and Austronesian speaking settlers. The first Europeans to visit the Solomon Islands were the Spanish in 1568. Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira named the archipelago after the biblical King Solomon known for his great wealth, mistakenly assuming that the islands contained great riches.

In the following decades, the archipelago was frequently visited by Dutch, French and British navigators, as well as by British, American and Australian whaling vessels that came for water, food and wood. The reception of visiting seamen by the islanders was often hostile, which sometimes resulted in violence.

In the late 19th century, the evils of the slave trade and blackbirding (coercion of people through trickery and kidnapping to work as laborers on sugar plantations in Fiji and Queensland) prompted Great Britain to establish a protectorate over the southern part of the archipelago. By 1900, the remainder of archipelago had been transferred to British administration, apart from the islands of Bougainvilla and Buka, which remained part of German New Guinea. European missionaries settled in the protectorate and converted most of its population to Christianity.

During World War II, the Solomons were a major staging area of the South Pacific, and some of the most intense fighting occurred here. After the war, the islands began to gain more autonomy. A network of local councils was established in the post-war years, enabling the islanders to participate in central government.

The first elections in the Solomon Islands were held in the 1960s. In 1970, a new constitution was adopted. It replaced the previously existing Legislative and Executive Councils with a single Governing Council and established a new and improved system of government.

After the 1973 oil price shock that heavily hit the world economy, British administrators realized that the financial costs of supporting a colony had increased too much. In 1976, the Solomon Islands were granted self-government, and the Protectorate’s transition to independence began. On July 7, 1978, Solomon Islands became an independent country and dropped the definite article from the name.

Independence Day is the national day of Solomon Islands. It is usually marked with political speeches, a parade involving the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (since the country has no armed forces), traditional dance performances, cultural festivals, and more. Independence Day is a day off for most islanders, and they usually spend it bonding with their families and friends.

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Category

Public Holidays

Country

Solomon Islands

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Independence Day in Solomon Islands, holidays in Solomon Islands, public holiday, national holiday