The Solomon Islands form a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, that consists of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of 28,400 square kilometres (11,000 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 many thousands of years. Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña was the first European to arrive in Solomon Islands in 1568 and named them Islas Salomón. The United Kingdom established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in 1893. In the Second World War there was fierce fighting between the Americans and the Japanese 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 Solomon Islands is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen of the Solomon Islands, at present Elizabeth II, as the head of state. Gordon Lilo Darcy is the eleventh and current Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands.