Guadalcanal

Last updated

Guadalcanal
Native name:
Isatabu
GuadalcanalCloseup.png
Guadalcanal's position (inset) and main towns.
Solomon Islands - Guadalcanal.PNG
Geography
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates 9°37′S160°11′E / 9.617°S 160.183°E / -9.617; 160.183 Coordinates: 9°37′S160°11′E / 9.617°S 160.183°E / -9.617; 160.183
Archipelago Solomon Islands
Area5,302 km2 (2,047 sq mi)
Highest elevation2,335 m (7,661 ft)
Highest point Mount Popomanaseu
Administration
Solomon Islands
Province Guadalcanal Province
Largest settlement Honiara (pop. 54,600 (2003 est.))
Demographics
Population109,382 (1999)
Pop. density20.4 /km2 (52.8 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups Melanesian 93%, Polynesian 4%, Micronesian 1.5%, European 0.8%, Chinese 0.3%, other 0.4%

Guadalcanal ( /ˌɡwɑːdəlkəˈnæl/ ; indigenous name: Isatabu) is the principal island in Guadalcanal Province of the nation of Solomon Islands, located in the south-western Pacific, northeast of Australia. The island is mainly covered in dense tropical rainforest and has a mountainous interior.

Guadalcanal Province Province in Honiara, Solomon Islands

Guadalcanal Province is one of the nine provinces of Solomon Islands, consisting of the island of Guadalcanal. It is a 2,510 square mile (5,336 km²) island and is largely a jungle. Its name was given by Pedro de Ortega Valencia, born in the village of Guadalcanal, Seville, Spain. The national capital and largest city of the Solomon Islands, Honiara, is on the island; however, in July 1983 it was designated a 22-km² separately-administered Capital Territory and is no longer considered part of the province. The population of the province is 93,613 (2009), not including the capital territory. The population of the island is 109,382 (1999). Honiara serves as the provincial capital.

Solomon Islands Country in Oceania

Solomon Islands is a sovereign state consisting of six major islands and over 900 smaller islands in Oceania lying to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu and covering a land area of 28,400 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). The country's capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal. The country takes its name from the Solomon Islands archipelago, which is a collection of Melanesian islands that also includes the North Solomon Islands, but excludes outlying islands, such as Rennell and Bellona, and the Santa Cruz Islands.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Contents

Guadalcanal's discovery by westerners was under the Spanish expedition of Álvaro de Mendaña in 1568. The name comes from the village of Guadalcanal, in the province of Seville, in Andalusia, Spain, birthplace of Pedro de Ortega Valencia, a member of Mendaña's expedition.

Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira Spanish explorer

Álvaro de Mendaña y Neira was a Spanish navigator. Born in Congosto, in El Bierzo Region (León), he was the nephew of Lope García de Castro, viceroy of Peru. He is best known for the two voyages of discovery he led into the Pacific in 1567 and 1595 in search of Terra Australis.

Guadalcanal, Seville Municipality in Andalusia, Spain

Guadalcanal is a village in the province of Seville, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain.

Andalusia Autonomous community of Spain

Andalusia is an autonomous community in southern Spain. It is the most populous, and the second largest autonomous community in the country. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a "historical nationality". The territory is divided into eight provinces: Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga and Seville. Its capital is the city of Seville.

During 1942–43, it was the scene of the Guadalcanal Campaign and saw bitter fighting between Japanese and US troops. The Americans were ultimately victorious. At the end of World War II, Honiara, on the north coast of Guadalcanal, became the new capital of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate.

Guadalcanal Campaign U.S. military campaign in World War II

The Guadalcanal Campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and codenamed Operation Watchtower by American forces, was a military campaign fought between 7 August 1942 and 9 February 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific theater of World War II. It was the first major offensive by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Honiara Place in Honiara Town, Solomon Islands

Honiara is the capital city of Solomon Islands, situated on the northwestern coast of Guadalcanal. As of 2017, it had a population of 84,520 people. The city is served by Honiara International Airport and the seaport of Point Cruz, and lies along the Kukum Highway.

History

Western charting

A Spanish expedition from Peru under the command of Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira discovered the island in the year 1568. Mendaña's subordinate, Pedro de Ortega Valencia, named the island after his home town Guadalcanal in Andalusia, Spain. [1] The name comes from the Arabic Wādī l-Khānāt (وادي الخانات), which means "Valley of the Stalls" or "River of Stalls", referring to the refreshment stalls which were set up there during Muslim rule in Andalusia. In the years that followed the discovery, the island was variously referred to as Guadarcana, Guarcana, Guadalcana, and Guadalcanar, which reflected different pronunciations of its name in Andalusian Spanish.

Spanish Empire world empire from the 16th to the 19th century

The Spanish Empire, historically known as the Hispanic Monarchy and as the Catholic Monarchy, was one of the largest empires in history. From the late 15th century to the early 19th, Spain controlled a huge overseas territory in the New World and the Asian archipelago of the Philippines, what they called "The Indies". It also included territories in Europe, Africa and Oceania. The Spanish Empire has been described as the first global empire in history, a description also given to the Portuguese Empire. It was the world's most powerful empire during the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries, reaching its maximum extension in the 18th century. The Spanish Empire was the first empire to be called "the empire on which the sun never sets".

Peru republic in South America

Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.

Al-Andalus in historiography, the territories of the Iberian Peninsula under Muslim rule between 711 and 1492

Al-Andalus, also known as Muslim Spain, Muslim Iberia, or Islamic Iberia, was a medieval Muslim territory and cultural domain that in its early period occupied most of Iberia, today's Portugal and Spain. At its greatest geographical extent, it occupied the northwest of the Iberian peninsula and a part of present day southern France Septimania and for nearly a century extended its control from Fraxinet over the Alpine passes which connect Italy with the remainder of Western Europe. The name more generally describes the parts of the peninsula governed by Muslims at various times between 711 and 1492, though the boundaries changed constantly as the Christian Reconquista progressed, eventually shrinking to the south around modern-day Andalusia and then to the Emirate of Granada.

European settlers and missionaries began to arrive in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in the year 1893, the British Solomon Islands Protectorate was proclaimed which included the island of Guadalcanal. [1] In 1932, the British confirmed the name Guadalcanal in line with the town in Andalusia, Spain.

Second World War

In the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Japanese drove the Americans out of the Philippines, the British out of British Malaya, and the Dutch out of the East Indies. The Japanese then began to expand into the Western Pacific, occupying many islands in an attempt to build a defensive ring around their conquests and threaten the lines of communication from the United States to Australia and New Zealand. The Japanese reached Guadalcanal in May 1942.

Attack on Pearl Harbor Surprise attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii

The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The attack led to the United States' formal entry into World War II the next day. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning.

Philippines Republic in Southeast Asia

The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part of Metro Manila. Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east, and Malaysia and Indonesia to the south.

British Malaya Former set of states on Malay Peninsula

The term "British Malaya" loosely describes a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries. Unlike the term "British India", which excludes the Indian princely states, British Malaya is often used to refer to the Malay States under indirect British rule as well as the Straits Settlements that were under the sovereignty of the British Crown.

Japanese soldiers, killed while assaulting US Marine positions at the mouth of Alligator Creek GuadTenaruSandbar.jpg
Japanese soldiers, killed while assaulting US Marine positions at the mouth of Alligator Creek

When an American reconnaissance mission spotted construction of a Japanese airfield at Lunga Point on the north coast of Guadalcanal, the situation became critical. [2] This new Japanese airfield represented a threat to Australia itself, and so the United States as a matter of urgency, despite not being adequately prepared, conducted its first amphibious landing of the war. The initial landings of US Marines on 7 August 1942 secured the airfield without too much difficulty, but holding the airfield for the next six months was one of the most hotly contested campaigns in the entire war for the control of ground, sea and skies. Guadalcanal became a major turning point in the war as it stopped Japanese expansion. After six months of fighting, the Japanese ceased contesting the control of the island. They finally evacuated the island at Cape Esperance on the north west coast in February 1943. [3]

Immediately after landing on the island, the US Navy Seabees began finishing the airfield begun by the Japanese. It was then named Henderson Field after a Marine aviator killed in combat during the Battle of Midway. Aircraft operating from Henderson Field during the campaign were a hodgepodge of Marine, Army, Navy and allied aircraft that became known as the Cactus Air Force. They defended the airfield and threatened any Japanese ships that ventured into the vicinity during daylight hours. However, at night, Japanese naval forces were able to shell the airfield and deliver troops with supplies, retiring before daylight. The Japanese used fast ships to make these runs, and this became known as the Tokyo Express. So many ships from both sides were sunk in the many engagements in and around the Solomon Island chain that the nearby waters were referred to as Ironbottom Sound.

Guadalcanal American Memorial Guadalcanal American Memorial.jpg
Guadalcanal American Memorial

The Battle of Cape Esperance was fought on 11 October 1942 off the northwest coast of Guadalcanal. In the battle, United States Navy ships intercepted and defeated a Japanese formation of ships on their way down 'the Slot' to reinforce and resupply troops on the island, but suffered losses as well. The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in November marked the turning point in which Allied Naval forces took on the extremely experienced Japanese surface forces at night and forced them to withdraw after sharp action. Some Japanese viewpoints consider these engagements, and the improving Allied surface capability to challenge their surface ships at night, to be just as significant as the Battle of Midway in turning the tide against them.

After six months of hard combat in and around Guadalcanal and dealing with jungle diseases that took a heavy toll of troops on both sides, Allied forces managed to halt the Japanese advance and dissuade them from contesting the control of the island by finally driving the last of the Japanese troops into the sea on 15 January 1943. American authorities declared Guadalcanal secure on 9 February 1943.

Two US Navy ships have been named for the battle:

To date, the only Coast Guardsman recipient of the Medal of Honor is Signalman 1st Class Douglas Albert Munro, awarded posthumously for his extraordinary heroism on 27 September 1942 at Point Cruz, Guadalcanal. Munro provided a shield and covering fire, and helped evacuate 500 besieged Marines from a beach at Point Cruz; he was killed during the evacuation.

During the Battle for Guadalcanal, the Medal of Honor was also awarded to John Basilone who later died on Iwo Jima.

Post-war years

Immediately after the Second World War, the capital of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate was moved to Honiara on Guadalcanal from its previous location at Tulagi in the Florida Islands. In 1952 the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific moved from Fiji to Honiara and the post was combined with that of the Governor of the Solomon Islands. The airfield which was the cause of the fighting in 1942, and which became well known as Henderson Field is now the international airport for the Solomon Islands. It sits about five miles to the east of Honiara. [1]

Civil war

In early 1999, long-simmering tensions between the local Guale people on Guadalcanal and more recent migrants from the neighbouring island of Malaita erupted into violence. The 'Guadalcanal Revolutionary Army', later called Isatabu Freedom Movement (IFM), began terrorising Malaitans in the rural areas of the island in an effort to force them out of their homes. About 20,000 Malaitans fled to the capital and others returned to their home island; Guale residents of Honiara fled. The city became a Malaitan enclave and the Malaita Eagle Force took over government. The Royal Australian Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy deployed vessels to the area to protect the expatriate community resident mostly in Honiara. On her second visit to the capital, HMNZS Te Kaha served as venue for a series of peace talks culminating in the signing of the Townsville Peace Accord[ citation needed ].

In 2003, the Pacific Forum negotiated the intervention of RAMSI or Operation Helpem Fren involving Australia, New Zealand, and other Pacific Island Nations.

Fauna

The island hosts a native marsupial known as the phalanger or grey cuscus, Phalanger orientalis . [4] The only other mammals are bats and rodents.

There are many species of colourful parrots as well as estuarine crocodiles. In recent times, these crocodiles have been found only on the Weather Coast in the south of the island, but during the Second World War, they were found along the north coast in the vicinity of the airstrip where the fighting was taking place, as evidenced by names such as Alligator Creek.

Venomous snakes are rare on the island and are not considered to be a serious threat; however, there is a kind of centipede that has a particularly nasty bite. These centipedes were well known to the American Marines during the Second World War as "the stinging insects".[ citation needed ]

Malaria

The HBO mini-series, The Pacific (2010), executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, depicted American soldiers stricken by malaria during the Guadalcanal Campaign.

See also

Related Research Articles

History of Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in the Melanesia subregion of Oceania in the western Pacific Ocean. This page is about the history of the nation state rather than the broader geographical area of the Solomon Islands archipelago, which covers both Solomon Islands and Bougainville Island, a province of Papua New Guinea. For the history of the archipelago not covered here refer to the former administration of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate, the North Solomon Islands and the History of Bougainville.

Tulagi Small island in the Solomon Islands north of Guadalcanal

Tulagi, less commonly known as Tulaghi, is a small island in Solomon Islands, just off the south coast of Ngella Sule. The town of the same name on the island was the capital of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate from 1896 to 1942 and is today the capital of the Central Province. The capital of what is now the state of Solomon Islands moved to Honiara, Guadalcanal, after World War II.

Battle of Rennell Island 1943 battle in the Pacific during World War II

The Battle of Rennell Island took place on 29–30 January 1943. It was the last major naval engagement between the United States Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Guadalcanal Campaign of World War II. It occurred in the South Pacific between Rennell Island and Guadalcanal in the southern Solomon Islands.

Tokyo Express

The Tokyo Express was the name given by Allied forces to the use of Imperial Japanese Navy ships at night to deliver personnel, supplies, and equipment to Japanese forces operating in and around New Guinea and the Solomon Islands during the Pacific campaign of World War II. The operation involved loading personnel or supplies aboard fast warships, later submarines, and using the warships' speed to deliver the personnel or supplies to the desired location and return to the originating base all within one night so Allied aircraft could not intercept them by day.

Savo Island mountain

Savo Island is an island in Solomon Islands in the southwest South Pacific ocean. Administratively, Savo Island is a part of the Central Province of the Solomon Islands. It is about 35 km from the capital Honiara. The principal village is Alialia, in the north of the island. The indigenous language of Savo is the Savosavo language, an East Papuan language. The waters surrounding the island were the site of five of the seven major naval battles during the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Pacific War. As a result of these battles southeast of the island are many shipwrecks, the bay is known as Ironbottom Sound. The wrecks near the coast are very popular with wreck divers.

Nggela Islands island group

The Nggela Islands, also known as the Florida Islands, are a small island group in the Central Province of Solomon Islands, a sovereign state in the southwest Pacific Ocean.

Gavutu Place in Central Province, Solomon Islands

Gavutu is a small islet in the Central Province of the Solomon Islands, some 500 metres in length. It is one of the Nggela Islands.

Solomon Islands campaign major campaign of the Pacific War of World War II

The Solomon Islands campaign was a major campaign of the Pacific War of World War II. The campaign began with Japanese landings and occupation of several areas in the British Solomon Islands and Bougainville, in the Territory of New Guinea, during the first six months of 1942. The Japanese occupied these locations and began the construction of several naval and air bases with the goals of protecting the flank of the Japanese offensive in New Guinea, establishing a security barrier for the major Japanese base at Rabaul on New Britain, and providing bases for interdicting supply lines between the Allied powers of the United States and Australia and New Zealand.

Honiara International Airport international airport in Honiara, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands

Honiara International Airport, formerly known as Henderson Field, is an airport on Guadalcanal Island in the nation of Solomon Islands. It is the only international airport in the country and is located 8 kilometers from the capital Honiara.

Henderson Field (Guadalcanal) military airfield in Guadalcanal

Henderson Field is a former military airfield on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands during World War II. Originally built by the Japanese, the conflict over its possession was one of the great battles of the Pacific war. Today it is Honiara International Airport.

Santa Isabel Island island

Santa Isabel Island is the longest in Solomon Islands, the third largest in terms of surface area, and the largest in the group of islands in Isabel Province.

Lofton R. Henderson recipient of the Purple Heart medal

Lofton Russell Henderson was a United States Marine Corps aviator during World War II. He commanded Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-241) at the Battle of Midway and died while leading his squadron to attack the Japanese carrier forces.

Invasion of Tulagi (May 1942)

The invasion of Tulagi, on 3–4 May 1942, was part of Operation Mo, the Empire of Japan's strategy in the South Pacific and South West Pacific Area in 1942. The plan called for Imperial Japanese Navy troops to capture Tulagi and nearby islands in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. The occupation of Tulagi by the Japanese was intended to cover the flank of and provide reconnaissance support for Japanese forces that were advancing on Port Moresby in New Guinea, provide greater defensive depth for the major Japanese base at Rabaul, and serve as a base for Japanese forces to threaten and interdict the supply and communication routes between the United States and Australia and New Zealand.

Battle for Henderson Field battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II

The Battle for Henderson Field, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal or Battle of Lunga Point by the Japanese, took place from 23 to 26 October 1942 on and around Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. The battle was a land, sea, and air battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II and was fought between the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy and Allied forces. The battle was the third of the three major land offensives conducted by the Japanese during the Guadalcanal campaign.

Battle of Tulagi and Gavutu–Tanambogo battle

The Battle of Tulagi and Gavutu–Tanambogo was a land battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, between the forces of the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied ground forces. It took place from 7–9 August 1942 on the Solomon Islands, during the initial Allied landings in the Guadalcanal campaign.

Tanambogo Place in Central Province, Solomon Islands

Tanambogo is an islet in the Central Province of the Solomon Islands. It is one of the Florida Islands.

Point Cruz Suburb in Guadalcanal, Honiara Town, Solomon Islands

Point Cruz is a peninsula and is a suburb in Honiara located in the main center on the Tandai Highway. Point Cruz is in the Honiara City Council ward of Cruz. and is East of Town Ground and West of Tuvaruhu.

Guadalcanal American Memorial

The Guadalcanal American Memorial is a World War II monument on Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands. Dedicated in August 7, 1992, it was established as a tribute to the Americans and their allies who lost their lives during the Guadalcanal Campaign from 7 August 1942 to 9 February 1943. The capital city of Honiara is to its north. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Red Beach landings, the U.S. War Memorial was dedicated on 7 August 1992. An account of this is also inscribed on red marble tablets inside the monument compound. The memorial was a joint effort of the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) and the Guadalcanal-Solomon Islands Memorial Commission, and was at the initiative of Robert F Reynolds, Chief of Valors Tours Ltd. The memorial is maintained by the ABMC. Every year on 7 August, a commemorative ceremony is held to mark the first day of the battle. Another monument, erected by the Japanese on Mount Austen, is a tribute to the Japanese who lost their lives. 6;00 am 6:01 am 1995 Juarnday 9 Happy birthday Born Lourends Michael Bother sister

References

  1. 1 2 3 "Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands : A Tourism, Travel and Information Guide : Basecamp International". Guadalcanal.com. Retrieved 23 April 2016. The islands were named by a Spanish explorer, Alvaro de Mendaña de Neira, who, on finding alluvial gold on Guadalcanal in 1568, believed he had found the biblical King Solomon's source of gold.
  2. Edwin P. Hoyt, Japan's War, p 305-6 ISBN   0-07-030612-5
  3. Naval History and Heritage "Guadalcanal Campaign, August 1942 – February 1943". Retrieved from http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/guadlcnl/guadlcnl.htm.
  4. Editors, The. "phalanger | marsupial". Britannica.com. Retrieved 23 April 2016.

Bibliography