|Native name: |
Guadalcanal's position (inset) and main towns.
|Area||5,302 km2 (2,047 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||2,335 m (7,661 ft)|
|Highest point||Mount Popomanaseu|
|Largest settlement||Honiara (pop. 54,600 (2003 est.))|
|Pop. density||20.4/km2 (52.8/sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||Melanesian 93%, Polynesian 4%, Micronesian 1.5%, European 0.8%, Chinese 0.3%, other 0.4%|
Guadalcanal ( // ; indigenous name: Isatabu) is the principal island in Guadalcanal Province of the Solomon Islands, located in the south-western Pacific, northeast of Australia. It is the largest island in the Solomon Islands by area, and the second by population (after Malaita). The island is mainly covered in dense tropical rainforest and has a mountainous interior.
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.
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.
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. 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.The name comes from the Arabic Wādī l-Khānāt (
European settlers, whalers, and missionaries began to arrive in the 18th and 19th centuries. With these outsiders also arrived foreign institutions like the slave trade. Beginning since the 1860s, about 60,000 natives from Guadalcanal and other parts of Solomon were enslaved and sent to Australia or Fiji to work on plantations. The local slave trade would not cease until the 1890s.In the 1880s, the Germans and the British vied for control of the Solomons. Germany established a protectorate over the northern Solomons in 1884 while in the year 1893, the British Solomon Islands Protectorate was proclaimed which included the island of Guadalcanal. However, Germany eventually gave most of their protectorate to Britain in 1899. By the early 20th century, large agricultural plantations (specializing in copra) run mainly by Australians were established in the region. Guadalcanal was not seriously impacted by World War I. In 1932, the British confirmed the name Guadalcanal in line with the town in Andalusia, Spain.
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.
When an American reconnaissance mission spotted construction of a Japanese airfield at Lunga Point on the north coast of Guadalcanal, the situation became critical.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.
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.
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.
After the war, American and Japanese groups have repeatedly visited Guadalcanal to search for remains of missing soldiers. Some 7,000 Japanese remain missing on the island, and islanders still bring the Japanese groups bones that the islanders say are those of unearthed Japanese soldiers.
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. The secondary airfield, known as "Fighter Two" is now the local golf course.
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, the frigate 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.
The island hosts a native marsupial known as the phalanger or grey cuscus, Phalanger orientalis .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 ]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Guadalcanal .|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Guadalcanal .|
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.
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 land offensive by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan.
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 has a population of 652,858 and its 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.
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.
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 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.
Vella Lavella is an island in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. It lies to the west of New Georgia, but is considered one of the New Georgia Group. To its west are the Treasury Islands.
Major Warren Frederick Martin Clemens was a British colonial administrator and soldier. In late 1941 and early 1942, while serving as a District Officer in the Solomon Islands, he helped prepare the area for eventual resistance to Japanese occupation.
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.
Malaita is the primary island of Malaita Province in Solomon Islands. Malaita is the most populous island of the Solomon Islands, with a population of 140,000, or more than a third of the entire national population. It is also the second largest island in the country by area, after Guadalcanal. A tropical and mountainous island, Malaita's pristine river systems and tropical forests have not been exploited.
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 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.
Sir Jacob Charles Vouza, was a native police officer of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate, who served heroically with the United States Marine Corps in the Guadalcanal campaign during World War II.
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.
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.
The British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force (BSIPDF) was the British colonial military force of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (1889–1978). The Solomon Islands has not had military forces since it achieved independence from Britain in 1976. Although the BSIPDF was very small, it played a significant role in the Solomon Islands campaign of World War II.
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.
The Malaita Eagle Force is a militant organisation, originating in the island of Malaita, in the Solomon Islands. It was formed in the early 2000s and soon crossed over to Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands.
Point Cruz is a peninsula in the center of Honiara, on Guadalcanal Island. Honiara is the capital city of the Solomon Islands. Point Cruz is located on the Tandai Highway, and is ¼ mile north of the Solomon Islands Parliament Building. Point Cruz is in the Honiara City Council ward of Cruz, and is East of Town Ground and West of Tuvaruhu.
The Solomon Islands coup d’état occurred on 5 June 2000, in the capital of Honiara. The event came as a result of longstanding ethnic tensions between the province that saw a rise in armed political groups from the late 1990s. This rise of armed political groups, eventually ended in the coup d’état, in which the prime minister, Bartholomew Ulufa’alu, was taken hostage by the militant group, Malaita Eagle Force.
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.