The Solomon Islands is a country in the south-western Pacific Ocean. It consists of a double chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls in Melanesia.
The country comprises most of the Solomons chain, with the exception of Buka and Bougainville, two islands at the north western end that form an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea.
Once a British protectorate, Solomon Islands achieved independence as a republic in 1978. Honiara, on the north coast of Guadalcanal Island, is Solomon Islands’ capital and largest city.
The main islands of the group are large and rugged, rising to 7,644 feet (2,330 metres) at Mount Popomanaseu on Guadalcanal. They lie in two parallel chains running northwest-southeast: the southern chain includes Vella Lavella, the New Georgia Islands, Savo, and Guadalcanal; the northern, Choiseul, Santa Isabel, and Malaita.
The chains converge on San Cristobal (Makira Island). The Santa Cruz Islands are a group of small islands located some 345 miles (555 km) east of Guadalcanal; the largest island in the group is Nendö (also called Ndeni Island or Santa Cruz Island).
Geologically, the Solomon Islands are part of the volcanic arc extending from New Ireland in Papua New Guinea to Vanuatu.