Solomon Islands, a group of the S. Pacific lying S. E. of New Britain and E. of New Guinea, extending in a S. E. direction from lat. 4° 50' to 11° 50' S., and from Ion. 154° 30' to 162° 30' E. The group is composed of the islands Bougainville, Choiseul, Malayta, Santa Isabella, New Georgia, Guadalcanar, San Cris-toval, and several smaller ones, the area of the whole being estimated at 10,000 sq. m. Mountains, often of considerable height, traverse them. The shores are generally low, and in some places bordered with mangrove swamps. They are watered by numerous streams, and the temperature is cooled by copious rains. They are very fertile; bananas, yams, sugar cane, and ginger are cultivated; and the breadfruit, cacao, and clove trees abound. They are inhabited by negrillos and Malays. The population is very irregularly distributed, the northern islands being more populous than the others. - The islands were discovered and explored in 1568 by the Spanish navigator Men-dan a, sent out by his uncle Lope de Castro, viceroy of Peru. Ho named them Solomon islands on the pretence that the riches of Solomon's temple were brought from them.
He died in Santa Cruz group in 1505, while on his way to colonizo them, and they were not again visited till rediscovered by Carteret in 1TG7. Some partially successful missionary efforts have recently been made there.