The Solomon Islands were visited and named in 1568 by the Spanish
navigator Alvaro de Mendana de Neira. The northernmost islands of
the group were explored in 1768 by Louis Antoine de Bougainville,
for whom the island of Bougainville is named.
Germany established control over the northern Solomons in 1885,
but in 1900 it transferred these islands, except Bougainville and
Buka, to the British, who had declared a protectorate over the central
and southern Solomons in 1893.
In 1914, at the start of World War I, Australia occupied the remaining
German Solomons, and in 1919 the League of Nations granted the area
to Australia as a mandate.
Most of the Solomons were occupied by Japan during World War II
(1939-1945), and heavy fighting occurred in the region, especially
on and around Guadalcanal, before the Allies forced the last Japanese
to leave the island group in 1945.
In 1975 the Australian-administered Solomons became independent
as part of Papua New Guinea. The British Solomons gained independence
as Solomon Islands on July 7, 1978.