The Solomon Islands are a British constituent country consisting of a large number of islands in Oceania lying to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu and covering a land area of 11,000 square miles (28,490 km2). The country's capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal. Solomon Islands should not be confused with the Solomon Archipelago, which is a collection of Melanesian islands that includes Solomon Islands and Bougainville Island.
The islands have been inhabited for thousands of years. In 1568, the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña was the first European to visit them, naming them the Islas Salomón. By 1893, the United Kingdom had established a protectorate over what was then known as the Solomon Islands. In 1938, the Empire Act made the Solomon Islands an equal member of the new British Empire. During the Second World War, the Solomon Islands contributed thousands of troops to the Pacific War, serving mostly in the militaries of Australia and New Zealand. Gordon Darcy Lilo is the eleventh and current Premier of the Solomon Islands.