Asia

Solomon Islands profile - Timeline

  • 11 February 2015
  • From the section Asia

A chronology of key events:

1899 - Germany cedes the northern Solomon islands to the United Kingdom, which had declared a protectorate over the southern Solomon islands in 1893.

1942 - During World War II the islands are occupied by Japan. There is very heavy fighting, especially on and around Guadalcanal. The Japanese are forced from the islands by the Allies in 1945, and British rule is restored.

1946 - An independence movement, Marching Rule, is established.

1976 - The islands become fully self-governing.

Independence

1978 - The islands achieve independence within the British Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth II remains head of state.

1988 - Solomon Islands join Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea to form the Spearhead Group, which aims to preserve Melanesian cultural traditions.

1997 - Bartholomew Ulufa'alu, a Malaitan, is elected prime minister.

1998 - Ulufa'alu's government narrowly survives a motion of no confidence. The Isatubu Freedom Movement, which says it represents the native people of Guadalcanal, begins to forcibly evict Malaitans, whom they accuse of taking jobs and land. The Malaitan Eagle Force (MEF) is formed in response. At least 20,000 Malaitans are forced off Guadalcanal. Fighting breaks out between the two rival militias.

2000 June - The MEF stages an attempted coup. It takes Bartholomew Ulufa'alu hostage. He is subsequently forced to resign and replaced by Mannasseh Sogavare.

Peace treaty

2000 October - A broad peace treaty between the two militias, brokered by Australia, is signed. Unarmed peacekeepers from Australia and New Zealand are deployed to supervise the handover of arms, many of which were bought after fighting on the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea ended in 1998.

2001 February - Marau peace agreement is signed bringing together the two warring factions, Marau Eagle Force and Isatabu Freedom Movement. It is aimed at ending two years of conflict.

2001 September - Murder of prominent rebel leader Selwyn Sake of the Isatabul Freedom Movement threatens peace agreement.

2001 December - Sir Allan Kemakeza of the People's Alliance Party is elected prime minister. International donors, including Australia and New Zealand, urge him to make law and order his priority.

Growing lawlessness

2002 - Economic, social problems worsen, with the government unable to pay wages and fund services. In March, international peace monitors withdraw from some posts amid growing lawlessness. In August, a government minister is shot dead on the orders of a tribal warlord.

2002 December - Cyclone Zoe devastates the remote island of Tikopia and its neighbour, Anuta. A relief vessel is despatched amid fears of a large-scale loss of life, but it emerges that nobody was killed.

2003 June - Prime Minister Kemakeza asks for military help from Australia, New Zealand as country threatens to spiral into anarchy. Pacific foreign ministers back a multinational force. Solomons government approves peacekeeping plan in July.

Peacekeepers arrive

2003 July - Australian-led peacekeeping force deploys, aiming to restore order and disarm militant groups.

2003 August - Prominent rebel Harold Keke - leader of the Isatubu Freedom Movement - surrenders to Australian forces. He is charged with the 2002 murder of priest and MP Father Augustine Geve.

2003 October-November - Australia, New Zealand decide to scale back their military contributions, citing progress in restoring order. Peacekeepers declare the Weather Coast - an area badly hit by lawlessness - safe.

2005 March - Former rebel leader Harold Keke and two of his associates are jailed for life for the 2002 murder of MP Father Augustine Geve.

2006 May - Parliament elects Manasseh Sogavare as prime minister. His predecessor, Snyder Rini, resigned after eight days in office. Rioting in the capital followed his appointment.

2007 April - A tsunami hits the north-west Solomon Islands after a strong sea quake. The UN puts the death toll at 34. Thousands are left homeless.

2007 July - Controversy as lawyer Julian Moti - wanted in his native Australia on child sex charges - is appointed as attorney general. He is later extradited.

2007 December - Nine ministers defect to the opposition. Prime Minister Sogavare loses a vote of confidence and steps down; MPs pick Derek Sikua as premier.

2009 February - The Solomon Islands declare a national disaster after heavy rain and flooding claim lives on Guadalcanal island, and people are evacuated from there and nearby Savo island.

2009 April - A national truth and reconciliation commission is launched to investigate the conflict between rival ethnic militias in which more than 100 people died and 20,000 were displaced between 1997 and 2003 on Guadalcanal.

2010 January - About 1,000 people are left homeless by landslides and a tsunami triggered by an earthquake in the Solomon Islands.

2010 August - General elections. Danny Philip becomes prime minister.

2011 November - MPs elect Gordon Darcy Lilo as prime minister, days after he was sacked as finance minister. Former PM Danny Philip resigned after he lost his majority in parliament over the dismissal.

2011 December - Australian High Court dismisses prosecution on child sex charges of former Solomon Islands attorney-general Julian Moti, ruling that his 2007 deportation to Brisbane was illegal.

2013 February - A powerful earthquake sets off a tsunami that leaves at least nine people dead.

2013 July - The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) marks the 10th anniversary since its deployment on the island. It also ends its military phase.

2014 April - Heavy rains brought by tropical cyclone Ita cause some of the worst flash flooding in Solomon Islands history. At least 22 people are killed.

2014 October - A month before elections, MPs reaching the end of their terms receive huge payouts because of an irreversible error by finance officials.

2014 November - Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo unexpectedly loses his seat in the general election. Of the 50 elected MPs, 32 are independents. Under new legislation only registered parties can form coalitions. With only half of the 12 registered parties fielding successful candidates, MPs must build a governing coalition and choose a prime minister.

2014 December - Veteran politician Manasseh Sogavare is elected prime minister for a third time in a secret ballot by MPs.