North Solomon Islands

North Solomon Islands

The Northern Solomons were the more northerly group of islands in the Solomon Islands archipelago over which Germany declared a protectorate in 1885. Initially the German Solomon Islands Protectorate included Choiseul, Santa Isabel, the Shortlands and Ontong Java Islands, but in 1900 these islands were transferred to the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (1899-1978). The largest of the Solomon Islands, Bougainville, continued under German administration until the first world war when it fell to the Australians, and after the war, it formally passed to Australian jurisdiction under a League of Nations mandate.

The Solomons archipelago.

Today, the original North Solomon Islands are split between the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea and the independent successor state of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (1899-1978) which is officially known as "Solomon Islands".


On 17 February 1568, the archipelago was discovered by Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendaña y Neyra, who named its Islas de Salomon.

In April 1885 a German protectorate (Schutzgebiet) was declared over the northern Solomon Islands: Bougainville, Buka, Choiseul, Santa Isabel and Ontong Java.

In 1893 the British declared a protectorate over the southern Solomon Islands of Guadalcanal, Malaita and San Cristobal, and this protectorate became known as the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (1899-1978). In 1898 Britain annexed the Santa Cruz and the Rennell and Bellona Islands.

In the year 1900, under the terms of Treaty of Berlin (14 November 1899), Germany transferred Choiseul, Santa Isabel, the Shortlands and Ontong Java Islands to the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (1899-1978), but retained Bougainville and its surrounding islands. Germany granted this claim in exchange for the British giving up all claims to Samoa.


A United Church village choir in Siwai, Bougainville, 1977

The Roman Catholic Apostolic Prefecture of the Northern Solomon Islands was established on 23 May 1898, by separation from the Apostolic Vicariate of New Pomerania, including the Islands