Guadalcanal

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Guadalcanal (Isatabu) is a tropical island in the South-Western Pacific. It is the largest island in the Solomons, and during 1942-43 it was the scene of bitter fighting between Japanese and Americans in which the latter were victorious.

At the end of the war, Honiara, on the north coast of Guadalcanal, became the new capital of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. Guadalcanal is mainly covered in tropical rainforest and jungle and it has a mountainous interior with an active volcano, Mount Popomanaseu. The population in 1998 was around 85,000.[2]

Contents

History

Western Charting

A Spanish expedition from Peru under the command of Álvaro de Mendeña de Neira discovered the island in the year 1568. Mendaña's subordinate, Pedro de Ortega Valencia, named the island after his home town Guadalcanal in Andalusia. The name comes from the Arabic Wādî al-Khānāt, which means "Valley of the Stalls", because of the refreshment stalls which were set up there during Muslim rule in Andalusia. In the years that followed the discovery, the island was inconsistently referred to as Guadarcana, Guarcana, Guadalcana, and Guadalcanar.

European settlers and missionaries began to arrive in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in the year 1893, the British Solomon Islands Protectorate was proclaimed which included the island of Guadalcanal. In 1932, the British confirmed the name Guadalcanal in line with the town in Andalusia, Spain.

The Second World War

In the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Japanese drove the Americans out of the Philippines, the British out of British Malaya, and the Dutch out of the East Indies. The Japanese then began to expand into the Western Pacific occupying many islands in an attempt to build a defensive ring around their conquests and threaten the lines of communication from the United States to Australia and New Zealand. The Japanese reached Guadalcanal in May 1942.

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