Provinces of Solomon Islands

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Update 16 to the U.S. standard GEC is dated 2014-06-30. It adds a code for Honiara city. It also changes the name of Makira to Makira and Ulawa. Sorin Cosoveanu sent me some documentation about these names.

Census data from 2009 are now available. Source [3] differs from source [4] only in transferring nine people between Honiara and Choiseul. I'm using the more recent source.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter I-8, published on 2007-04-17, has ISO codes for the new provinces of Solomon Islands. They are shown in the table below.

FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 10, affecting FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2006-03-23. It assigns new FIPS codes to the two new provinces, and changes the codes for the old provinces from which they were formed.

Country overview: 

ISO codeSB
LanguagePidgin, English (en)
Time zone+11


By the end of 1900, all of the Solomon Islands were a British protectorate (except Bougainville and neighboring islands, which are geographically part of the Solomons but have been politically associated with New Guinea). The formal name was British Solomon Islands Protectorate. Most of the Solomons were occupied by Japan in World War II. The country became independent on 1978-07-07.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Salomon°erne
  2. Dutch: Salomoneilanden, Salomonseilanden
  3. English: British Solomon Islands Protectorate (obsolete)
  4. Finnish: Salomonsaaret
  5. French: ╬les fp Salomon, Salomon
  6. German: Salomon-Inseln fp, Salomonen fp
  7. Icelandic: Salˇmonseyjar
  8. Italian: Isole Salomone, Salomone fp
  9. Norwegian: Salomon°yene (Bokmňl), Salomon°yane (Nynorsk)
  10. Portuguese: Ilhas fp SalomŃo
  11. Russian: Соломоновы Острова
  12. Spanish: Islas fp Salomˇn
  13. Swedish: Salomon÷arna
  14. Turkish: Solomon Adaları

Origin of name: 

discovered 1568 by ┴lvaro de Menda˝a de Neira and named Islas de Solomon in the hope that they were the legendary islands of King Solomon (king of Israel 961-922 B.C.)

Primary subdivisions: 

Solomon Islands is divided into nine provinces and one town council.

ChoiseulSB.CHCHBP1226,37220,0083,8371,481Taro Island
Makira UlawaSB.MKMKBP0840,41931,0063,1881,231Kirakira
Rennell and BellonaSB.RBRBBP133,0412,377671259Tigoa
10 divisions515,870409,04228,40010,965
  • Province: Honiara is a city council.
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • GEC: "Geopolitical Entities and Codes."
  • Pop-2009: 2009-11-22 census (source [4]).
  • Pop-1999: 1999-11-21 census (source [2]).
  • Areas: Source [1].

Further subdivisions:

See the Wards of Solomon Islands page.

The nine provinces are subdivided into 183 wards.

Territorial extent: 

  1. Central includes the Florida Islands (Nggela Sule and Nggela Pile are the largest), Savo Island, and the Russell Islands.
  2. Choiseul includes Choiseul, Wagina (Vaghena), Rob Roy, and Taro Islands.
  3. Guadalcanal includes Guadalcanal Island and adjacent islets, excluding Honiara city.
  4. Isabel includes Santa Isabel, San Jorge, Barora Fa, Barora Ite, the Ghizunabeana Islands, and others.
  5. Makira Ulawa includes San Cristobal, Ulawa, Uki Ni Masi, Santa Ana, Santa Catalina, and others.
  6. Malaita includes Malaita, Maramasike, Manaoba, Ndai, and the islets and reefs of Stewart Islands (Sikaiana), Ontong Java (Lord Howe), Roncador, etc.
  7. Rennell and Bellona includes Rennell Island (Mu Nggava) and Bellona Island (Mu Ngiki).
  8. Temotu includes the Santa Cruz Islands (Vanikoro and Ndeni are largest), Reef Islands, Duff Islands, and the remote islands of Anuta, Fatutaka, and Tikopia.
  9. Western includes the New Georgia Islands (New Georgia, Kolombangara, Vella Lavella, Rendova, Ranongga, Gizo, etc.), and the Shortland Islands (Alu, Treasury Islands, Fauro).

The UN LOCODE page  for Solomon Islands lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

Guadalcanal: the island was named by its discoverer, ┴lvaro de Menda˝a de Neira, after his home town in Spain.

Change history: 

Before World War II, the Solomon Islands were divided into twelve administrative districts, as shown here:

Eastern Solomons7,5944,660
Lord Howe750 
Nggela and Savo5,541610
Rennell and Bellona Islands1,500 
Santa Cruz5,098960
Sikaiana (Stewart)235 
Ysabel and Cape Marsh5,7684,670
12 districts95,42832,120
  • Population: 1931 census
  • Source: EncyclopŠdia Britannica
    World Atlas, 1951 edition


~1945: Capital of country moved from Tulagi to Honiara.

The postwar division of Solomon Islands was as follows. These districts were further subdivided into councils (in some cases one council was one district).

4 districts285,17628,400
  • Population: 1986-11-23 census


  1. 1982-01-29: Provincial Government Act of 1981 established seven provinces. Eastern district split into Makira and Temotu provinces; Central district split into Central, Guadalcanal, and Isabel provinces; Malaita and Western districts became provinces. The new provinces were the same as the council areas under the previous system.
  2. ~1983-07: Honiara split from Guadalcanal district. The ensuing division was as shown below:
HoniaraCT 34,90022Honiara
8 provinces318,30028,400
  • Province: these divisions were provinces except
    for Honiara, which was a capital territory.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Population: 1992 estimate (source [1]).


  1. 1986-07-02: Name of Makira province changed to Makira Ulawa.
  2. 1993-02-25: Choiseul province split from Western.
  3. 1995-07-20: Rennell and Bellona split from Central.
  4. 1999-05-26: Status of Honiara changed from town to city.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Honiara: Capital Territory (variant)
  2. Choiseul: Lauru (variant)
  3. Makira Ulawa: Makira (obsolete)
  4. Rennell and Bellona: Renbel, RenBell (informal)
  5. Temotu: Eastern Islands (variant)

Population history:

Capital District12,00614,94230,41349,10764,609
Makira Ulawa12,39014,89121,79631,00640,419


Proleptic populations from source [4].


  1. [1] Solomon Islands 1993 Statistical Yearbook.
  2. [2] Households and population, by type of building and by province, type of household, type of dwelling; also by urban-rural distribution, type of household, type of dwelling , Solomon Islands National Statistics Office (retrieved 2010-06-16).
  3. [3] Statistical Bulletin: 14/2010 , Solomon Islands Ministry of Finance & Treasury, Statistics Division (retrieved 2011-02-04).
  4. [4] Statistical Bulletin 06/2011 : Basic Tables and Census Description, Solomon Islands Ministry of Finance & Treasury, Statistics Division (retrieved 2011-08-14).
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