August 1 – Guadalcanal Province Day

Posted on August 1, 2015

Like so many other nations of “Oceania,” Solomon Islands is made up of many islands and island groups and includes several active and dormant volcanoes.

And like so many other nations of “Oceania,” Solomon Islands was ruled by Britain for a while—from the late 1800s until 1978, in this case.

Also like many nations of “Oceania,” Solomon Islands played an important role during World War II, in U.S. / Allied forces battles against the Japanese. There was particularly fierce fighting on Guadalcanal.

Here are some interesting things about the Solomon Islands:

  • The natives of Solomon Islands were notorious among other islanders for head-hunting and cannibalism.
  • English is the official language – but only about 2% of the people speak it! Instead, there are a variety of different languages from the Melanesian, Micronesian, and Polynesian language groups. The lingua franca (the “bridge language” with which people who speak different languages are able to talk to each other) is Solomons Pijin.
  • Blond “Afros” can be seen in about 10% of the population – the highest occurrence of blond hair outside of European-hereditary groups in the world.

  • On this date in 1943, Patrol Torpedo boat #109 (PT-109) waited near the Solomon Islands to try to torpedo Japanese destroyers that were transporting supplies to Japanese troops. Unfortunately, instead of firing its torpedoes and damaging the Japanese ship, PT-109 was struck by the much-larger ship and cut into two!

Kennedy, lower center, with
three other survivors.
This American boat was commanded by Lieutenant John F. Kennedy. He was able to rescue of several injured crew members, and his swimming prowess and leadership resulted in the rescue of all eleven survivors of the disaster (two crew members died when the ship struck the boat). Because of this incident, Kennedy became a war hero.

And, of course, eventually the President of the United States.

Here's some info about the province of Guadalcanal:

  • The largest city on the island of Guadalcanal, Honiara, is also the capital city of the nation.
  • So many Japanese and American ships and planes were sunk during WWII, nearby waters are called Ironbottom Sound. Every year a U.S. ship drops a wreath into these waters to commemorate those who lost their lives here, and many Navy sailors consider the area sacred and observe strict silence while their ships cross those particular waters.

Also on this date:

(August 1 - 8)

Lammas Day in Scotland

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