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The first contact with Europeans was in 1568 with Spanish explorer Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira.
Mendaña left and returned a second time in 1595 with the intent to settle.
Among Melanesians and Polynesians in the Solomon Islands, approximately 63 to 70 distinct languages are spoken and perhaps an equal number of dialects.
There are a total of 992 islands in the Solomon Islands, including the six main islands of New Georgia, Choiseul, Santa Isabel, Guadalcanal, Malaita, and San Cristóbal.Peace prevailed for most of the rest of the century in a country that was sometimes called the "Happy Islands," until ethnic conflict erupted in late 1998. The Solomon Islands lie northeast of Australia in the South Pacific Ocean.They are part of a long chain of archipelagos called Melanesia, which stretches from Papua New Guinea in the north to New Caledonia and Fiji in the south.It was in the 1800s, when traders and whalers arrived, that contact with Europeans became constant and enduring.Entrepreneurs, church missionaries, and the British colonial government officers soon arrived thereafter.