The Salomon Islands, also known as the Salomon Atoll, is a small atoll located in the northeast of the Chagos Archipelago. This uninhabited atoll is situated between Blenheim Reef and Peros Banhos and is popular amongst itinerant yachtsmen passing through the Chagos. In this article, we will explore the history, geography and current state of the Salomon Islands.
Location and Geography
- The Salomon Islands is located in the British Indian Ocean Territory and is situated between Blenheim Reef and Peros Banhos. The main islands in the group are ï¿½le Boddam, ï¿½le Anglaise, Fouquet Island, Takamaka Island, ï¿½le de la Passe, and ï¿½le Mapou.
- The total land area of the Salomon Islands is 3.56 km2. The islands are overrun by low jungle and it is hard to find the traces of the former settlements. The atoll has a passage into the lagoon, named Baie de Salomon, on the Northern side, between ï¿½le Anglaise and ï¿½le de la Passe.
- The Salomon Islands were settled in the last half of the 18th century by coconut plantation workers from Isle de France (now Mauritius). Little is known about the condition of the workers who were mostly of African origin.
- The company exploiting the plantation was called the Chagos Agalega Company. The Salomon Islands were surveyed in 1837 by commanders Robert Moresby of the Indian Navy and in 1905 by commanders B.T. Sommerville of HMSï¿½Sealark, who drew a more accurate map of the atoll.
- The Salomon Islands were home to several Chagossian settlements, but at the time that the British Government decided to empty the Chagos of local inhabitants only ï¿½le Boddam was inhabited.
- Between 1967 and 1973, 500 inhabitants of the Salomon Islands were illegally evicted by the British and their pets were killed in gas chambers by Sir Bruce Greatbatch. The evictees were resettled in Mauritius and Seychelles.
- Currently, the Salomon Islands are uninhabited and are overrun by low jungle. There are wells on Boddam and Takamaka islands which are still used by yachtsmen to replenish their supplies.
The Salomon Islands remain a favorite anchoring spot for yachtsmen but a permit from the BIOT authorities is needed to visit. The Salomon Islands have a rich history, but the illegal eviction of the Chagossians is a dark chapter in its past that should not be forgotten.
Written by IAS POINT