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Unlike Polynesian societies, there had not been a known overall monarch ruling the islands.

Subsequent migrants, finding that the big islands were occupied, settled on the outlying islands, most of which are coral outliers. These migrants were mostly Polynesians, and they mastered fishing and navigation.

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.

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.

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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.