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The Solomon Islands, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, were discovered by Alvaro de Mendaña de Neyra  in 1568 and again in 1767 and 1768 by Carteret and Bougainville. In 1884 and 1893-’99 the archipelago was divided between Germany and Great Britain. The German part,  together with German New Guinea, after WW I became an Australian trust territory. The British part was called British Solomon Islands until 11 November 1975 and was renamed Solomon Islands in that year. The archipelago was granted autonomy on 2 January 1976 and independence on 7 July 1978.



On the British part successively a badge and three different coats of arms were used. The badge, known from about 1907 was flown on the blue ensign. It consisted of a royal crown and the legend BRITISH SOLOMON ISLANDS.



A coat of arms replacing the badge was adopted by Royal Warrant of 10 March 1947. It was:



Arms: Gules, a sea turtle (Chelonia mydas - Cheloniidæ)  proper and a chief  Sable eight piles reversed Argent.


On the blue ensign the legend BRITISH SOLOMON ISLANDS was added on the white disc.


This coat of arms was replaced by Royal Warrant of  24 September 1956. The new coat of arms was:



Arms: Quarterly Azure and Argent, in the first on a branch a  Sandford’s Sea eagle (Haliæetus Sandfordi -Accipitridae) sejant proper, in the second a turtle, in the third a bow per pale and two spears and two arrows in saltire charged with a native shield; in the fourth two frigate birds (Fregata ariel - Fregatidæ), all charges proper; and on a chief Gules a lion passant guardant Or, langued and unguled Azure.


In this coat of arms the four quarters are for the Malaita, Western, Central and Eastern districts. The lion passant is for the British Rule.


At the granting of independence a full achievement was adopted on 7 July 1978. It is:


Arms: Or, a cross saltire Vert charged with two spears also in saltire, points in base and a bow and two arrows charged with a native shield in fess point, between two turtles all proper; and on a chief Azure aan eagle sejant on a branch between two frigate-birds all proper.

Crest: On a helmet guardant, lambrequined Argent and Azure, a Solomon Island’s war canoe proper and a sun radiant Or.

Supporters: On the dexter a crocodile and on the sinister a shark, both proper.

Compartment: A stylized two-headed frigate-bird Sable.

Motto: to lead is to serve in black lettering on a golden ribbon.


In the blue chief the Sandfordi Sea eagle is for the district of Malaita and the frigate-birds for the Eastern District. The turles are for the Western District and the dancing shield with the arrows, the bow and the saltire for the Central District.

The supporters represent the local fauna.


See illustration in the head of this essay.


• The Royal Solomon Police badge shows the cypher SIP within a royally crowned garland of olive branches.



© Hubert de Vries 2009.02.06

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