, the largest island of the independent country of the Solomon Islands. Guadalcanal is in the Solomon Sea of the Pacific Ocean, about 1,200 miles (1,900 km) northeast of Australia. The island is roughly 100 miles (160 km) long and 30 miles (48 km) wide, with an area of some 2,500 square miles (6,475 km2). The volcanic Kavo Mountains cross the island lengthwise. Mount Popomanasiu reaches a height of 8,028 feet (2,447 m).
Guadalcanal is hot and humid. The terrain is rugged and thickly forested. Swampy areas are infested with malaria-spreading mosquitoes. There are many beautiful birds. Copra is the main export. The people, mostly Melanesians, number 49,831. Honiara, on Guadalcanal, is the national capital.
Guadalcanal was discovered by a Spanish expedition in 1568. With other islands it was made a British protectorate in 1893. The island was the scene of savage fighting in 1942–43 before the Americans drove out the Japanese. The protectorate became independent in 1978.