Subject Source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic NamesScope Note: Shares history with the islands of the same name. The islands were settled by 2000 BCE, and evidence of a Lapita culture on the islands dates to 1000 BCE. They were sighted by the Spanish in 1568, and later visited by the French in 1768. Later, the islands were settled by missionaries and traders, and divided between Britain and Germany in the 19th century. After WWI, the Solomon Islands were ruled by Australia, and in 1976, independence was gained. The official language is English, though pidgin English is widely spoken.