Salomon Islands

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For the islands in the South Pacific, see Solomon Islands.
Salomon islands1.png
Boddam Island and small Ile Diable to the right.

The Salomon Islands or Salomon Atoll[1] is a small atoll of the Chagos Archipelago, British Indian Ocean Territory.

Description[edit]

It is located in the Northeast of the Chagos Archipelago, between Blenheim Reef and Peros Banhos. The main islands in the group are Île Boddam, with the former main settlement, and a land area of 1.08 km², and Île Anglaise (0.82 km²), both on the western rim of the reef. There were smaller settlements of Chagossians in Fouquet (0.45 km²) and Takamaka (0.48 km) Islands. Île de la Passe is 0.28 km² in area, and Île Mapou 0.04 km². The remaining islets are much smaller. The total land area is 3.56 km².

There is a passage into the lagoon, named Baie de Salomon, on the Northern side, between Île Anglaise and Île de la Passe. The Salomon Islands are one of the favorite anchoring spots for itinerant yachtsmen passing through the Chagos, even though there are no proper moorings for yachts and a permit of the BIOT authorities is needed. Now uninhabited, the islands are overrun by low jungle between the coconut trees and it is hard to find the traces of the former settlements.[2][3]

History[edit]

This atoll was 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. Most probably they lived in conditions close to slavery. The company exploiting the plantation was called the Chagos Agalega Company.

The Salomon Islands were surveyed in 1837 by Commander Robert Moresby of the Indian Navy on the HMS Benares. Moresby's survey produced the first detailed map of this atoll. The atoll was surveyed again in 1905 by Commander B.T. Sommerville on the HMS Sealark, who drew a more accurate map. Some of the Salomon Islands were inhabited by the Chagossians, but at the time that the British Government decided to empty the Chagos of local inhabitants only Île Boddam was inhabited.

The inhabitants of the Salomon Islands, numbering about 400, were forcefully evicted by the British and resettled in Mauritius. Île Boddam had a jetty, shops, offices, a school, a church and a villa where the plantation manager lived. All these buildings are now hidden by thick jungle. There are wells in Boddam and Takamaka islands.[4] It is possible to collect water by yachtsmen in order to replenish their supplies.[5]

Abandoned church at Boddam Island, Salomon Atoll.

Islets[edit]

The individual islets of the atoll are, starting in the North, clockwise:

  1. Île de la Passe
  2. Île Mapou
  3. Île Takamaka
  4. Île Fouquet
  5. Île Sepulture
  6. Île Jacobin
  7. Île du Sel
  8. Île Poule
  9. Île Boddam
  10. Île Diable
  11. Île Anglaise

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 5°19′00″S 72°15′36″E / 5.31667°S 72.26000°E / -5.31667; 72.26000