Nggela, Choiseul, New Georgia, Rennell and Bellona

The Florida or Nggela group lies between Guadalcanal, Malaita, and Ysabel islands. Florida, the largest island of the group, is about 25 miles in length by 8 to 10 in breadth. The coast is very irregular with good harbors. Close to the south shore of Florida on a little island is Tulagi, a trading port and former seat of government in the Solomons Protectorate.

Choiseul is narrow for its length and its center consists of a long ridge, level-topped and devoid of outstanding peaks. The island is nearly surrounded by reefs. Coconut plantations have been established about Choiseul Bay and in other well-drained parts of the coastal belt and on off-lying islands. Planted areas are separated from each other by stretches of marsh and mangrove swamp. The population of about 4000 is concentrated entirely in the coastal areas.

New Georgia is the largest of a considerable group of islands. There are many harbors, including Marovo and Roviana lagoons. New Georgia was the site of a Japanese airbase and was recaptured by the Americans in 1943. Gizo, on a little island of the same name, is a port and government station near the center of the New Georgia group. Copra is the principal export.

Rennell and Bellona are two raised limestone islands about 100 miles south of Guadalcanal. They are about 15 miles apart. Rennell, between 40 and 50 miles long, is a former atoll that has been uplifted about 400 to 500 feet. The population of approximately 1500 consists of Polynesians with some admixture of Melanesians. The people have little contact with the outside world and retain much of their primitive culture. They raise yams and taro, and collect shellfish and wild fruits for food. Bellona, about 6 miles long and fertile, has a population of 500 of Polynesian origin.

Other islands associated with the southern Solomons are: the Stewart Islands, an atoll about 110 miles east of Malaita; Ontong Java (Lord Howe's group), an atoll of several islets about 160 miles north of Ysabel whose inhabitants are largely Polynesians; and the Shortland Islands, Treasury Islands, and Faure Islands, west of Choiseul and south of Bougainville.

Little scientific work has been done in the Solomon Islands. A recent outline of physical geography is listed among the accompanying references. There are works on physical and social anthropology dealing with scattered parts of the area. No full account of the history of the islands exists. Information on administration is found in the official publications of the governments concerned.

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