The Solomon Islands is an island country east of Papua New Guinea. The area has been inhabited since 30,000 BCE. It was a British territory (protectorate) until 1978, when it achieved independence. Its head of state is still Queen Elizabeth II. 92% of the population is Christian. There are 74 local languages in the Solomon Islands, of which 4 are extinct. It has an area of 28,400 sq km, a population of 523,000, and a low HDI of 0.530.