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Malaita is the largest island of the Malaita Province in the Solomon Islands. A tropical and mountainous island, Malaita's pristine river systems and tropical forests have not been exploited. Malaita is the most populous island of the Solomon Islands, with 140,000 people or more than a third of the entire national population. The largest city and provincial capital is Auki, on the northwest coast.


Most local names for the island are Mala, or its dialect variants Mara or Mwala. The name Malaita or Malayta appears in the logbook of the Spanish, who claim that to be the actual name. They first saw the island from Santa Isabel, where it is called Mala. One theory is that "ita" was added on, as the Bughotu word for up or east, or in this context "there."W.G. Ivens. Melanesians of the South-east Solomon Islands. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, & Co., 1927; 22-23. Bishop George Augustus Selwyn referred to it as Malanta in 1850. now Malaita is used for official purposes. The name Big Malaita is also used to distinguish it from the smaller South Malaita Island.


Malaita is a thin island, about 102 miles (164 km) long and 23 miles (37 km) wide...
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