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Guadalcanal, a 2510 square-mile island in the Pacific Ocean and a province of the Solomon Islands, is largely a jungle. The island became the scene of the important battle of Guadalcanal during World War II. The island contains the national capital of Solomon Islands: Honiara.

A Spanish expedition discovered the island in 1568, but it later became part of the British Empire.

Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor and Singapore, the Japanese forces advanced into the South Pacific, reaching Guadalcanal in May 1942. United States forces chose Guadalcanal for their first major large-scale invasion of a Japanese-held island. Guadalcanal became a major turning-point in the war.

The Battle of Cape Esperance was fought on October 11, 1942 on the northwest coast of Guadalcanal. In the battle, United States Navy ships intercepted and defeated a Japanese fleet on their way to reinforce troops on the island. US forces reinvaded and, after six months of fighting, managed to halt the Japanese advance, driving Japan's troops into the sea on January 15, 1943.