The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the bitterest fighting of World War II occurred on this archipelago and the Guadalcanal Campaign (August 1942-February 1943) proved a turning point in the Pacific War, since after the operation the Japanese lost their strategic initiative and remained on the defensive until thier final defeat in 1945. Self-government for the Solomon Islands came in 1976 and independence two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, endemic crime, and a narrow economic base have undermined stability and civil society. In June 2003, then Prime Minister Sir Allan KEMAKEZA sought the assistance of Australia in reestablishing law and order; the following month, an Australian-led multinational force arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), which ended in June 2017, was generally effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.