Solsona originated from the visita of Santiago. It lies on the Western slope of the Cordillera Mountain. It has a triangular shape. The town is bounded on the north by Piddig and Carasi; on the east by Nueva Era; on the south by Dingras and on the west by Dingras and Piddig. The town is 30 kilometers from Laoag City. Gasgas and Madongan Rivers flow on the southern side of the town. During rainy days, they easily overflow and cause floods. Solsona has many streams which supply adequate water forits agricultural needs.
The first settlers of Santiago were Itnegs and that place was originally called “Caitnegan”. The Augustinian priests at Dingras made Santiago a mission frontier or visita. They evangelized to convert the Itnegs to the Christian faith. The religious work in the visita was passed on to Piddig after the latter was already established as a mission center. It was for convenience because Piddig was nearer to the visita of Santiago. The new matrix and its visita called “Piddig y Santiago” under the description of the place as “Piddig y Santiago.”
During the early part of the 18th century, people from Laoag, San Nicolas and Batac were attracted to the rich soil and adequate water supply at Caitnegan and and they migrated to the place. They cut trees at the forest to clear land for agricultural fields. As the number of immigrants increased many of the Itnegs whose civilization was inferior to that of the former could not adjust their culture so they chose to move out to the hinterland. The people who ere left at Caitnegan organized themselves into a barangay in 1788 under the leadership of Nicolas Jovan who became their Cabeza de barangay.
Santiago was already well-populated in 1855. It had a church masonry and houses. Then a devastating flood occurred in that year. Due to continuous heavy rain, the rivers near Santiago overflowed and the turbulent current of watter washed away the church and all the houses. A part of the church masonry was left by the floods as a relic of history. The flood had a high toll on human lives. Animals and agricultural products were totally lost. Fields were covered with gravel and could no longer be cultivated. The people had to leave Santiago and they relocated to Rancheria Cabannuagan under the leadership of Ignacio Guillermo who later on became their barangay captain.
There are theories about the origin of Solsona, the name of the town. One is the Spaniards called the place Solsona because of the rhytmical sound of that word derived from “zona del sol” (zone or place of the sun). the inhabitants liked the sound of the word and appreciated its significance thus adopted “Solzona” as the name of their place. The letter “z” in “zona” evolved into the letter “s”/ the second theory on the origin of the town’s name is the word “sonsona” which is related to the Ilocano term of pushing (people) to further areas. A third theory holds that Solsona was copied from the same name of a town in Spain. The two latter theories pale in significance and credibility to the first one.
When the American regime was installed in Ilocos Norte the economic condition of Solsona was poor so that it could not finance its administrative needs. For this reason it was annexed to Dingras in 1904 but after its finances improved it again became independent in 1910. Under the American regme a Gabaldon School building was built at Solsona.
During World War II the Japanese solsdiers occupied the Gabaldon School building for their barracks. The people of Solsona suffered abuses from the both the Japanese soldiers and bad guerillas. Some people were falsely accused of siding with either the Japanese or the guerillas which caused their maltreatment or execution. There was no due process for suspicion alone was sufficient for conviction.
Solsona is rich in agricultural products such as rice, corn, vegetables and other crops due to its fertile soil and abundant water supplied by its rivers and streams. Cheese is made from cow and carabao milk at some barangays but still in limited quantity. It is believed that there is gold deposit in Solsona but it is still to be proven. The town produces good grinding stone. Lumber is produced from Solsonian’s forest.
Throughout its past history the rivers and many streams of Solsona caused disastrous floods that claimed a big number of human lives and tremendous loss of property the big flood of 1913 that changed the course of rivers necessitated flood control projects that were implemented successfully. Dams were also constructed to regulate the flow of water to the fields.
In order to bring Solsona nearer to its eastern neighbors the Solsona-Kalinga-Apayao Road was built. This was a great improvement to the foot trails over mountains that were used in olden times. A big bridge was built over the Padsan River to link the town with its western neigbors. Solsona has emerged into a prosperous town as shown by its various business establishments. When Father Gregorio Aglipay became the first bishop of the Philippine Idependent Church the majority of Catholics at Solsona turned Aglipayans to follow the example of their parish priest, Fr. Clemente Edralin who joined the new church. Catholic Church properties were possessed and controlled by the Aglipayan until the Supreme Court ordered that they be restored to the Catholic Church. Other churches were establishment at Solsona to include the Protestants, Iglesia ni Cristo and other faits. A new Catholic Church was built. The economy of Solsona used to be mainly on agricultural products but today various kinds of businesses are in town.