Independent State of Samoa
Malo Saʻoloto Tutoʻatasi o Sāmoa
Motto: "Faʻavae i le Atua Sāmoa"
"Samoa is founded on God"
and largest city
|Ethnic groups |
|Government||Unitary dominant-party parliamentary democracy with a trace of aristocracy|
|Va'aletoa Sualauvi IIa|
|Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi|
|Independence from New Zealand|
|14 June 1889|
|16 February 1900|
|1 March 1900|
|30 August 1914|
• League mandate
|17 December 1920|
• UN trusteeship
|13 December 1946|
• Western Samoa Act 1961
|1 January 1962|
|15 December 1976|
|2,842 km2 (1,097 sq mi) (167th)|
• Water (%)
• November 2016 census
|68/km2 (176.1/sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||2018 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2018 estimate|
• Per capita
|HDI (2014)|| 0.702|
high · 105th
|Currency||WS$b, Tala (WST)|
|Time zone||UTC+13c (UTC+13:00)|
• Summer (DST)
|ISO 3166 code||WS|
Samoa (/səˈmoʊə/), officially the Independent State of Samoa (Samoan: Malo Saʻoloto Tutoʻatasi o Sāmoa; Samoan: Sāmoa, IPA: [ˈsaːmoa]) and, until 4 July 1997, known as Western Samoa, is a country consisting of two main islands, Savai'i and Upolu, and four smaller islands. The capital city is Apia. The Lapita people discovered and settled the Samoan Islands around 3,500 years ago. They developed a unique Samoan language and Samoan cultural identity.
Samoa is a unitary parliamentary democracy with eleven administrative divisions. The country is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Western Samoa was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976. The entire island group, which includes American Samoa, was called "Navigator Islands" by European explorers before the 20th century because of the Samoans' seafaring skills.
The origins of the Samoans are closely studied in modern research about Polynesia in various scientific disciplines such as genetics, linguistics and anthropology. Scientific research is ongoing, although a number of different theories exist; including one proposing that the Samoans originated from Austronesian predecessors during the terminal eastward Lapita expansion period from Southeast Asia and Melanesia between 2,500 and 1,500 BCE.
Intimate sociocultural and genetic ties were maintained between Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga, and the archaeological record supports oral tradition and native genealogies that indicate inter-island voyaging and intermarriage between pre-colonial Samoans, Fijians, and Tongans. Notable figures in Samoan history included the Tui Manu'a line and Queen Salamasina (15th century). Nafanua was a famous woman warrior who was deified in ancient Samoan religion.
Contact with Europeans began in the early 18th century. Jacob Roggeveen, a Dutchman, was the first known European to sight the Samoan islands in 1722. This visit was followed by French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, who named them the Navigator Islands in 1768. Contact was limited before the 1830s, which is when English missionaries and traders began arriving.
Visits by American trading and whaling vessels were important in the early economic development of Samoa. The Salem brig Roscoe (Captain Benjamin Vanderford), in October 1821, was the first American trading vessel known to have called, and the Maro (Captain Richard Macy) of Nantucket, in 1824, was the first recorded United States whaler at Samoa. The whalers came for fresh drinking water, firewood and provisions, and later, they recruited local men to serve as crewmen on their ships.
Christian missionary work in Samoa began in 1830 when John Williams of the London Missionary Society arrived in Sapapali'i from the Cook Islands and Tahiti. According to Barbara A. West, "The Samoans were also known to engage in ‘headhunting', a ritual of war in which a warrior took the head of his slain opponent to give to his leader, thus proving his bravery." However, Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived in Samoa from 1889 until his death in 1894, wrote in A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa, "… the Samoans are gentle people."
The Germans, in particular, began to show great commercial interest in the Samoan Islands, especially on the island of Upolu, where German firms monopolised copra and cocoa bean processing. The United States laid its own claim, based on commercial shipping interests in Pearl River in Hawaii and Pago Pago Bay in Eastern Samoa, and forced alliances, most conspicuously on the islands of Tutuila and Manu'a which became American Samoa.
Britain also sent troops to protect British business enterprise, harbour rights, and consulate office. This was followed by an eight-year civil war, during which each of the three powers supplied arms, training and in some cases combat troops to the warring Samoan parties. The Samoan crisis came to a critical juncture in March 1889 when all three colonial contenders sent warships into Apia harbour, and a larger-scale war seemed imminent. A massive storm on 15 March 1889 damaged or destroyed the warships, ending the military conflict.
The Second Samoan Civil War reached a head in 1898 when Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States were locked in dispute over who should control the Samoa Islands. The Siege of Apia occurred in March 1899. Samoan forces loyal to Prince Tanu were besieged by a larger force of Samoan rebels loyal to Mata'afa Iosefo. Supporting Prince Tanu were landing parties from four British and American warships. After several days of fighting, the Samoan rebels were finally defeated.
American and British warships shelled Apia on 15 March 1899, including the USS Philadelphia. Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States quickly resolved to end the hostilities and divided the island chain at the Tripartite Convention of 1899, signed at Washington on 2 December 1899 with ratifications exchanged on 16 February 1900.
The eastern island-group became a territory of the United States (the Tutuila Islands in 1900 and officially Manu'a in 1904) and was known as American Samoa. The western islands, by far the greater landmass, became German Samoa. The United Kingdom had vacated all claims in Samoa and in return received (1) termination of German rights in Tonga, (2) all of the Solomon Islands south of Bougainville, and (3) territorial alignments in West Africa.
The German Empire governed the western Samoan islands from 1900 to 1914. Wilhelm Solf was appointed the colony's first governor. In 1908, when the non-violent Mau a Pule resistance movement arose, Solf did not hesitate to banish the Mau leader Lauaki Namulau'ulu Mamoe to Saipan in the German Northern Mariana Islands.
The German colonial administration governed on the principle that "there was only one government in the islands." Thus, there was no Samoan Tupu (king), nor an alii sili (similar to a governor), but two Fautua (advisors) were appointed by the colonial government. Tumua and Pule (traditional governments of Upolu and Savai'i) were for a time silent; all decisions on matters affecting lands and titles were under the control of the colonial Governor.
In the first month of World War I, on 29 August 1914, troops of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force landed unopposed on Upolu and seized control from the German authorities, following a request by Great Britain for New Zealand to perform this "great and urgent imperial service."
From the end of World War I until 1962, New Zealand controlled Samoa as a Class C Mandate under trusteeship through the League of Nations, then through the United Nations. There followed a series of New Zealand administrators who were responsible for two major incidents. In the first incident, approximately one fifth of the Samoan population died in the influenza epidemic of 1918–1919. Between 1919 and 1962, Samoa was administered by the Department of External Affairs, a government department which had been specially created to oversee New Zealand's Island Territories and Samoa. In 1943, this Department was renamed the Department of Island Territories after a separate Department of External Affairs was created to conduct New Zealand's foreign affairs.
In 1918, during the final stages of World War I, the flu pandemic had taken its toll, spreading rapidly from country to country. American Samoa became one of only three places in the world (the others being New Caledonia and Marajó island in Brazil) to have prevented any deaths during the pandemic through the quick response from Governor John Martin Poyer after hearing news reports of the outbreak on the radio and requesting quarantine ships from the U.S. mainland. On Samoa, there had been no epidemic of pneumonic influenza in Western Samoa before the arrival of the SS Talune from Auckland on 7 November 1918. The NZ administration allowed the ship to berth in breach of quarantine; within seven days of this ship's arrival, influenza became epidemic in Upolu and then spread rapidly throughout the rest of the territory. Samoa suffered the most of all Pacific islands, with 90% of the population infected; 30% of adult men, 22% of adult women and 10% of children died. The cause of the epidemic was confirmed in 1919 by a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Epidemic concluded that there had been no epidemic of pneumonic influenza in Western Samoa before the arrival of the SS Talune from Auckland on 7 November 1918. 
The second major incident arose out of an initially peaceful protest by the Mau (which literally translates as "strongly held opinion"), a non-violent popular movement which had its beginnings in the early 1900s on Savai'i, led by Lauaki Namulauulu Mamoe, an orator chief deposed by Solf. In 1909, Lauaki was exiled to Saipan and died en route back to Samoa in 1915.
By 1918, Samoa had a population of some 38,000 Samoans and 1,500 Europeans.
However, Samoans greatly resented New Zealand's colonial rule, and blamed inflation and the catastrophic 1918 flu epidemic on its misrule. By the late 1920s the resistance movement against colonial rule had gathered widespread support. One of the Mau leaders was Olaf Frederick Nelson, a half Samoan and half Swedish merchant. Nelson was eventually exiled during the late 1920s and early 1930s, but he continued to assist the organisation financially and politically. In accordance with the Mau's non-violent philosophy, the newly elected leader, High Chief Tupua Tamasese Lealofi, led his fellow uniformed Mau in a peaceful demonstration in downtown Apia on 28 December 1929.
The New Zealand police attempted to arrest one of the leaders in the demonstration. When he resisted, a struggle developed between the police and the Mau. The officers began to fire randomly into the crowd and a Lewis machine gun, mounted in preparation for this demonstration, was used to disperse the demonstrators. Chief Tamasese was shot from behind and killed while trying to bring calm and order to the Mau demonstrators, screaming "Peace, Samoa". Ten others died that day and approximately 50 were injured by gunshot wounds and police batons. That day would come to be known in Samoa as Black Saturday. The Mau grew, remaining steadfastly non-violent, and expanded to include the highly influential women's branch.
After repeated efforts by the Samoan independence movement, the New Zealand Western Samoa Act 1961 of 24 November 1961 granted Samoa independence, effective on 1 January 1962, upon which the Trusteeship Agreement terminated. Samoa also signed a friendship treaty with New Zealand. Samoa, the first small-island country in the Pacific to become independent, joined the Commonwealth of Nations on 28 August 1970. While independence was achieved at the beginning of January, Samoa annually celebrates 1 June as its independence day.
On 4 July 1997 the government amended the constitution to change the country's name from Western Samoa to Samoa. American Samoa protested against the move, asserting that the change diminished its own identity.
On 7 September 2009, the government changed the driving orientation for motorists: Samoans now drive on the left side of the road like in most other Commonwealth countries. This brought Samoa into line with many other countries in the region. Samoa thus became the first country in the 21st century to switch to driving on the left.
At the end of December 2011, Samoa jumped forward by one day, omitting 30 December from the local calendar, when the nation moved to the west of the International Date Line. This change aimed to help the nation boost its economy in doing business with Australia and New Zealand. Before this change, Samoa was 21 hours behind Sydney, but the change means it is now three hours ahead. The previous time zone, implemented on 4 July 1892, operated in line with American traders based in California.
The 1960 constitution, which formally came into force with independence from New Zealand in 1962, builds on the British pattern of parliamentary democracy, modified to take account of Samoan customs. The national modern Government of Samoa is referred to as the Malo.
Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu’u II, one of the four highest-ranking paramount chiefs in the country, became Samoa's first Prime Minister. Two other paramount chiefs at the time of independence were appointed joint heads of state for life. Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole died in 1963, leaving Malietoa Tanumafili II sole head of state until his death on 11 May 2007, upon which Samoa changed from a constitutional monarchy to a parliamentary republic de facto. The next Head of State, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, was elected by the legislature on 17 June 2007 for a fixed five-year term, and was re-elected unopposed in July 2012. Tufuga Efi was succeeded by Va'aletoa Sualauvi II in 2017.
The unicameral legislature (the Fono) consists of 49 members serving 5-year terms. Forty-seven are matai title-holders elected from territorial districts by Samoans; the other two are chosen by non-Samoans with no chiefly affiliation on separate electoral rolls. Universal suffrage was adopted in 1990, but only chiefs (matai) may stand for election to the Samoan seats. There are more than 25,000 matais in the country, about 5% of whom are women. The prime minister, chosen by a majority in the Fono, is appointed by the head of state to form a government. The prime minister's choices for the 12 cabinet positions are appointed by the head of state, subject to the continuing confidence of the Fono.
Prominent women in Samoan politics include the late Laulu Fetauimalemau Mata'afa (1928–2007) from Lotofaga constituency, the wife of Samoa's first prime minister. Their daughter Fiame Naomi Mata'afa is a paramount chief and a long-serving senior member of cabinet. Other women in politics include Samoan scholar and eminent professor Aiono Fanaafi Le Tagaloa, orator-chief Matatumua Maimoana and Safuneitu'uga Pa'aga Neri (as of 2016 the Minister of Communication and Technology).
The judicial system incorporates English common law and local customs. The Supreme Court of Samoa is the court of highest jurisdiction. Its chief justice is appointed by the head of state upon the recommendation of the prime minister.
Samoa comprises eleven itūmālō (political districts). These are the traditional eleven districts which predate European arrival. Each district has its own constitutional foundation (faavae) based on the traditional order of title precedence found in each district's faalupega (traditional salutations).
The capital village of each district administers and coordinates the affairs of the district and confers each district's paramount title, amongst other responsibilities. For example, the District of A'ana has its capital at Leulumoega. The paramount title of A'ana is the TuiA'ana. The orator group which confers this title – the Faleiva (House of Nine) – is based at Leulumoega. This is also the same for the other districts. In the district of Tuamasaga, the paramount title of the district – the Malietoa title – is conferred by the FaleTuamasaga based in Afega.
The eleven itūmālō are identified to be:
1 including the faipule district of Siumu
2 including islands Manono, Apolima and Nu'ulopa
3 including the Aleipata Islands and Nu'usafe'e Island
4 smaller parts also on Upolu (Salamumu, incl. Salamumu-Uta and Leauvaa villages)
In June 2017, an Act was passed changing the country's constitution to include a reference to the Trinity. As amended, Article 1 of the Samoan Constitution states that “Samoa is a Christian nation founded of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. According to The Diplomat, "What Samoa has done is shift references to Christianity into the body of the constitution, giving the text far more potential to be used in legal processes." The preamble to the constitution already described the country as "an independent State based on Christian principles and Samoan custom and traditions."
Samoa lies south of the equator, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean. The total land area is 2,842 km2 (1,097 sq mi), consisting of the two large islands of Upolu and Savai'i (which together account for 99% of the total land area) and eight small islets.
These are the three islets in the Apolima Strait (Manono Island, Apolima and Nu'ulopa), the four Aleipata Islands off the eastern end of Upolu (Nu'utele, Nu'ulua, Namua, and Fanuatapu), and Nu'usafe'e which is less than 1 hectare (2½ acres) in area and about 1.4 km (0.9 mi) off the south coast of Upolu at the village of Vaovai. The main island of Upolu is home to nearly three-quarters of Samoa's population, and to the capital city, Apia.
The Samoan islands result geologically from volcanism, originating with the Samoa hotspot which probably results from a mantle plume. While all of the islands have volcanic origins, only Savai'i, the westernmost island in Samoa, remains volcanically active, with the most recent eruptions in Mt Matavanu (1905–1911), Mata o le Afi (1902) and Mauga Afi (1725). The highest point in Samoa is Mt Silisili, at 1858 m (6,096 ft). The Saleaula lava fields situated on the central north coast of Savai'i are the result of the Mt Matavanu eruptions which left 50 km2 (20 sq mi) of solidified lava.
The climate is equatorial/monsoonal, with an average annual temperature of 26.5 °C (79.7 °F) and a rainy season from November to April. Savai'i is the largest of the Samoan islands and the sixth largest Polynesian island (after New Zealand's North, South and Stewart Islands and the Hawaiian islands of Hawaiʻi and Maui). The population of Savai'i is 42,000 people.
Samoa forms part of the Samoan tropical moist forests ecoregion. Since human habitation began, about 80% of the lowland rainforests have been lost. Within the ecoregion about 28% of plants and 84% of land birds are endemic.
The United Nations has classified Samoa as an economically developing country since 2014. In 2017, Samoa's gross domestic product in purchasing power parity was estimated to be $1.13 billion U.S. dollars, ranking 204th among all countries. The services sector accounted for 66% of GDP, followed by industry and agriculture at 23.6% and 10.4%, respectively. The same year, the Samoan labour force was estimated at 50,700.
The country's currency is the Samoan tālā, issued and regulated by the Central Bank of Samoa. The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on agriculture and fishing at the local level. In modern times, development aid, private family remittances from overseas, and agricultural exports have become key factors in the nation's economy. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labour force and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, noni (juice of the nonu fruit, as it is known in Samoan), and copra.
Outside of a large automotive wire harness factory (Yazaki Corporation which ended production in August 2017), the manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. Tourism is an expanding sector which now accounts for 25% of GDP. Tourist arrivals have been increasing over the years with more than 100,000 tourists visiting the islands in 2005, up from 70,000 in 1996.
The Samoan government has called for deregulation of the financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline. Observers point to the flexibility of the labour market as a basic strength for future economic advances. The sector has been helped enormously by major capital investment in hotel infrastructure, political instability in neighbouring Pacific countries, and the 2005 launch of Virgin Samoa a joint-venture between the government and Virgin Australia (then Virgin Blue).
In the period before German colonisation, Samoa produced mostly copra. German merchants and settlers were active in introducing large scale plantation operations and developing new industries, notably, cocoa bean and rubber, relying on imported labourers from China and Melanesia. When the value of natural rubber fell drastically, about the end of the Great War (World War I), the New Zealand government encouraged the production of bananas, for which there is a large market in New Zealand.
Because of variations in altitude, a large range of tropical and subtropical crops can be cultivated, but land is not generally available to outside interests. Of the total land area of 2,934 km2 (725,000 acres), about 24.4% is in permanent crops and another 21.2% is arable. About 4.4% is Western Samoan Trust Estates Corporation (WSTEC).
The staple products of Samoa are copra (dried coconut meat), cocoa bean (for chocolate), and bananas. The annual production of both bananas and copra has been in the range of 13,000 to 15,000 metric tons (about 14,500 to 16,500 short tons). If the rhinoceros beetle in Samoa were eradicated, Samoa could produce in excess of 40,000 metric tons (44,000 short tons) of copra. Samoan cocoa beans are of very high quality and used in fine New Zealand chocolates. Most are Criollo-Forastero hybrids. Coffee grows well, but production has been uneven. WSTEC is the biggest coffee producer. Rubber has been produced in Samoa for many years, but its export value has little impact on the economy.
Other agricultural industries have been less successful. Sugarcane production, originally established by Germans in the early 20th century, could be successful. Old train tracks for transporting cane can be seen at some plantations east of Apia. Pineapples grow well in Samoa, but beyond local consumption have not been a major export.
Sixty percent of Samoa's electricity comes from renewable hydro, solar, and wind sources, with the remainder from diesel generators. The Electric Power Corporation has a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2021.
Only the Māori of New Zealand outnumber Samoans among Polynesian groups.
Samoan (Gagana Fa'asāmoa) and English are the official languages. Including second-language speakers, there are more speakers of Samoan than English in Samoa. Samoan Sign Language is also commonly used among the deaf population of Samoa. To emphasize the importance of full inclusion with sign language, elementary Samoan Sign Language was taught to members of the Samoa Police Service, Red Cross Society, and public during the 2017 International Week of the Deaf.
Since 2012, Article 1 of the Samoan Constitution states that “Samoa is a Christian nation founded of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”.
Samoans' religious adherence includes the following: Christian Congregational Church of Samoa 31.8%, Roman Catholic 19.4%, Methodist 15.2%, Assembly of God 13.7%, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 7.6%, Seventh-day Adventist 3.9%, Worship Centre 1.7%, other Christian 5.5%, other 0.7%, none 0.1%, unspecified 0.1% (2011 estimate). The Head of State until 2007, His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II, was a Bahá'í. Samoa hosts the seventh (of nine current) Bahá'í Houses of Worship in the world; completed in 1984 and dedicated by the Head of State, it is located in Tiapapata, 8 km (5 mi) from Apia.
The Samoan government provides eight years of primary and secondary education that is tuition-free and is compulsory through age 16.
Samoa's main post-secondary educational institution is the National University of Samoa, established in 1984. The country is also home to several branches of the multi-national University of the South Pacific and the Oceania University of Medicine.
The fa'a Samoa, or traditional Samoan way, remains a strong force in Samoan life and politics. Despite centuries of European influence, Samoa maintains its historical customs, social and political systems, and language. Cultural customs such as the Samoa 'ava ceremony are significant and solemn rituals at important occasions including the bestowal of matai chiefly titles. Items of great cultural value include the finely woven 'ie toga.
Samoan mythology includes many gods with creation stories and figures of legend such as Tagaloa and the goddess of war Nafanua, the daughter of Saveasi'uleo, ruler of the spirit realm Pulotu. Other legends include the well known story of Sina and the Eel which explains the origins of the first coconut tree.
Some Samoans are spiritual and religious, and have subtly adapted the dominant religion of Christianity to 'fit in' with fa'a Samoa and vice versa. Ancient beliefs continue to co-exist side-by-side with Christianity, particularly in regard to the traditional customs and rituals of fa'a Samoa. The Samoan culture is centred around the principle of vāfealoa'i, the relationships between people. These relationships are based on respect, or fa'aaloalo. When Christianity was introduced in Samoa, most Samoan people converted. Currently 98% of the population identify themselves as Christian.
Some Samoans live a communal way of life, participating in activities collectively. Examples of this are the traditional Samoan fale (houses) which are open with no walls, using blinds made of coconut palm fronds during the night or bad weather.
The Samoan siva dance has unique gentle movements of the body in time to music and tells a story, although the Samoan male dances can be more snappy. The sasa is also a traditional dance where rows of dancers perform rapid synchronised movements in time to the rhythm of wooden drums (pate) or rolled mats. Another dance performed by males is called the fa'ataupati or the slap dance, creating rhythmic sounds by slapping different parts of the body. This is believed to have been derived from slapping insects on the body.
The form and construction of traditional architecture of Samoa was a specialised skill by Tufuga fai fale that was also linked to other cultural artforms.
As with other Polynesian cultures (Hawaiian, Tahitian and Māori) with significant and unique tattoos, Samoans have two gender specific and culturally significant tattoos. For males, it is called the Pe'a and consists of intricate and geometrical patterns tattooed that cover areas from the knees up towards the ribs. A male who possesses such a tatau is called a soga'imiti. A Samoan girl or teine is given a malu, which covers the area from just below her knees to her upper thighs.
Albert Wendt is a significant Samoan writer whose novels and stories tell the Samoan experience. In 1989, his novel Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree was made into a feature film in New Zealand, directed by Martyn Sanderson. Another novel Sons for the Return Home had also been made into a feature film in 1979, directed by Paul Maunder. The late John Kneubuhl, born in American Samoa, was an accomplished playwright and screenwriter and writer. Sia Figiel won the 1997 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for fiction in the south-east Asia/South Pacific region with her novel "Where We Once Belonged". Momoe Malietoa Von Reiche is an internationally recognised poet and artist. Tusiata Avia is a performance poet. Her first book of poetry Wild Dogs Under My Skirt was published by Victoria University Press in 2004. Dan Taulapapa McMullin is an artist and writer. Other Samoan poets and writers include Sapa'u Ruperake Petaia, Eti Sa'aga and Savea Sano Malifa, the editor of the Samoa Observer.
In music, popular local bands include The Five Stars, Penina o Tiafau and Punialava'a. The Yandall Sisters' cover of the song Sweet Inspiration reached number one on the New Zealand charts in 1974. King Kapisi was the first hip hop artist to receive the prestigious New Zealand APRA Silver Scroll Award in 1999 for his song Reverse Resistance. The music video for Reverse Resistance was filmed in Savai'i at his villages. Other successful Samoan hip hop artists include rapper Scribe, Dei Hamo, Savage and Tha Feelstyle whose music video Suamalie was filmed in Samoa.
Lemi Ponifasio is a director and choreographer who is prominent internationally with his dance Company MAU. Neil Ieremia's company Black Grace has also received international acclaim with tours to Europe and New York. Hip hop has had a significant impact on Samoan culture. According to Katerina Martina Teaiwa, PhD from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, "Hip hop culture in particular is popular amongst Samoan youth." As in many other countries, hip hop music is popular. In addition, the integration of hip hop elements into Samoan tradition also "testifies to the transferability of the dance forms themselves," and to the "circuits through which people and all their embodied knowledge travel." Dance both in its traditional form and its more modern forms has remained a central cultural currency to Samoans, especially youths.
Director Sima Urale is an award-winning filmmaker. Urale's short film O Tamaiti won the prestigious Best Short Film at the Venice Film Festival in 1996. Her first feature film Apron Strings opened the 2008 NZ International Film Festival. The feature film Siones Wedding, co-written by Oscar Kightley, was financially successful following premieres in Auckland and Apia. The 2011 film The Orator was the first ever fully Samoan film, shot in Samoa in the Samoan language with a Samoan cast telling a uniquely Samoan story. Written and directed by Tusi Tamasese, it received much critical acclaim and attention at film festivals throughout the world.
Rugby union is the national sport in Samoa and the national team, nicknamed the Manu Samoa, is consistently competitive against teams from vastly more populous nations. Samoa has competed at every Rugby World Cup since 1991, and made the quarter finals in 1991, 1995 and the second round of the 1999 World Cup. At the 2003 world cup, Manu Samoa came close to beating eventual world champions, England. Samoa also played in the Pacific Nations Cup and the Pacific Tri-Nations. The sport is governed by the Samoa Rugby Football Union, who are members of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance, and thus, also contribute to the international Pacific Islanders rugby union team.
At club level, there is the National Provincial Championship and Pacific Rugby Cup. They also took home the cup at Wellington and the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens in 2007—for which the Prime Minister of Samoa, also Chairman of the national rugby union, Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, declared a national holiday. They were also the IRB World Sevens Series Champions in 2010 capping a year of achievement for the Samoans, following wins in the US, Australia, Hong Kong and Scotland Sevens tournaments.
Rugby league is mostly played by Samoans living in New Zealand and Australia. Samoa reached the quarter finals of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, the team comprising players from the NRL and Super League plus domestic players. Many Samoans and New Zealanders or Australians of Samoan descent play in the Super League and National Leagues in Britain, including Francis Meli, Ta'ane Lavulavu of Workington Town, Maurie Fa'asavalu of St Helens and David Fatialofa of Whitehaven and Setima Sa who signed with London Irish rugby club. Other noteworthy players from NZ and Australia have represented the Samoan National team. The 2011 domestic Samoan rugby league competition contained 10 teams with plans to expand to 12 in 2012.
American football is occasionally played in Samoa, reflecting its wide popularity in American Samoa, where the sport is played under high school sanction. About 30 ethnic Samoans, many from American Samoa, currently play in the National Football League. A 2002 article from ESPN estimated that a Samoan male (either an American Samoan or a Samoan living in the mainland United States) is 40 times more likely to play in the NFL than a non-Samoan American.
American Samoa ( (listen); Samoan: Amerika Sāmoa, [aˈmɛɾika ˈsaːmʊa]; also Amelika Sāmoa or Sāmoa Amelika) is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Samoa. Its location is centered around 14.2710° S, 170.1322° W. It is on the eastern border of the International Date Line, while independent Samoa is west of it.
American Samoa consists of five main islands and two coral atolls. The largest and most populous island is Tutuila, with the Manuʻa Islands, Rose Atoll, and Swains Island also included in the territory. All islands except for Swains Island are part of the Samoan Islands, located west of the Cook Islands, north of Tonga, and some 300 miles (500 km) south of Tokelau. To the west are the islands of the Wallis and Futuna group.
The current population of American Samoa is approximately 55,689 people. Most of them are "nationals but not citizens of the United States at birth". Most American Samoans are bilingual and can speak English and Samoan fluently. Samoan is the same language spoken in neighboring independent Samoa.
The total land area is 199 square kilometers (76.8 sq mi), slightly more than Washington, D.C. American Samoa is the southernmost territory of the United States and one of two U.S. territories south of the Equator, along with the uninhabited Jarvis Island. Tuna products are the main exports, and the main trading partner is the United States.
American Samoa has been a member of the Pacific Community since 1983.
During the 1918 flu pandemic, Governor John Martin Poyer quarantined the territory, and because of his actions, American Samoa was one of the few places in the world where no flu-related deaths occurred.
American Samoa is noted for having the highest rate of military enlistment of any U.S. state or territory. As of September 9, 2014, the local U.S. Army recruiting station in Pago Pago was ranked first in production out of the 885 Army recruiting stations and centers under the United States Army Recruiting Command, which includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, the Marshall Islands, South Korea, Japan, and Europe.American Samoa House of Representatives
The American Samoa House of Representatives is the lower house of the American Samoa Fono. The House consists of 21 representatives serving two-year terms, with 20 popularly elected members, and one representative elected by a public meeting on Swains Island.American Samoa Senate
The American Samoa Senate is the upper house of the American Samoa Fono. The Senate, like the lower House of Representatives, is a nonpartisan body. It is composed of 18 senators, serving a four-year term.Apia
Apia is the capital and the largest city of Samoa. From 1900 to 1919, it was the capital of German Samoa. The city is located on the central north coast of Upolu, Samoa's second largest island. Apia is the only city in Samoa and falls within the political district (itūmālō) of Tuamasaga.
The Apia Urban Area has a population of 36,735 (2011 census) and is generally referred to as the City of Apia. The geographic boundaries of Apia Urban Area is mainly from Letogo village to the new industrialized region of Apia known as Vaitele.Fa'afafine
Fa'afafine are people who identify themselves as having a third-gender or non-binary role in Samoa, American Samoa and the Samoan diaspora. A recognized gender identity/gender role in traditional Samoan society, and an integral part of Samoan culture, fa'afafine are assigned male at birth, and explicitly embody both masculine and feminine gender traits in a way unique to Polynesia. Their behavior typically ranges from extravagantly feminine to conventionally masculine.A prominent Western theory, among the many anthropological theories about Samoans, was that if a family had more boys than girls or not enough girls to help with women's duties about the house, male children would be chosen to be raised as fa'afafine; although this theory has been refuted by studies.It has been estimated that 1-5% of Samoans identify as fa'afafine. Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand estimates that there are 500 fa’afafine in Samoa, and the same number in the Samoan diaspora in New Zealand; while according to SBS news, there are up to 3000 fa'afafine currently living in Samoa.International Date Line
The International Date Line (IDL) is an imaginary line of demarcation on the surface of Earth that runs from the North Pole to the South Pole and demarcates the change of one calendar day to the next. It passes through the middle of the Pacific Ocean, roughly following the 180° line of longitude but deviating to pass around some territories and island groups.LGBT rights in American Samoa
LGBT people in the United States territory of American Samoa face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents.
Same-sex sexual activity became legal in the territory in 1980, but same-sex couples are not eligible for the rights and benefits available to different-sex married couples.List of Delegates to the United States House of Representatives from American Samoa
Delegates of American Samoa to the United States House of Representatives are politicians elected to the United States House of Representatives by the unincorporated territory of American Samoa. As an unincorporated territory, American Samoa does not have the right to elect senators, but is able to elect a single non-voting delegate to the House. The delegate can participate in, and vote, in committees. The right to elect a delegate was granted on October 31, 1978, and the first delegate was elected in 1981.This is a complete list of delegates to the United States House of Representatives from American Samoa.
Note: From 1970 to 1978, American Samoa sent an unofficial "Delegate-at-large" to lobby for formal admission to the House of Representatives; they were A. U. Fuimaono from 1970 to 1974, and A. P. Lutali from 1975 to 1977.
1Resigned September 6, 1988.List of governors of American Samoa
This is a list of governors, etc. of the part of the Samoan Islands (now comprising American Samoa) under United States administration since 1900.
From 1900 to 1977 governors were appointed by the United States Government. Since that time they have been elected for 4-year terms by the people of American Samoa.National Register of Historic Places listings in American Samoa
This is a list of the buildings, sites, districts, and objects listed on the National Register of Historic Places in American Samoa. There are currently 31 listed sites spread across the three districts of American Samoa. There are no sites listed on the unorganized atoll of Swains Island.
This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted March 7, 2019.Pago Pago
Pago Pago ( PAHNG-goh-PAHNG-goh; Samoan: [ˈpaŋo ˈpaŋo]) is the territorial capital of American Samoa. It is in Maoputasi County on the main island of American Samoa, Tutuila. It is home to one of the best and deepest natural deepwater harbors in the South Pacific Ocean, sheltered from wind and rough seas, and strategically located. The harbor is also one of the best protected in the South Pacific, which gives American Samoa a natural advantage with respect to landing fish for processing. Tourism, entertainment, food, and tuna canning are its main industries. Pago Pago was the world's 4th largest tuna processor as of 1993. It was home to two of the largest tuna companies in the world: Chicken of the Sea and StarKist, which exported an estimated $445 million in canned tuna to the U.S. mainland.Pago Pago is the only modern urban center in American Samoa. The Greater Pago Pago Metropolitan Area encompasses several villages strung together along Pago Pago Harbor. One of the villages is itself named Pago Pago, and in 2010 had a population of 3,656. The constituent villages are, in order, Utulei, Fagatogo, Malaloa, Pago Pago, Satala and Atu'u. Fagatogo is the downtown area referred to as Town and is home to the legislature, while the executive is located in Utulei. In Fagatogo is the Fono, Police Department, Port of Pago Pago, many shops and hotels. The Greater Pago Pago Area was home to 8,000 residents in 2000.Rainmaker Mountain (Mount Pioa) is located in Pago Pago, and gives the city the highest annual rainfall of any harbor in the world.Polynesia
Polynesia (UK: , US: ; from Greek: πολύς polys "many" and Greek: νῆσος nēsos "island"; French: Polynésie, Samoan: Polenisia, Māori: Poronēhia or Poronihia) is a subregion of Oceania, made up of more than 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians, and share many similar traits including language family, culture, and beliefs. Historically, they had a strong tradition of sailing and using stars to navigate at night. The largest country in Polynesia is New Zealand.
The term Polynesia was first used in 1756 by a French writer named Charles de Brosses, and originally applied to all the islands of the Pacific. In 1831, Jules Dumont d'Urville proposed a restriction on its use during a lecture to the Geographical Society of Paris. Historically, the islands of the South Seas have been known as South Sea Islands, and their inhabitants as South Sea Islanders, even though the Hawaiian Islands are located in the North Pacific. Another term, the Polynesian Triangle, explicitly includes the Hawaiian Islands, as they form its northern vertex.Samoa Joe
Nuufolau Joel Seanoa (born March 17, 1979), better known by his ring name Samoa Joe, is an American professional wrestler. He is currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the SmackDown brand, and is the current United States Champion in his first reign.
Joe was previously known for his time with promotions Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) and Ring of Honor (ROH). He established himself in ROH from the promotion's beginning in 2002, holding the ROH World Championship for a record 21 months from March 2003 to December 2004. Upon joining TNA in June 2005, he embarked on a 19-month-long undefeated streak, and went on to hold the TNA World Heavyweight Championship once, the TNA X Division Championship five times, the TNA World Tag Team Championship twice, and the TNA Television Championship once; completing the TNA Triple Crown and the TNA Grand Slam. He also wrestled internationally and on the independent circuit for various promotions, winning several titles, including the GHC Tag Team Championship with Magnus in Pro Wrestling Noah, and he was an inaugural NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Champion with Keiji Sakoda in Pro Wrestling Zero1. He left TNA in February 2015, briefly competing again in ROH and the independent circuit.
Joe officially debuted in WWE's developmental territory NXT in May 2015, and signed a full-time contract with the company in June; he went on to become the first ever two-time NXT Champion, and the co-winner of the inaugural Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic (with Finn Bálor). After joining the main roster in January 2017, he headlined the pay-per-view events Extreme Rules, Great Balls of Fire and SummerSlam, in contention for the WWE Universal Championship at the last two.Samoa national rugby league team
The Samoa national rugby league team represents Samoa in rugby league football and has been participating in international competition since 1986. Known as Western Samoa prior to 1997, the team is administered by Rugby League Samoa and are nicknamed Toa Samoa (English: Samoan Warriors).Samoa national rugby sevens team
The Samoa national rugby sevens team, referred to as the Samoa Sevens or Manu Samoa 7s, competes in the annual World Rugby Sevens Series. Representing the tiny Polynesian country of Samoa with a population of about 180,000 the Samoa competes against some of the wealthiest countries in the world. The Samoa sevens team is overseen by the Samoa Rugby Football Union, which oversees all of rugby union in Samoa.
Samoa won the 2009–10 World Series by winning four tournaments — the Hong Kong Sevens, the USA Sevens, the Adelaide Sevens, and the Edinburgh Sevens. Samoa has played at all Rugby World Cup Sevens finals tournaments since the championship began in 1993; its best finish was third place in 1997 and again in 2007.
Samoa has won four Oceania Sevens titles since the first competition in 2008. Samoa also won all four gold medals at the Pacific Games Sevens and Pacific Mini Games Sevens between 2007 and 2013, defeating Fiji in the final on each occasion.Samoa national rugby union team
The Samoa national rugby union team (also known as Manu Samoa) is governed by the Samoa Rugby Union. The name Manu Samoa is in honour of a famous Samoan warrior. They perform a traditional Samoan challenge called the siva tau before each game. Samoa Rugby Union were formerly members of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance (PIRA) along with Fiji and Tonga. They are ranked 16th in the world.Rugby was introduced to Samoa in the early 1920s and a governing body was soon formed. The first international was played as Western Samoa against Fiji in August 1924. Along with Tonga, these nations would meet regularly and eventually contest competitions such as the Pacific Tri-Nations – with Western Samoa winning the first of these. From 1924 to 1997 Samoa was known as Western Samoa.
Samoa have been to every Rugby World Cup since the 1991 tournament. That tournament, along with the 1995 competition, saw them make the quarter-finals. Under their new coach, former New Zealand and Samoan international player Michael Jones, Samoa competed in the 2007 Rugby World Cup. However, Samoa had a dismal World Cup campaign, winning only one match and finishing fourth in their group. Samoa showed an improved performance at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, winning two matches by comfortable margins, and losing close matches to South Africa and Wales.Samoan Islands
The Samoan Islands are an archipelago covering 3,030 km2 (1,170 sq mi) in the central South Pacific, forming part of Polynesia and the wider region of Oceania. Administratively, the archipelago comprises all of Samoa and most of American Samoa (apart from Swains Island, which is part of the Tokelau Islands). The two Samoan jurisdictions are separated by 64 km (40 mi) of ocean.
The population of the Samoan Islands is approximately 250,000, sharing a common language, Samoan, a culture, known as fa'a Samoa and an indigenous form of governance called fa'amatai.Most Samoans are full-blooded and are one of the largest Polynesian populations in the world.The oldest evidence of human activity in the Samoan Islands dates to around 1050 BCE. This comes from a Lapita site at Mulifanua wharf on Upolu island.In 1768, the eastern islands were visited by French explorer Bougainville, who named them the Navigator Islands, a name used by missionaries until about 1845 and in official European dispatches until about 1870.Samoans
Samoans or Samoan people (Samoan: tagata Sāmoa), are a Polynesian ethnic group native to the Samoan Islands, an archipelago in Polynesia, who speak the Samoan language. The group's home islands are politically and geographically divided between the Independent State of Samoa and American Samoa, an unincorporated territory of the United States of America. Though divided by political powers, the culture and language remains one and the same.
The Samoan people and culture form a vital link and stepping stone in the formation and spread of the Polynesian culture, language and religion throughout Eastern Polynesia.A Polynesian culture of trade, religion, war, colonialism are important identifying markers within the Polynesian culture that almost certainly formed its roots within the Samoan culture. Samoa's colonial history with the kingdom of Tonga, Fiji and French Polynesia forming the impases for what is the modern Polynesian cultural marker points.Territories of the United States
Territories of the United States are sub-national administrative divisions overseen by the federal government. They differ from U.S. states and Native American tribes, which have limited sovereignty. The territories are classified by incorporation and whether they have an "organized" government through an organic act passed by Congress.The U.S. has fourteen territories in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Five (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) are permanently-inhabited, unincorporated territories; the other nine are small islands, atolls and reefs with no native (or permanent) population. Of the nine, only one is classified as an incorporated territory. Territories were created to administer newly-acquired land, and most eventually attained statehood. Others, such as the Philippines, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau, became independent.
Many organized incorporated territories of the United States existed from 1789 to 1959. The first were the Northwest and Southwest territories, and the last were the Alaska and Hawaii Territories. Thirty-one territories (or parts of territories) became states. In the process, some less-developed or -populous areas of a territory were orphaned from it after a statehood referendum. When a portion of the Missouri Territory became the state of Missouri, the remainder of the territory (the present-day states of Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota, most of Kansas, Wyoming, and Montana, and parts of Colorado and Minnesota) became an unorganized territory.Territorial telecommunications and other infrastructure is generally inferior to that of the U.S. mainland, and American Samoa's Internet speed was found to be slower than several Eastern European countries. Poverty rates are higher in the territories than in the states.
|Climate data for Apia|
|Average high °C (°F)||30.4
|Average low °C (°F)||23.9
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||489.0
|Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN)|