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The Independent State of Samoa (conventional long form) or Samoa (conventional short form) is a country comprising a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Previous names are Western Samoa from 1914 to 1997 and German Samoa from 1900 to 1914.

Malo Sa'oloto Tuto'atasi o Samoa
Independent State of Samoa
Samoa_flag_large.png Image:westasmarms22.PNG
(In Detail) (Full size)
National motto: Samoa is founded on God
Official languages Samoan, English
Capital Apia
Capital's coordinates 13 35' S, 172 20' W
Chief Malietoa Tanumafili II
Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sailele Malielegaoi
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 165th
2,944 km²
 - Total
(Jul 2004 Est.)
 - Density
Ranked 173rd

 - date
from New Zealand
January 1, 1962
Currency tala (WST)
Time zone UTC -11
National anthem The Banner of Freedom
Internet TLD .ws
Calling Code 685


Main article: History of Samoa

Settled as early as 1500 BC, Samoa was "discovered" by European explorers in the 18th century. International rivalries in the latter half of the 19th century were settled by an 1899 treaty in which Germany and the US divided the Samoan archipelago (see American Samoa).

Robert Louis Stevenson, the famed author of Treasure Island, settled in Upolu at the end of his life (1889-1894), a period during which he wrote several of his works. He was known locally as Tusitala, the Story-teller.

Shortly after the outbreak of World War I, in August 1914, New Zealand sent an expeditionary force to seize and occupy German Samoa. This was to stop German Samoa being used a naval refueling base in the Pacific. The German forces on the islands did not surrender, nor did they put up a fight.

German Samoa was renamed Western Samoa, New Zealand continued the occupation of Western Samoa throughout World War I. In 1919, under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany dropped its claims to the islands and they were granted to New Zealand as a League of Nations Mandate.

New Zealand administered Western Samoa under the auspices of the League of Nations and then as a United Nations trusteeship until the country received its independence on January 1, 1962 as Western Samoa, making it the first Polynesian nation to reestablish independence in the 20th century.


Main article: Politics of Samoa

The 1960 constitution of Samoa (which formally came into force with independence) is based on the British pattern of parliamentary democracy, modified to take account of Samoan customs. Samoa's two high chiefs at the time of independence were given lifetime appointments to jointly hold the office of head of state. Malietoa Tanumafili II has held this post alone since the death of his colleague in 1963. His eventual successor will be selected by the legislature for a 5-year term.


Main article: Geography of Samoa

Samoa is located east of the international dateline and south of the equator, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand in the Polynesian region of the South Pacific. The Samoas are of volcanic origin and the total land area is 2934 sq km, consisting of the two large islands of Upolu and Savai'i which account for 96% of the total land area, and seven small islets: Manono, Apolima, Nuutele, Nuulua, Namua, Fanuatapu, Nuusafee and Nuulopa. The main island of Upolu is home to nearly three-quarters of Samoa's population and its capital city is Apia. The climate is tropical with the average annual temperature of 26.5 degree C, and a rainy season from November to April.


Main article: Economy of Samoa

The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid , private family remittances from overseas , and agricultural exports . The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labor force, and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, and copra. Outside of a large automotive wire harness factory, the manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. Tourism is an expanding sector; more than 70,000 tourists visited the islands 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 labor market as a basic strength for future economic advances.


Main article: Demographics of Samoa

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 systems, and language, which is believed to be the oldest form of Polynesian speech still in existence. Only the Maori of New Zealand outnumber the Samoans among Polynesian groups.


Main article: Culture of Samoa

Miscellaneous topics

External Links

  • Map of Samoa
  • Finding Samoa
  • Samoa Chat (news, forums, Samoan language)
  • Samoa Tourism Authority
  • Over 90 categorised profiles of relevant websites on Zeal
  • Jane's Samoa Home Page
  • Samoa, A Hundred Years Ago And Long Before by George Turner, an eText available from Project Gutenberg

Countries in Oceania
Australia | East Timor | Fiji | Kiribati | Marshall Islands | Federated States of Micronesia | Nauru | New Zealand | Palau | Papua New Guinea | Samoa | Solomon Islands | Tonga | Tuvalu | Vanuatu
Other political units: American Samoa | Cook Islands | Easter Island | French Polynesia | Guam | Hawaii | Maluku Islands | Midway Atoll | New Caledonia | Niue | Norfolk Island | Northern Mariana Islands | Papua (Indonesia) | Pitcairn Islands | Tokelau | Wake Island | Wallis and Futuna | West Timor

Commonwealth of Nations
Antigua and Barbuda | Australia | Bahamas | Bangladesh | Barbados | Belize | Botswana | Brunei | Cameroon | Canada | Cyprus | Dominica | Fiji | The Gambia | Ghana | Grenada | Guyana | India | Jamaica | Kenya | Kiribati | Lesotho | Malawi | Malaysia | Maldives | Malta | Mauritius | Mozambique | Namibia | Nauru | New Zealand | Nigeria | Pakistan | Papua New Guinea | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Samoa | Seychelles | Sierra Leone | Singapore | Solomon Islands | South Africa | Sri Lanka | Swaziland | Tanzania | Tonga | Trinidad and Tobago | Tuvalu | Uganda | United Kingdom | Vanuatu | Zambia

Last updated: 02-05-2005 11:10:06
Last updated: 02-27-2005 04:39:14