Samoa, formerly called Western Samoa, is famed for its natural beauty and friendly people.
Originally settled by the Tongan Polynesians, it was the European explorers and missionaries that transformed these islands for better or for worse. Christianity was introduced to the natives, and many local customs soon disappeared.
At the conclusion of World War I, and for 42 years, New Zealand occupied and administered the islands. Then, in 1962, Samoa became the first Polynesian nation to reestablish its independence in the 20th Century.
The large islands of Saval’i and Upolu are mountainous (volcanic in origin), and covered with heavy forests. Both are ringed by coral reefs.
The local population is mostly indigenous Samoans. The port city of Apia is the center of local government and trade, and the economy revolves around agriculture, lumber and tourism.
American Samoa, a neighboring group of islands, shares the same culture, and much of the same history.
Facts and Figures
Official Name: Independent State of Samoa
Population: 176,908 (2006 estimate)
Capital City: Apia (38,900)
Languages: Samoan, English
Official Currency: Tala
Religions: Christian (99%)
Land Area: 2,830 sq km (1,093 sq miles)
Latitude/Longitude: 13º 35S, 172º 20W
Highest Point: Mt. Sisisili, 6,070 ft. (1,857)
Samoa country profile. 2016. World Atlas. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/oceania/ws.htm [Accessed 22 March 16].