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|THE AMERICAN SAMOA SEAL|
Location of American Samoa within the Geographic Region of Oceania
Map of American Samoa
Flag Description of American Samoa: blue, with a white triangle edged in red that is based on the fly side and extends to the hoist side; a brown and white American bald eagle flying toward the hoist side is carrying two traditional Samoan symbols of authority, a war club known as a "Fa'alaufa'i" (upper; left talon), and a coconut fiber fly whisk known as a "Fue" (lower; right talon); the combination of symbols broadly mimics that seen on the US Great Seal and reflects the relationship between the United States and American Samoa
Official name American Samoa (English); Amerika Samoa (Samoan)
Political status unincorporated and unorganized territory of the United States with two legislative houses (Senate ; House of Representatives )
Head of state President of the United States: Barack Obama
Head of government Governor: Lolo Matalasi Moliga
Capital Fagatogo2 (legislative and judicial) and Utulei (executive)
Official languages English; Samoan
Official religion none
Monetary unit dollar (U.S.$)
Population (2014 est.) 54,500COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 77
Total area (sq km) 200
- Urban: (2010) 93%
- Rural: (2010) 7%
Life expectancy at birth
- Male: (2012) 71.5 years
- Female: (2012) 77.6 years
Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate
- Male: (2000) 99.4%
- Female: (2000) 99.5%
GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2007) 7,801
1Including the appointed nonvoting delegate from Swains Island.
2The seat of the legislature, as defined by the Constitution of American Samoa, is at Fagatogo, one of a number of villages within an urban agglomeration collectively known as Pago Pago.
- 1 Background of American Samoa
- 2 Geography of American Samoa
- 3 Demography of American Samoa
- 4 Economy of American Samoa
- 5 Government and Society of American Samoa
- 6 Culture Life of American Samoa
- 7 History of American Samoa
- 8 American Samoa Travel Guide
- 9 2015 UNHCR subregional operations profile - East Asia and the Pacific-American Samoa
- 10 National Park of American Samoa
- 11 Rose Atoll (atoll, American Samoa)
- 12 American Samoa Tourism
- 13 Disclaimer
Background of American Samoa
The territory of American Samoa consists of 7 islands that lie 4700 km (2600 miles) southwest of Hawaii, in the center of the Pacific Ocean and are the oldest of the Samoan Islands. The total land mass for the 7 islands is 197 sq km (76.1 sq miles) with 74% belonging to the island of Tutuila.
American Samoa, officially Territory of American Samoa, unincorporated territory of the United States consisting of the eastern part of the Samoan archipelago, located in the south-central Pacific Ocean. It lies about 1,600 miles (2,600 km) northeast of New Zealand and 2,200 miles (3,500 km) southwest of the U.S. state of Hawaii. The territory, which is part of Polynesia, includes the six Samoan islands east of the 171° W meridian. Samoa (formerly Western Samoa), its closest neighbour and a self-governing country, consists of the nine Samoan islands west of the meridian. American Samoa includes the inhabited islands of Tutuila, Tau, Olosega, Ofu, and Aunuu, along with an uninhabited coral atoll named Rose Island. Swains Island, an inhabited coral atoll, about 280 miles (450 km) northwest of Tutuila and physiographically separate from the archipelago, was made a part of American Samoa in 1925. The capital of American Samoa is Pago Pago, on Tutuila.
It is the responsibility of the American Samoa Historic Preservation Officer to administer the Territorial Historic Preservation Program. American Samoa's strong indigenous culture and traditional system of communal land ownership impose special conditions of cultural sensitivity upon such an endeavor. A primary concern of the ASHPO is to fulfill its responsibilities in a manner that recognizes and honors these inherent cultural conditions. In addition, the ASHPO sees itself as a service organization, working in partnership with Federal and Territorial agencies, village and district councils, private organizations and individuals to assist in compliance with applicable Federal and Territorial historic preservation laws and to raise the community's consciousness about historic preservation and its role in cultural maintenance. Specific areas of responsibility in the administration of the Territorial Historic Preservation Program include:
- conducting an on-going comprehensive site identification of historic properties in the Territory and maintaining an inventory of such properties;
- identifying and nominating eligible properties to the National Register of Historic Places;
- advising and assisting Federal and Territorial agencies in carrying out their historic preservation responsibilities;
- consulting with appropriate Federal agencies on all undertakings that may affect historic properties in order to protect, manage, reduce or mitigate harm to such properties;
- ensuring that historic properties are taken into consideration at all levels of planning and development;
providing public information, education and training, and technical assistance in historic preservation. In order to fulfill these mandates in a manner appropriate to the special conditions with which we are faced here in American Samoa, a comprehensive historic preservation plan has been designed to address individual problem areas within the Program and to set specific objectives toward the goal of alleviating those problems. Input from the American Samoa Historical Commission and from the public garnered from annual public meetings have been incorporated into the plan. A realistic time frame for meeting those objectives inside a five-year planning cycle is provided with the plan. The plan is available to the public upon request. The Director and his staff welcome your contributions to the upkeep of Samoa's historic buildings and cultural sites.
Geography of American Samoa
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States in the central Pacific Ocean. These islands in the Pacific are divided into groups. The eastern Samoan island of Tutuila, Aunuu and Rose, along with three islands Tau, Olosega, and Ofu of the Manua group and Swains Islands make up the total American Samoan territory. Their total area is approximately seventy seven square miles.
The American Samoa capital is Pago Pago, (pronounced Pahn-go, Pahn-go) which is on the Island of Tutuila. The population is estimated at nearly 600,000 people for the American Samoa territories.
Tutuila accounts for more than two-thirds of the total area and is the largest island of American Samoa. It’s located in the westernmost region of the island group and is less than one hundred miles from the Western Samoan island of Upolu. The Naua island group which is about sixty miles east of the Capital city is the second largest area; Tau is the largest of the three islands in this group. The remaining islands are quite small. Aunuu is located off the southeastern tip of Tutila and Rose Island is a privately owned coral atoll some two hundred and eighty miles northwest of Tutila.
Except for the atolls of Swains and Rose, the islands are rocky. They were formed from the remains of extinct volcanoes. Central mountain ranges are prominent over the landscapes of Tutuila and the islands of Manua. The highest peak of Tutuila is Mount Matafao at two thousand, one hundred and forty one feet high, but the most popular and well known Mount is Mount Pioa which is only one thousand, eight hundred and forty seven feet. This Mount is known as the “rainmaker” because of its frequent cloud cover. Tau is a cone-shaped island rising to more than three thousand feet at Lata Mountain, the highest peak in the territory. Low-lying Swains Island rises to only twenty feet above sea level.
The islands are characteristically surrounded by coral reefs, which in some cases form barriers that create lagoons. The mountain ranges and the coral reefs tend to limit the width of the coastal plains in most areas. Most of the island’s streams do not reach the ocean, instead they seep through the porous basalt rocks that form the islands.
The tropical climate is moderated by ocean trade winds and frequent rains. Pago Pago receives more than one hundred and twenty inches f rain each year, the majority of which falls between November and March. Temperatures are constant throughout the year as daily lows average about sixty eight Fahrenheit and afternoon high at about ninety degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity is almost always high.
About seventy percent of the land area is forest with tall ferns and trees such as the Barringtonia asiatica, the breadfruit tree. The pandanus and coconut trees are also in the American Samoa forests. More than thirty species of birds have been observed, including parrots, doves, wild duck and the tooth-billed pigeon, which is only found in American Samoa.
Because about seventy percent of American Samoa is bush, growing on the slopes of volcanic mountains, these animals are well protected. The coral reefs that surround much of the islands have a delightful and inviting South Seas climate.
There is a National Park of American Samoa that lies in the territory. The park was established primarily to protect the area’s tropical rain forest on the islands of Tutuila and Tau. The rain forest, as stated earlier is home to many kinds of plants and animals including two species of large bats called the flying foxes. A white sand beach and coral reef on the island of Ofu are also part of the national Park in American Samoa. In certain areas of the park, the people continue to practice traditional methods of farming and reef fishing. Established in 1988, the National Park of America Samoa is over nine thousand acres and would be a tourist attraction with hiking, scuba diving and snorkeling once the transportation accommodates these types of travelers.
Those who live in the Pacific Islands of American Samoa enjoy the constant temperatures and spend much time in the outdoors hunting, fishing and basket weaving. The water is clear and warm, making it a home to many species of fish and marine life not seen in the United States coastal waters. While the traditional Samoans way of life is exercised by many, the modernization and influence of the Western cultures continue to permeate the islands. Many high school students leave to train in the Hawiian Isalnds or in the United States. This disappoints many on the islands because the elders feel their way of life is coming to extinction.
The strong hurricanes that come to the islands between January and March have caused much devastation over the years. The Pacific Islanders are prepared for these gales and have spent much of their time rebuilding what could not be saved. While a beautiful place to visit, the Pacific Islands have their share of inclement weather.
Except for the coral atolls, the islands of American Samoa were formed within the past seven million years by volcanic activity; their interiors are high and rugged. The main island of Tutuila, with an area of 52 square miles (135 square km), rises steeply above deep inlets. The most notable of these inlets is Pago Pago Harbor, which divides the island nearly in two. Tutuila’s highest point is Matafao Peak (2,142 feet [653 metres]). The Manua island group (Tau, Olosega, and Ofu islands), situated about 60 miles (100 km) east of Tutuila, constitutes the second largest island area. Coral reefs are common at the extremities of the islands, particularly Tutuila; some of the reefs form barriers that enclose lagoons.
American Samoa’s climate is tropical, and precipitation is ample. Pago Pago receives about 200 inches (5,000 mm) annually. Most streams carry greater volumes of water in the highlands than near the sea and do not reach the ocean; rather, they filter into the porous basalt rocks. Hence, coastal wells provide much of the water supply. Temperatures are unusually constant; average temperatures range from the high 60s to the low 90s F (about 21 to 32 °C). Average humidity is 80 percent. The moderate southeast trade winds prevail, but severe storms can occur during the wet season, from November to March.
- Plant and animal life
Rainforests with tall ferns and trees cover the mountainous interiors of the islands. Plantations of taro, coconut, and other food crops are located on the coasts. Although the islands are not rich in animal life, some of their bird species—such as the rare tooth-billed pigeon—are unique. Wildlife includes flying foxes (a type of bat), lizards, rats, snakes, and pigs. The islands also have myriad and ubiquitous flying and crawling insects.
Demography of American Samoa
The great majority of the population (nearly nine-tenths) is ethnically Samoan; there are tiny minorities of Tongan, Asian, and European origin. The Samoans are a Polynesian people closely related to the native peoples of New Zealand, French Polynesia, Hawaii, and Tonga. The Samoan way of life, or fa‘a Samoa, is communal. The basic unit of social organization is the extended family (aiga). Even after decades of foreign influence, most Samoans are fluent in the Samoan language. Most American Samoans nonetheless also speak English. Some three-fifths of the population belongs to one of several Protestant denominations, among which the Congregational Christian Church has the largest following. Another one-fifth of the population is Roman Catholic, and slightly more than one-tenth is Mormon.
Most people live in coastal villages. Pago Pago, the only real urban area, is the main port and administrative and commercial centre. There is a large proportion of foreign-born residents in American Samoa; more than two-fifths of the people were born outside the territory, largely in Samoa, with smaller proportions from the United States, Tonga, various Asian countries, and other Pacific islands. Additionally, since the mid-20th century many American Samoans have migrated to the United States, with the result that there are more American Samoans abroad than on the islands. The rate of population growth has increased rapidly since the late 20th century, however, mainly because of high birth rates and low death rates.
Economy of American Samoa
The economy is based on services and manufacturing. The government is the main employer. A large part of the national income comes in the form of grants from the U.S. federal government. Tuna canning (by American-owned canneries) and tourism are major industries. Agriculture is organized on a semicommercial basis for the production of taro, bananas, tropical fruits, and vegetables. Traditional family gardens produce coconuts, breadfruit, and yams. Production nearly meets domestic needs, and the U.S. government has implemented programs to increase production to self-sufficiency levels. The United States is the main source of imports (which include fish destined for the canneries, consumer goods, food, and mineral fuels), although Australia and New Zealand also export goods to American Samoa. The United States is also the primary destination for exports, which consist mostly of canned tuna, along with a small amount of pet food.
A major public works program on American Samoa from the 1970s to the ’90s increased the number of miles of paved roads, mostly on the island of Tutuila. Pago Pago is the only major port. An international airport is located on Tutuila, and smaller airstrips operate on other islands
Government and Society of American Samoa
- Constitutional framework
Because American Samoa is an unincorporated, unorganized territory of the United States, not all provisions of the U.S. Constitution apply. Moreover, the United States has not provided an organic (charter) act setting forth a system of government. Instead, the U.S. secretary of the interior, who has had jurisdiction over the territory since 1951, gave American Samoa the authority to draft its own constitution (1967). The people are U.S. nationals (with the right to enter and reside in the United States) but not citizens. The territory’s chief executive, according to the constitution of 1967, is the governor. In 1976 American Samoans approved a referendum that provided for the popular election of the governor and lieutenant governor for four-year terms; prior to that time, the governor was appointed by the U.S. government. The minimum voting age is 18.
American Samoa has a bicameral legislature, called the Fono, which meets for two sessions each year. It is autonomous in its disposition of local revenues and is the sole lawmaking body, although the governor has the power to veto legislation. The members of American Samoa’s House of Representatives (lower house) are elected by universal suffrage to two-year terms; one member is a nonvoting delegate elected from Swains Island. Members of the Senate (upper house) are chosen by councils of chiefs, in accordance with Samoan custom, to serve four-year terms. In 1981 the first official nonvoting delegate from American Samoa to the U.S. House of Representatives was elected. The United States is responsible for defense.
- Local government
Apart from Swains Island, the islands are divided into several administrative districts (each with an appointed district governor), which are subdivided into counties. The influence of the extended families (aiga) reaches to the district level. The aiga are headed by chiefs (matai), who are selected by their extended families on the basis of consensus. Most chiefs’ titles are very old. The matai together make up village and district councils (fono), which control and run local affairs. This autonomous village control is linked with the central government through the district governors, who are appointed by the governor.
The highest legal authority is the High Court, which is headed by a chief justice and associate justices, all appointed by the U.S. secretary of the interior. The High Court has appellate, trial, and land and titles divisions. Each village has a village court with authority to adjudicate matters pertaining to village rules and local customs. District courts hear preliminary felony proceedings, certain cases arising from the village courts, and civil and small claims.
- Health and welfare
Health conditions are generally good. The leading causes of death include heart diseases, cancers, and diseases of the respiratory system. Life expectancy is in the low 70s for men and low 80s for women, somewhat higher than the averages for the region.
Education is compulsory between ages 6 and 18 and is provided by public elementary and secondary schools as well as a small number of private schools. The Office of Public Information provides educational television programming to supplement the curriculum of local schools. American Samoa Community College, on Tutuila, offers programs in liberal arts and sciences, vocational and technical training, and nursing school. University education is available from universities in Hawaii or on the U.S. mainland.
Culture Life of American Samoa
The people of American Samoa are heavily influenced by U.S. culture—including television programs, music, and foods—although the traditional fa‘a Samoa is preserved. Songs and dances in particular show the islanders’ Polynesian heritage. The National Park of American Samoa, which includes parts of Tutuila, Tau, and Ofu islands, encompasses rugged shorelines, reefs, and rainforests. Further information on the culture of the Samoan people may be found in the article Polynesian culture.
The Polynesian inhabitants of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific are called Samoans. These people are recognized as the best representatives of the remarkable and interesting Polynesian race, and their traditions hold that these islands were the center from which the race spread to other Pacific Islands. The Samoans have long best famous as sailors and boat builders, and they have many legends and tales of great beauty and interest. They are a folk of splendid physical build, showing marked likenesses to the Caucasians. Practically all are now Christians, and they have shown keen appreciation of the education offered by the mission schools.The Samoan people have up to twenty dwellers in their homes at the same time; all family, these people do not concern themselves with privacy. Everything is done together and as many ancient cultures do, the elders are the most respected and highly regarded members of the family. These of the elder generation are responsible for making family decisions and teaching the children about their culture, their values and traditions. Children learn about their culture on their own initiative without explanations from the elders. They in essence “watch and learn” from others in the family. At first, children perform tasks with supervision, perhaps working alongside an older brother or sister. Children are highly motivated in this race to observe the behavior being modeled and they spontaneously imitate the action, receiving corrective feedback if they do something wrong. They are never given an explanation of the nature of the wrong they did, but are expected to figure it out on their own. This may explain why there is little need for a legal system in this culture. The American Samoans must acquire knowledge of their culture by observation, imitation and incremental participation. The rules or perceptual concepts shape their skills and experiences.
In keeping with the relationship between elders and children, these cultures are organized in the minds of the people as simplified models of what the world is like, how one ought to act and feel and think. This knowledge, developed from prior experience and observation for example, would lend itself to the obvious initiation of helping an elder who is passing by with a heavy basket on a hot day. The Samoan children are raised to know that if this takes place, they should offer to carry the heavy basket, bring the elder into the shade and serve them a cool drink.
While the parents work making their wares and farming the ground throughout the week, Sundays are still today considered a day of rest. With a largely Christian population, the churches are many on the islands of Samoa and are usually very well attended. Afterwards, the American Samoans will sit and eat as a family with the elders being the first to partake of the meal. After the oldest members of the family eat, the children are then allowed to eat. The food served during the meal is consistent with island fare, coconut being used in many dishes, fruits and crayfish along with seaweed and breadfruit leaves are the most common foods eaten in this culture.
The American Samoa parents who work all week are busy making siapo, which is beaten mulberry bark with pictures painted on them. Using a natural brown dye, pictures of fish and flowers are painted on with skill and precision learned by watching the elders. Others use siapo to make clothing as well as decorations for homes. Mats, ornaments and jewelry are made in addition to hair accessories made of natural island materials like seashells and coconuts. Many parents work in modern type occupations in addition to the traditional ones. Tuna production in the American Samoa culture is very large. With about 5,000 workers, the American company StarKist exports several hundred million dollars of StarKist canned tuna to the United States.
Not everyday is filled with just work and learning, there are recreational things that the American Samoa enjoys participating in. Rugby Union and Samoan Cricket are two of the most popular sports played in the Polynesian Islands. These people have not limited themselves to competition within their own race. The Rugby World Cup has seen Samoans in the quarter finals for years as well as the Pacific Nations Cup and the Pacific Tri-Nations. There are clubs and teams that form leagues and have done very well in other major competitive gatherings such as the Rugby League World Cup and the Australian Football International Cup. There are also about thirty of the American National Football League players who are ethnic Samoans. Wrestling is also a popular recreational activity and some have seen success in the competitive wrestling arena in America.
The cultural influences are largely European with Scottish and Irish as well as some southern influence from Asian cultures. The Chinese New Year (this year, the year of the Pig) and Diwali are celebrated by the American Samoans and large festivals (Pasifika) are held in honor of these holidays. Music and film are also prevalent in the American Samoan culture. The most famous for its international success is Jane Campion’s Academy Award winning film The Piano. The Lord of the Ring’s trilogy was filmed in New Zealand, also part of the Polynesian Islands and another famous actress, Lucy Lawless who played Zena in the once popular warrior show also comes from these islands.
With so much of the responsibility for protecting and defending the American Samoans, it is amazing that more is not known about these people by American citizens. A fascinating group of individuals, the society of the American Samoan could benefit us greatly overseas if more of their values were reflected in our own society.
--- Cultural History of American Samoa
The Samoan people are Polynesians whose ancestors settled the archipelago about 3,000 years ago. The people who brought the Lapita Cultural Complex to the Samoan archipelago were seafarers who had occupied islands at least as far west as the Admiralties off the north shore of New Guinea. Archaeological sites dating from the early period of occupation are primarily habitation sites and are expected to be mostly coastal (e.g., Kirch & Hunt eds. 1993; Clark & Michlovic 1996). Material remains in these sites can include some or all of the following: pottery (the classic Lapita pottery is decorated with motifs impressed into the clay with dentate stamps), basalt flakes and tools, volcanic glass, shell fishhooks and tools for their manufacture, shell ornaments, and faunal remains. The colonizers of these islands brought domesticated pigs, dogs and chickens with them, and probably also the Polynesian rat (Rattus exulans). Domesticated plants were transported for cultivation. This period is represented in American Samoa by deeply stratified archaeological sites such as To'aga on Ofu (Kirch & Hunt eds. 1993) and 'Aoa on Tutuila (Clark & Michlovic 1996). While early sites on some other islands in Polynesia are now beneath water (e.g., the Mulifanua Lapita Pottery site on 'Upolu [Green & Davidson 1967]), the evidence to date indicates that early sites in American Samoa will be found on the shores of prehistoric embankments that have subsequently filled in with sand. No sites from this period are listed on the National Register, although the two mentioned above both meet National Register Criteria A and D. Archaeological sites representing the early occupation of Samoa will be targeted for future National Register nominations. It has been conventionally accepted that pottery manufacture ceased in Samoa sometime shortly after A.D. 300 (see Clark & Michlovic 1996 for a summary of the conventional view; A.D. 800 is proposed in Kirch & Hunt eds. 1993). However, recent research by Clark in 'Aoa valley has revealed pottery in stratigraphic contexts dating as late as the 16th century (Clark & Michlovic 1996). This might explain why there was an apparent "dark ages" in Samoan prehistory - pottery bearing sites were all assumed to date to the earliest period of Samoan prehistory and hence charcoal was often not collected from upper pottery bearing deposits for dating. Therefore the period between about A.D. 300 and 1000 requires further definition in the study of Samoan prehistory before typical site types can be discussed. One site type that was probably utilized during this period are the stone quarries. To date 4 large and about 6 smaller quarries have been identified on Tutuila Island. One of the large quarries, Tatagamatau, is listed on the National Register and two others are being nominated. Basalt from Tutuila has been found in Taumako, Tokelau, Fiji, Western Samoa, the Manu'a Islands (Best et.al. 1992) and the Cook Islands (Walter 1990; Kirch & Weisler pers. comm. 1994). The quarries continued to be utilized into the early historic period, when iron tools introduced by Europeans began to replace the locally made stone tools. One of the significant stone tool type manufactured from basalt extracted from these quarries were adzes. Large quantities of basalt debris have been found in various village sites (e.g., Maloata [Ayers & Eisler 1987] and Tulauta [Frost 1978; Clark 1980; Brophy 1986]). Polishing the adzes was a final step in their production; large basalt boulders were used for this finishing. Boulders used for this activity generally have smooth dish-shaped concave areas on them and sometimes grooves in which the adz bits were sharpened. These boulders are found in archaeological sites (such as Maloata and Tulauta), in streams, and elsewhere on the island landscape. Grinding stones have been found in the Manu'a islands. No quarries have been identified in Manu'a, though researchers have looked. Most of the prehistoric surface remains in American Samoa date to the later period of Samoan prehistory. During this period, warfare over titled positions on the islands of Western Samoa influenced events on Tutuila. Tutuila was at times under the jurisdiction of the eastern districts of 'Upolu, and Tutuilans may have been required by chiefs on 'Upolu to fight in their wars. Warfare was also prevalent among the Manu'a islands. Oral traditions in the Manu'a islands refer to leaders of islands to the west (Fiji, Western Samoa, etc.) visiting Manu'a on sometimes hostile missions. Defensive fortification sites, often located high on ridges and mountains, are characteristic of this period. These fortifications were used as refuges to which those individuals not directly involved moved and where the warriors retreated when necessary (Williams 1984). A large defensive wall on the Tafuna Plain, Tutuila Island, is listed on the National Register, and there are plans to nomiinate a fortification site on Ofu Island. When not at war in later prehistory Samoans lived in villages; in American Samoa these were mostly in coastal areas. Many of these villages are still occupied today. In some cases the remains are still visible on the surface while in other places the evidence of prehistoric use is all below the ground surface. The late prehistoric sites at Maloata (Ayers & Eisler 1987) and Fagatele Bay (Frost 1978), both on Tutuila, and Faga on Ta'u, are village sites from this time period that are being nominated to the National Register. The ideal layout of a Samoan village was a central open space, called a malae, surrounded by meeting houses, chiefs' houses, other residences and cooking houses. Quarries continued to be used during this time period. The final prominent site type from late prehistory are tia seu lupe, called star mounds in English. These mounds were usually constructed of stone, had one or more rays, and were used for the sport of pigeon catching by chiefs. No star mounds have been nominated to the National Register to date, though they are eligible. The first recorded European contact occurred in 1722, when Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen sighted several of the islands. He was followed by French explorers Louis-Antoine de Bougainville in 1768 and Jean-FranÁois de La PÈrouse in 1787. A monument in Aasu, Massacre Bay, to the 12 members of La PÈrouse's crew who were killed there, is on the National Register. The first European Christian missionary, Englishman John Williams of the London Missionary Society, arrived in 1830. He and his followers had a profound impact on the Samoans and their culture. The National Register sites Atauloma Girl's School and Fagalele Boy's School at the western end of Tutuila were built by the LMS for the education of Samoan children in Christian life. Other Pacific Islanders came to Samoa as missionaries during this period (e.g., Society and Cook Islanders working with the London Missionary Society, Tongans working with the Methodists). European traders and military personnel also affected Samoans. Historic properties in American Samoa that are associated with Euro-Americans, both military (discussed below) and otherwise, are usually distinctive in their use of some sort of concrete materials. Historic properties from the last two centuries that are associated primarily with Samoans tend to be very much like prehistoric Samoan remains. Fortifications, ceased to be used once the European powers eliminated local warfare. Quarries were abandoned with the introduction of metal tools, and star mounds ceased to be used due to the influence of the missionaries; however, villages retained their basic structure. When the Samoan Islands were partitioned according to the provisions of the Tripartite Convention in 1899, the United States acquired the eastern islands, while Germany took control of 'Upolu, Savai'i, Manono and Apolima, whose total area is 1,120 square miles. These islands now comprise the Independent State of Western Samoa, which New Zealand forces wrested from the Germans in 1914, maintaining control of them until 1962. Under U.S. Navy control from 1900 to 1951, American Samoa was initially a coaling station for the fleet in the Age of Steam. During World War II, the "U.S. Naval Station Tutuila", now a Historic District listed on the National Register, was the headquarters of the Samoan Defense Group, which included several adjacent island groups, and was the largest of the Pacific defense groups. As the war moved north and west, American Samoa became a strategic backwater. Historic properties from World War II are found throughout the islands in the form of military facilities such as medical facilities, the Tafuna Air Base, the Marine Training facility in Leone, and pillboxes that dot the coastlines. In the postwar era, American Samoa's military importance continued to decline, and in 1951, the Territory was transferred to the Department of the Interior, under whose control it remains. In 1954 the Van Camp Seafood Co. of California opened a cannery on the eastern shore of Pago Bay, followed some years later by Starkist Inc. The canneries make significant contributions to the economy of American Samoa and employment opportunities draw people from Western Samoa. The fishing industry has also involved other minority groups, such as Japanese and Korean fishermen. From 1951 until 1977, Territorial Governors were appointed by the Secretary of the Interior; since 1977, they have been elected by universal suffrage
History of American Samoa
The Samoan islands were settled by Polynesians (probably from Tonga) about 1000 bce. Many scholars believe that by about 500 ce Samoa had become the point of origin for voyagers who settled much of eastern Polynesia.
The Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen sighted Samoa in 1722, and other European explorers, beachcombers, and traders followed. The London Missionary Society sent its first representatives to the islands in the 1830s. More missionaries traveled to the islands as missionary influence spread to Tutuila and later the Manua Islands.
In 1878 the United States signed a treaty for the establishment of a naval station in Pago Pago Harbor. An 1899 agreement between colonial powers divided Samoa into spheres of influence: Germany gained control of the western islands, and the United States took the eastern islands. Formal cession by the local chiefs came later. By 1904 the eastern islands had all been ceded to the United States, although the U.S. Congress did not formally accept the deeds of cession until Feb. 20, 1929. Under the administration of the U.S. Navy (1900–51), American Samoa became a strategic naval base, but the Samoan leaders had little administrative power. In 1951 control of the territory was transferred to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The U.S. government appointed a governor who had full powers to administer the territory. The governor appointed political advisers and senior civil servants from the United States to help him.
The Samoans agitated for control of their country’s affairs, and in 1977 Peter Coleman, a Samoan, became the territory’s first elected governor. Since then all members of the territory’s Fono have been elected by the citizens. In 1981 American Samoans for the first time elected a nonvoting delegate to serve a two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega was elected to that office in 1988 and repeatedly won reelection.
On Sept. 29, 2009, the Samoan archipelago was shaken by an undersea earthquake of magnitude 8.3, centred some 120 miles (190 km) to the south in the Pacific Ocean. The quake generated a tsunami that flooded the islands of American Samoa in several waves and caused extensive damage to Tutuila; Pago Pago was inundated, and villages throughout the islands were flattened, killing scores of people.
Talofa, Afio Mai, Welcome to Our Home
American Samoa's islands are located in the heart of the Polynesian, with Hawaii, Rapanui (Easter Island) and New Zealand making up the three points of the Polynesian triangle. The Samoan Islands (American Samoa and Independent Samoa) were first discovered by European explorers in the 18th Century but its islands have been inhabited for over 3000 years...>>>read on<<<
Mixed flows of urban asylum-seekers and migrants from South-West Asia, the Middle East and Africa continue to be the main protection feature in the subregion. The central challenge for UNHCR is to assist States in shaping responses that balance concerns for border and migration control with the protection of asylum-seekers' rights.---><<<<Read More>>>>
National Park of American Samoa
- Amalu Bay, Tutuila island, American Samoa
American Samoa, with five inhabited volcanic islands clothed in tropical rainforest, is ringed with rugged cliffs, glistening beaches, and biologically rich coral reefs. The tropical rainforests and coral reefs are home to unique animals including fruit bats, sea turtles, and an array of birds and fish.
The Samoan culture is considered the oldest in all of Polynesia. The first people to the Samoan islands came by sea from southeast Asia some 3,000 years ago. Over the centuries, distinct cultural traits emerged collectively called fa'asamoa, the Samoan way.
The park is located on three separate islands--Tutuila, Ofu and Tau--and total 13,500 acres (4,000 is ocean and coral reefs). The national park leases the land from seven villages and creates a unique partnership of preservation and protection.
- Afono located on the edge of Afono Bay, Tutuila island, American Samoa
- Sheer, forested cliffs on the southern side of Taʻū Island, American Samoa
- Beach at Ofu, American Samoa. Original Description: Photo of beach at Ofu.
It is now a known fact that corals are threatened by global warming. Some scientists are even predicting the end of coral life by 2050. Meanwhile, there is still a mystery to solve : how some corals in American Samoa have resisted centuries of climate change to become giants and how others are thriving in waters so warm that it is considered deadly ?>>>read on<<<
Rose Atoll atoll, American Samoa most easterly coral atoll of the Samoan archipelago, part of American Samoa, southwestern Pacific Ocean. It has a total land area of 0.1 square mile (0.3 square km ...>>>Read On<<<
American Samoa Tourism
In American Samoa, fishing and tourism are major industries. The territory’s gross national product is growing about as rapidly as the population as the GNP per capita is one of the highests among the Pacific Isalnds. Fish are caught for processing and canning in American-owned factories and canned tuna accounts for almost all of American Samoa’s export income. The export fotuna is the principal reason that the islands have maintained a blance of trade surplus for so many years. Most of the paved and unpaved roads are located on Tutuila. An interntionap airpot is located on Tutuila and smaller airports operate from Tau and Ofu islands. Pagp Paago is the major port.The territory’s most popular sport is the local version of cricket, known as kirikiti. Village teams from throughout the islands vy for the annual territorial championsih. Rugby is also a favorite sport and enjoyed by tourists as a sporting event to watch. With a team representing the territory in international tournaments, the United States football sport was introduced in the high school in the 1970′s and inter-school games draw large crowds. Baseball, softball, volleyball, basketball, golf and tennis are other common sporting events for tourists to enjoy. On the weekends, tourists can find barbeques on the beach and swimming in the shallow lagoons, scuba diving and snorkeling along with land activities like hiking.
A guide is present for most tourists to follow and elarn all they can about the Pacific Isalnds, their people and their traditionas. The tourism trips one can take make sure that during your stay, you enjoy watching the basket weavers make their baskets, the reef fisherman get their daily catch and other traditional forms of American Samoa life is observed.
Traditional arts include siapo, wood carvings on bowls, staff, and fly witch handles, and tatos. The art of creating siapo has recently enjoyed a renaissance and can be observed just by walking through the villages. Wood carving has been preserved through programs for senior citizens and tattooing, at one time banned under the United States Navy administration, has also enjoyed a popular comeback. May men now receive the traiditional pe’a, an intricately designed tattoo covering the torso from mid-bak to the knees. A revival has also occurred in women’s tattoos, called malu, which voer the top of the t hights to the knees. Tourists can watch these tattoos being placed through windows and in open markets.
Singing and dancing are also a big part of celebrations that take part throughout the year. Many tourists have seeen the sasa, which is group dancing involving slapping, clappin and stylized hand, arm and leg movements, much like the Hawiian dancing style. The taualuga, which is performed only on special occasions and only by women require either specific athletic or graceful hand and body movements.
Don’t be afraid to visit the Pacific Isalnds during an American Holiday, because all United States public Christian holidays, such as Christmas and Easter are observed in the territory. Whitesunday, which is the second Sunday in October, honors children and involves really long church services, children’s plays and a lot of eating. Also held in Octover is the Moso’oi festival, names after the flower moso’oi which is a plant. The week-long festivities make it an ideal time to visit the island. These include sports competitions like long-boat racing, kirikiti and rugby as well as cultural demonstrations, and displays of ulumoeaga, siapo and other arts. Villages put on plays and provide singing and dancing performances for visitors. Flag day, which in American Samoa is in April (on the 17th) commemorates the first raising of the United States flag on the islands in 1900. The months of October and November are marked by the swarm of the Palolo, which is a coral worm that appears on the reef during the final phases of the moon’s monthly cycle. People gather on reefs with lanterns, canoes and nets to capture the delicacy. This provides a wonderful feast for tourists and some are allowed to participate in the hunt.
There are Museums in historic villages and Marine Sanctuary tours that are exotic tourism attractions. The ethnobotonical plants and the history of the Samoan medicines used to heal family members before the intervention of Western medical practices can also be explored with a guided tour on the islands. Viewing the canneries and tuna plants, the Tisa’s Alega Waterfall and the hiking treks around the American Samoa National Park round off the many tourists’ activities that await you on the Pacific Isalnds. Don’t forget the peaceful and quiet sandy beaches along the coast. Whatever you’re looking for, the Pacific Island of American Samoa has it.
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Other sources of information will be mentioned as they are posted.