Samoa


Samoa
/seuh moh"euh/, n.
a group of islands in the S Pacific, the islands W of 170° W longitude constituting an independent state and the rest belonging to the U.S. Formerly, Navigators Islands. Cf. American Samoa, Western Samoa.

* * *

Samoa

Introduction Samoa
Background: New Zealand occupied the German protectorate of Western Samoa at the outbreak of World War I in 1914. It continued to administer the islands as a mandate and then as a trust territory until 1962, when the islands became the first Polynesian nation to reestablish independence in the 20th century. The country dropped the "Western" from its name in 1997. Geography Samoa -
Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
Geographic coordinates: 13 35 S, 172 20 W
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 2,944 sq km water: 10 sq km land: 2,934 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Rhode Island
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 403 km
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate: tropical; rainy season (October to March), dry season (May to October)
Terrain: narrow coastal plain with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in interior
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point: Mauga Silisili 1,857 m
Natural resources: hardwood forests, fish, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 19.43% permanent crops: 23.67% other: 56.89% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: NA sq km
Natural hazards: occasional typhoons; active volcanism Environment - current issues: soil erosion Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: occupies an almost central position within Polynesia People Samoa
Population: 178,631 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 30.6% (male 27,774; female 26,854) 15-64 years: 63.5% (male 71,358; female 42,150) 65 years and over: 5.9% (male 4,859; female 5,636) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.25% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 15.53 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 6.35 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: -11.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.69 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/ female total population: 1.39 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 30.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 69.8 years female: 72.69 years (2002 est.) male: 67.06 years
Total fertility rate: 3.3 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA% HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Samoan(s) adjective: Samoan
Ethnic groups: Samoan 92.6%, Euronesians 7% (persons of European and Polynesian blood), Europeans 0.4%
Religions: Christian 99.7% (about one-half of population associated with the London Missionary Society; includes Congregational, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Latter-Day Saints, Seventh-Day Adventist)
Languages: Samoan (Polynesian), English
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 80% male: 81% female: 79% (1999) Government Samoa
Country name: conventional long form: Independent State of Samoa conventional short form: Samoa former: Western Samoa
Government type: constitutional monarchy under native chief
Capital: Apia Administrative divisions: 11 districts; A'ana, Aiga-i-le-Tai, Atua, Fa'asaleleaga, Gaga'emauga, Gagaifomauga, Palauli, Satupa'itea, Tuamasaga, Va'a-o-Fonoti, Vaisigano
Independence: 1 January 1962 (from New Zealand- administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday: Independence Day Celebration, 1 June (1962); note - 1 January 1962 is the date of independence from the New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship, 1 June 1962 is the date that independence is celebrated
Constitution: 1 January 1962
Legal system: based on English common law and local customs; judicial review of legislative acts with respect to fundamental rights of the citizen; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Chief Tanumafili II MALIETOA (cochief of state from 1 January 1962 until becoming sole chief of state 5 April 1963) head of government: Prime Minister Sailele Malielegaoi TUILA'EPA (since 24 November 1998); note - TUILA'EPA served as deputy prime minister from 1992 until he assumed the prime ministership in November 1998, when former Prime Minister TOFILAU Eti Alesana resigned in poor health; the post of deputy prime minister is currently vacant cabinet: Cabinet consists of 12 members, appointed by the chief of state with the prime minister's advice elections: upon the death of Chief Tanumafili II MALIETOA, a new chief of state will be elected by the Legislative Assembly to serve a five-year term; prime minister appointed by the chief of state with the approval of the Legislative Assembly
Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fono (49 seats - 47 elected by Samoans, 2 elected by non-Samoans; only chiefs or matai may stand for election to the Fono; members serve five-year terms) elections: byelection last held NA November 2001 (next byelection to be held 29 March 2002) election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - HRPP 30, SNDP 13, independents 6
Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Court of Appeal Political parties and leaders: Christian Democratic Party [leader NA]; Human Rights Protection Party or HRPP [Sailele Malielegaoi TUILA'EPA, chairman]; Samoa All People's Party or SAPP [Matatumua NAIMOAGA]; Samoan National Development Party or SNDP [LE MAMEA Ropati, chairman] (opposition); Samoa National Party [FETU Tiatia, party secretary]; Samoan Progressive Conservative Party [LEOTA Ituau Ale]; Samoan United Independent Party or SUIP [leader NA] Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization ACP, AsDB, C, ESCAP, FAO, G-77,
participation: IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, OPCW (signatory), Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (observer) Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Tuiloma Neroni SLADE FAX: [1] (212) 599-0797 telephone: [1] (212) 599-6196, 6197 chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400D, New York, NY 10017 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: the Ambassador to
US: New Zealand is accredited to Samoa embassy: 5th floor, Beach Road, Apia mailing address: P. O. Box 3430, Apia telephone: [685] 21631 FAX: [685] 22030
Flag description: red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side quadrant bearing five white five-pointed stars representing the Southern Cross constellation Economy Samoa -
Economy - overview: The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, 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. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. The decline of fish stocks in the area is a continuing problem. Tourism is an expanding sector, accounting for 16% of GDP; about 85,000 tourists visited the islands in 2000. 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. Foreign reserves are in a relatively healthy state, the external debt is stable, and inflation is low.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $618 million (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 6% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $3,500 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 16% industry: 18% services: 66% (2000 est.) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 90,000 (2000 est.) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 65%, services 30%, industry 5% (1995 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA%; note - substantial underemployment
Budget: revenues: $105 million expenditures: $119 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001/2002)
Industries: food processing, building materials, auto parts Industrial production growth rate: 2.8% (2000) Electricity - production: 103 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 59.22% hydro: 40.78% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 95.79 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: coconuts, bananas, taro, yams
Exports: $17 million (f.o.b., 2000)
Exports - commodities: fish, coconut oil and cream, copra, taro, garments, beer
Exports - partners: Australia 62%, Indonesia 13%, US 11%, American Samoa 3%, New Zealand 3% (2000)
Imports: $90 million (f.o.b., 2000)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, industrial supplies, foodstuffs
Imports - partners: Australia 27%, US 26%, New Zealand 14%, Fiji 12%, Japan 9% (2000)
Debt - external: $192 million (1999) Economic aid - recipient: $42.9 million (1995)
Currency: tala (WST)
Currency code: WST
Exchange rates: tala per US dollar - 3.5236 (January 2002), 3.4722 (2001), 3.2712 (2000), 3.0120 (1999), 2.9429 (1998), 2.5562 (1997)
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Samoa Telephones - main lines in use: 8,183 (1998) Telephones - mobile cellular: 1,545 (February 1998)
Telephone system: general assessment: adequate domestic: NA international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: 174,849 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 6 (1997)
Televisions: 8,634 (1999)
Internet country code: .ws Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 2 (2000)
Internet users: 500 (2000) Transportation Samoa
Railways: 0 km
Highways: total: 836 km paved: 267 km unpaved: 569 km (1983)
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: Apia, Asau, Mulifanua, Salelologa
Merchant marine: total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 7,091 GRT/ 8,127 DWT ships by type: cargo 1 note: includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Germany 1 (2002 est.)
Airports: 3 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 2 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 1 under 914 m: 1 (2001) Military Samoa
Military branches: no regular armed services; Samoa Police Force Military expenditures - dollar $NA
figure: Military expenditures - percent of NA%
GDP:
Military - note: Samoa has no formal defense structure or regular armed forces; informal defense ties exist with NZ, which is required to consider any Samoan request for assistance under the 1962 Treaty of Friendship Transnational Issues Samoa Disputes - international: none

* * *

I
officially Independent State of Samoa formerly Western Samoa

Country in the central South Pacific Ocean, among the westernmost of the island nations of Polynesia.

Area: 1,093 sq mi (2,831 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 179,000. Capital: Apia (on Upolu Island). The people are mainly Polynesian, closely akin to Tongans and to New Zealand's Maori. Languages: Samoan and English (both official). Religion: Christianity. Currency: tala. Samoa is part of the Samoan archipelago and consists of two major islands, Upolu and Savai'i, both of which are volcanic. There are also seven small islands, two of which, Apolima and Manono, are inhabited. Samoa has a developing economy based mainly on agriculture, with some light manufacturing, fishing, lumbering, and tourism. It is a constitutional monarchy with one legislative house; the paramount chief is the head of state, and the head of government is the prime minister. Polynesians inhabited the islands for thousands of years before they were visited by Europeans in the 18th century. The islands were contested by the U.S., Britain, and Germany until 1899, when they were divided between the U.S. and Germany. In 1914 Western Samoa was occupied by New Zealand, which received it as a League of Nations mandate in 1920. After World War II it became a UN trust territory administered by New Zealand. It achieved independence in 1962. In 1997 the word Western was dropped from the country's name.
II
(as used in expressions)
Independent State of Samoa
Territory of American Samoa

* * *

▪ 2009

Area:
2,831 sq km (1,093 sq mi)
Population
(2008 est.): 180,000
Capital:
Apia
Chief of state:
O le Ao o le Malo (Head of State) Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi
Head of government:
Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi

      Samoa's economic growth slowed to 3% in 2008 as the country confronted higher fuel and food prices. Food security again became a national issue, with politicians urging Samoans to increase production of traditional staples to counter growing dependence on imported foodstuffs. Banks were encouraged to lend to the primary sector to increase local food production.

      Samoa's Human Rights Protection Party government, secure with an ever-larger majority in the Legislative Assembly and a disorganized opposition, passed legislation to change the side of the road on which vehicles drive, beginning in September 2009. Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi argued that the change to driving on the left side of the road would bring Samoa's traffic laws into alignment with those in Australia and New Zealand and would allow expatriate Samoans to purchase cheaper right-hand drive vehicles in those countries for relatives in Samoa.

      Opponents of the switch, which would lead to the gradual replacement of the nation's vehicle fleet and would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, contended that it was too expensive and would lead to confusion and to an increase in road accidents and deaths. By late July public opposition to this move had spawned a new broad-based political faction, the People's Party, but it was unlikely to have significant political impact until the next national elections, to be held in 2011.

Cluny Macpherson

▪ 2008

Area:
2,831 sq km (1,093 sq mi)
Population
(2007 est.): 180,000
Capital:
Apia
Chief of state:
O le Ao o le Malo (Head of State) Malietoa Tanumafili II, Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II (acting) from May 11, and, from June 20 (acting from May 11), Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi
Head of government:
Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi

      The death in May 2007 of Malietoa Tanumafili II , who had held the position of O le Ao o le Malo (head of state) since independence in 1962, occasioned a period of national mourning. In June one of the two members of the Council of Deputies, former prime minister Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, was elected unanimously by the Legislative Assembly to the office for a five-year term.

      The Samoan government continued its economic and institutional restructuring programs and was rewarded with low inflation; stable external debt; continued economic growth of about 6% from increased returns for fishing, agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing; and promotion by the UN Economic and Social Council from least-developed-country status. Despite improvements in the domestic economy, the government remained dependent on remittances from some 200,000 Samoans living abroad.

      In August Samoa hosted the 13th South Pacific Games. Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi took a silver medal in archery, becoming the first head of government to have won a medal.

Cluny Macpherson

▪ 2007

Area:
2,831 sq km (1,093 sq mi)
Population
(2006 est.): 183,000
Capital:
Apia
Chief of state:
O le Ao o le Malo (Head of State) Malietoa Tanumafili II
Head of government:
Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi

      In Samoa the March 2006 election, which was contested by five parties, returned the Human Rights Protection Party to power with a significantly increased majority. Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi quickly promoted some young ministers to key positions in the cabinet. The election was followed by a number of petitions from unsuccessful candidates, and in August Attorney General Brenda Heather-Latu resigned over perceived government interference in these matters. The election result, however, reflected general satisfaction with the country's continued economic growth rate, which, at about 5.5% per annum, was among the highest in the Pacific region.

      Structural reforms started to deliver benefits as macroeconomic measures and a privatization program freed government resources for increased social expenditure on health and education. The country remained heavily dependent on aid and remittances from expatriate Samoans in New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S. According to the World Bank, recorded remittances represented 40% of GDP and were matched by a similar amount in unofficial remittances in cash and kind. Significant new construction occurred throughout the year as Samoa, with assistance from China, moved to complete new venues for the 13th South Pacific Games in 2007.

Cluny Macpherson

▪ 2006

Area:
2,831 sq km (1,093 sq mi)
Population
(2005 est.): 185,000
Capital:
Apia
Chief of state:
O le Ao o le Malo (Head of State) Malietoa Tanumafili II
Head of government:
Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi

      Following a series of well-publicized cases, the Samoa Land and Titles Court in 2005 ruled that village councils could not impose the traditional punishment of banishment on either individuals or families without recourse to the court, which ruled on matters of custom as part of its official responsibilities. Banishment had a long history of being used to control antisocial activity or to curtail political rivalries. Recent cases were prompted by incidents that ranged from drunken and disorderly behaviour to campaigning in national elections against a high chief or candidate supported by a village council.

      There was friction between Samoa and American Samoa over migration between the two island groups. American Samoa tightened controls following allegations that Samoans were abusing its 14-day permit system by overstaying. Samoa, which had traditionally allowed American Samoans into the country without permits, retaliated by introducing a reciprocal system. Talks eased but did not solve the issue, which had an impact on regional airlines and businesses.

      After Cyclone Percy stuck the region in late February, Samoa provided coordination and assistance for the small atoll communities of Tokelau, a New Zealand dependency of some 1,400 people administered from an office in Samoa.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2005

Area:
2,831 sq km (1,093 sq mi)
Population
(2004 est.): 183,000
Capital:
Apia
Chief of state:
O le Ao o le Malo (Head of State) Malietoa Tanumafili II
Head of government:
Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi

      In January 2004 Cyclone Heta brushed Samoa, causing serious damage, though little loss of life, on coastal Savai'i. Most of the damage was to crops and houses; many Samoans were left homeless, and food shortages occurred. The disaster prompted China to offer $120,000 in aid. The cyclone (and the severe drought conditions later in the year) contributed to a continuing economic decline that had seen Samoan GDP growth fall from 6% to 2% over recent years. Exports had fallen by 10% in 2003 compared with 2002, with fishing and tourism most affected. Despite increased returns from the garment industry, the balance of trade declined. In August workers broke ground for a much-anticipated hotel complex on Taumeasina Island.

      In July thousands of demonstrators protested the refusal of New Zealand, a former administering power, to repeal a law that had stripped Samoans of their dual citizenship and denied them visa-free entry. On August 5–7 Samoa hosted the Pacific Islands Forum, which focused on the economic collapse of Nauru, the rebuilding of a government in Solomon Islands, and concerns over the ability of small island states to maintain border security. In October the UN-sponsored regional forum on Reinventing Government in the Pacific Islands was held in Apia.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2004

Area:
2,831 sq km (1,093 sq mi)
Population
(2003 est.): 179,000
Capital:
Apia
Chief of state:
O le Ao o le Malo (Head of State) Malietoa Tanumafili II
Head of government:
Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi

      In May 2003 the Samoan government took steps to address transnational crimes, focusing on immigration, human and drug trafficking, money laundering, and Internet-based pornography and crime. In August Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi reshuffled his cabinet and redistributed portfolios that had been held in the prime minister's office.

      Samoa had applied to join the World Trade Organization in 1998 but met with resistance at home from activists opposed to the local impact of globalization and abroad from WTO members suggesting that utilities and public services in Samoa should be privatized rather than provided by the government. The trade deficit worsened, and in March the government reduced the tax on fish landed from large vessels in order to encourage the fishing industry. The economy remained heavily dependent on remittances from Samoans living abroad.

      In March petitioners demonstrated for the repeal of the 1982 New Zealand legislation that had removed New Zealand citizenship from Samoans born before 1948. (Samoa was administered by New Zealand under UN trusteeship until 1962.) The appeal was rejected by the New Zealand government, which noted that the Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act had also bestowed New Zealand citizenship on many Samoans living in New Zealand at the time.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2003

Area:
2,831 sq km (1,093 sq mi)
Population
(2002 est.): 178,000
Capital:
Apia
Chief of state:
O le Ao o le Malo (Head of State) Malietoa Tanumafili II
Head of government:
Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi

      In June 2002 Samoa celebrated 40 years of independence. Among the leaders in the region who traveled there to mark the anniversary were New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark (see Biographies (Clark, Helen )), who, to the surprise of observers in both countries, made a formal apology for acts committed by the New Zealand government against a nationalist movement in the 1920s and '30s during its rule of Samoa under a League of Nations mandate.

      In 2001 economic growth was 10%, and growth for 2002 was projected at 5%. Tourism dominated the economy in 2001, with earnings of more than $40 million. Remittances from Samoans living overseas and exports were the other main contributors to the economy. In March 2002 the government released its economic development strategy for 2002–04 with an emphasis on stabilizing economic conditions, improving social services, strengthening infrastructure, and increasing efficiency in the public sector. In September Samoa hosted the third annual Pacific Regional Trade Fair.

      During his address to the UN General Assembly in September, Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi deplored the increase in weapons of mass destruction and reminded delegates of the testing and use of nuclear weapons in the Pacific region. In May, Samoa declared its 124,000-sq-km (48,000-sq-mi) exclusive economic zone to be a whale, turtle, and shark sanctuary.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2002

Area:
2,831 sq km (1,093 sq mi)
Population
(2001 est.): 179,000
Capital:
Apia
Chief of state:
O le Ao o le Malo (Head of State) Malietoa Tanumafili II
Head of government:
Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi

      Samoa's general election in March 2001 saw the return of the governing Human Rights Protection Party led by Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, although the new government relied on the support of independent members for its majority. There was a strong emphasis on local issues and the record of the government in an election campaign that saw a number of members elected unopposed and, at the same time, petitions alleging election fraud in 10 of the 49 seats. Three women were elected to the new parliament. Longtime opposition leader Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi gave way to Le Mamea Ropati.

      In international affairs, Samoa was one of two South Pacific nations that did not support the establishment of a whale sanctuary. It denied allegations from Australia and New Zealand as well as environmental groups that this stance was related to the fact that Japan, Samoa's largest aid donor, sought to expand its whaling activity in South Pacific and Antarctic waters.

      The economy remained heavily dependent on remittances from Samoans living overseas, tourism revenue, and agricultural production (which accounted for some 16% of Samoa's gross domestic product).

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2001

Area:
2,831 sq km (1,093 sq mi)
Population
(2000 est.): 179,000
Capital:
Apia
Chief of state:
O le Ao o le Malo (Head of State) Malietoa Tanumafili II
Head of government:
Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi

      The assassination of the minister of public works in July 1999 continued to produce legal and political consequences in 2000. The two cabinet ministers who plotted the murder (and the son of one of them who actually committed the deed) were tried and found guilty, but their mandatory death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment. By-elections were held following the rulings.

      The economy continued to perform strongly after recording 5.25% real growth in gross domestic product in 1999. Inflation was held at an annual rate of less than 1%; agricultural returns improved; and there was an increase to SA$100 million (about U.S. $34 million) in remittance income from Samoans living or working overseas. Owing partly to political instability in Fiji, tourism increased sharply; visitor arrivals from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand all rose by 25% over 1999. In September the government sparked controversy when, under the Money Laundering Prevention Act introduced in June, it seized $14 million that was passing through Samoan accounts.

      Within the region Samoa was the strongest critic of the coup and related political development in Fiji. Samoa withdrew students from Fiji's University of the South Pacific and supported moves for the introduction of a democratic code for membership at the Pacific Islands Forum.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2000

Area:
2,831 sq km (1,093 sq mi)
Population
(1999 est.): 177,000
Capital:
Apia
Chief of state:
O le Ao o le Malo (Head of State) Malietoa Tanumafili II
Head of government:
Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi

      The assassination of Luagalau Levaula Kamu, the Samoan minister of public works, in July 1999 became even more significant when two of his Cabinet colleagues—Leafa Vitale and Toi Aokusu—faced charges of murder, and there were suggestions that the prime minister had also been a potential target. It was alleged that inquiries into corrupt practices and political rivalry lay behind the murder. The murderer himself, Vitale's son, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death in accordance with Samoan law; it was expected that the sentence would be commuted.

      After several years of poor performance, the Samoan economy improved substantially by the end of 1998, with a 60% increase in exports, gross domestic product growth of 1.6%, and an inflation rate of 2%, down from 6.8% in 1997. The budget for 2000 provided for a reduction of import tariffs, where they applied, from 15% to 10%; company tax reduced from 35% to 29%; salary increases for entry-level doctors, nurses, and teachers employed by government; and an end to tax holidays for new businesses. The World Bank approved funding of SA$56 million (about U.S. $19.4 million) to upgrade Samoa's principal airport at Faleolo.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 1999

      Area: 2,831 sq km (1,093 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 171,000

      Capital: Apia

      Chief of state: O le Ao o le Malo (Head of State) Malietoa Tanumafili II

      Head of government: Prime Ministers Tofilau Eti Alesana and, from November 24, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi

      The government of Samoa in 1998 continued its policy of economic liberalization. Beginning in January central bank controls were eased, and commercial banks were allowed to set interest rates. In the 1998-99 budget, released in May, the government abolished most excise taxes and cut tariffs, import duties, and income tax. For 1998-99, revenue was estimated at SA$334 million and expenditure at SA$345 million (SA$3.09 = U.S. $1).

      Tension continued between the government and newspapers, with the prime minister successful in a legal action for libel. The government also declared that it would fund costs for ministers and senior civil servants to sue the news media for comments concerning them in their capacity as public officials. Tofilau Eti Alesana, prime minister since 1985, resigned in November for reasons of health.

      Bush fires in Savai'i, started for the purpose of land clearance, burned out of control under dry conditions and destroyed nearly a quarter of the island's forests.

BARRIE MACDONALD

▪ 1998

      Area: 2,831 sq km (1,093 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 169,000

      Capital: Apia

      Chief of state: O le Ao o le Malo (Head of State) Malietoa Tanumafili II

      Head of government: Prime Minister Tofilau Eti Alesana

      In July 1997 the Legislative Assembly of Western Samoa voted 41-1 to change the country's name to Samoa. Issues of open government achieved prominence when legislation was passed to restrict the term of office of the auditor general to three years, applied retroactively. The change allowed the government to dismiss the incumbent, who had been suspended since 1994 for having accused ministers and senior public servants of financial mismanagement. In another defensive measure, the government weakened the voice of its critics by restricting its advertising to the government-owned newspaper. In November opposition leaders organized a large public demonstration and called on the government to resign.

      Economic growth for 1997 was predicted at 6-7%, after 3-4% in 1996 and 9.6% in 1995. Returns from exports rose 25% in 1996, and tourism increased 16%. The stronger performance also reflected recovery from the hurricane damage of 1994 and a reduced impact from the disease that had destroyed export crops in recent years.

BARRIE MACDONALD
      This article updates Western Samoa (Samoa).

* * *

      group of Polynesian (Polynesian culture) islands and islets in the south-central Pacific Ocean about 1,600 miles (2,600 km) northeast of New Zealand. American Samoa, a dependency of the United States, consists of the six islands east of longitude 171° W, including Tutuila. Samoa, an independent nation since 1962, consists of the nine inhabited and five uninhabited islands west of the meridian, including Savai'i and Upolu; the country changed its name in 1997 from Western Samoa to Samoa, despite objections from American Samoa.

▪ island nation, Pacific Ocean
Introduction
Samoa, flag of country in the central South Pacific Ocean, among the westernmost of the island nations of Polynesia.

      According to legend, Samoa is known as the “Cradle of Polynesia” because Savai'i island is said to be Hawaiki, the Polynesian homeland. Samoan culture is undoubtedly central to Polynesian life, and its styles of music, dance, and visual art have gained renown throughout the Pacific islands and the world. The country's international image is that of a tropical paradise inhabited by tourist-friendly, flower-wreathed peoples. Yet this belies the economic, social, and political challenges of this diverse and evolving Pacific microstate. Samoa gained its independence from New Zealand in 1962 after more than a century of foreign influence and domination, but it remains a member of the Commonwealth. The country was known as Western Samoa until 1997. Its capital and main commercial centre is Apia, on the island of Upolu.

Land
 Samoa lies approximately 80 miles (130 km) west of American Samoa, 1,800 miles (2,900 km) northeast of New Zealand, and 2,600 miles (4,200 km) southwest of Hawaii. Samoa, which shares the Samoan archipelago (Samoa) with American Samoa, consists of nine islands west of longitude 171° W— Upolu, Savai'i, Manono, and Apolima, all of which are inhabited, and the uninhabited islands of Fanuatapu, Namu'a, Nu'utele, Nu'ulua, and Nu'usafee. (The six Samoan islands east of the meridian are part of American Samoa.) The total land area is smaller than the U.S. state of Rhode Island but about 2.5 times larger than Hong Kong.

Relief and drainage
       Savai'i, the largest island, covers 659 square miles (1,707 square km) and rises to a maximum elevation of 6,095 feet (1,858 metres) at Mount Silisili, a volcano at the island's approximate centre. Mounts Māfane, Mata'aga, and Maugaloa are also imposing peaks. Upolu, the other large island, lies about 10 miles (16 km) to the east across the Apolima Strait. Upolu is more elongated and uneven in shape than Savai'i and has lower average elevations. It occupies an area of 432 square miles (1,119 square km), including five offshore islets, and rises to 3,608 feet (1,100 metres) at Mount Fito. Manono and Apolima are smaller islands lying in the strait between the two main islands.

      All the nation's rivers are shallow, are limited in extent, and radiate directly from the central highlands to the coast. The islands are rocky, formed by volcanic activity that progressed from east to west within the past seven million years. They are ringed by coral reefs and shallow lagoons except where the shorelines are marked by cliffs formed by lava flows. Mount Matavanu on Savai'i last erupted intermittently during 1905–11. Samoa's volcanic soils support lush vegetation but are easily eroded by runoff.

Climate
      The climate is tropical and humid. Precipitation varies from more than 100 inches (2,540 mm) on the northern and western coasts to 300 inches (7,620 mm) inland. Temperatures vary little, averaging 80 °F (27 °C) and ranging between 73 and 86 °F (23 and 30 °C) throughout the year. The southeast trade winds prevail, varying occasionally to northerlies during the wet season (November or December to April), when severe storms are liable to occur. Typhoons occasionally cause widespread damage.

Plant and animal life
      Samoa's lush vegetation includes inland rainforests and cloud forests. Large sections of the coast have been covered with taro plantations and coconut groves. The islands support limited animal life, although more than 50 species of birds are found there, at least 16 of them indigenous, including rare tooth-billed pigeons. The only native mammals are flying foxes (flying fox), which are endangered, and other species of smaller bats. Rats, wild cattle, and pigs have been introduced. Among the smaller animals found in Samoa are several species of lizards, two snakes of the boa family, centipedes and millipedes, scorpions, spiders, and a wide variety of insects.

      O Le Pupu Pue National Park (1978), Samoa's first national park, occupies some 11 square miles (28 square km) on south-central Upolu. Conservation efforts have been lax in many Samoan communities. Soil erosion, resulting from farming steep slopes and clear-cutting forests, has produced runoff that has damaged many of Samoa's lagoons and coral reefs. Industrial and residential pollution has become a concern in and around Apia. Wildfires in 1998, which were started by farmers clearing land for cultivation, destroyed nearly one-fourth of the forests on Savai'i.

People

Ethnic groups
      Samoans are mainly of Polynesian heritage, and about nine-tenths of the population are ethnic Samoans. Euronesians (people of mixed European and Polynesian ancestry) account for most of the rest of the population, and a tiny fraction are of wholly European heritage.

Languages
      The Samoan (Samoa) language, believed to be among the oldest of the Polynesian (Polynesian languages) tongues, is closely related to the Maori, Tahitian, Hawaiian, and Tongan languages. A large number of Samoan words reflect maritime traditions, including names for ocean currents, winds, landforms, stars, and directions. Some verb forms indicate the relative positions of objects, including directions of movement toward or away from the speaker. English is widely spoken as a second language.

Religion
      Samoans traditionally had a pantheistic religion, where family elders performed most rituals; they appear not to have had a dominant priestly class. They readily adopted Christian teachings following European contact, and even the more remote villages built churches, often of grand proportions. The Congregational Christian Church in Samoa (formerly the London Missionary Society) was dominant until the late 20th century, but it has since lost many adherents to the Mormon church. Mormon and Congregationalist groups now account for roughly one-fourth of the population each. About one-fifth of Samoans are Roman Catholics, and about one-ninth are Methodists. Pentecostals, Seventh-day Adventists, and other Christian groups have more limited memberships.

Settlement patterns
      Most Samoans have lived in coastal villages since the region was first settled, and about four-fifths of the population is still rural. Apia, on the northern coast of Upolu, is the nation's only town as well as the main port and centre for services and trade; it contains approximately one-fifth of Samoa's population.

Demographic trends
      The birth rate in Samoa has been high since the 1950s, when the population reached about 80,000. Although that number had doubled by the mid-1990s, the population's rate of increase remained markedly lower than the world average because tens of thousands of Samoans had emigrated to New Zealand, the United States, Australia, and elsewhere. Life expectancy at birth is 67 years for males and 72 for females. About two-fifths of Samoans are less than 15 years old.

Economy
      Close kinship ties within the villages traditionally bound Samoans into a collectivist society, but a cash economy developed following European contact, mainly based on agricultural exports. Tourism, services, and light manufacturing became increasingly important after 1950. Other major sources of capital now include remittances from Samoans living abroad (mainly in the United States and New Zealand), which account for as much as one-sixth of household income, and grants from the United States, the United Nations, the Commonwealth, and other foreign entities.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
      Agriculture accounts for two-fifths of Samoa's gross domestic product (GDP) and nearly two-thirds of the workforce; however, production does not meet local demand, and large quantities of food are imported. Major crops include coconuts, taro, pineapples, mangoes, and other fruits. Typhoons caused widespread damage in the 1990s to several crops, including taro, which was also devastated by taro leaf blight. Cattle, pigs, and poultry are raised for local consumption. Forestry has made increasing contributions to the economy, partly because of the government's replanting programs. The Samoan fishing industry remains small, based primarily on catches made from outrigger canoes.

Resources and power
      Samoa has few natural resources apart from its agricultural lands, surrounding waters, and pleasant scenery and climate; nearly half of the land area is covered by forests. Hydroelectric power provides most of the nation's energy needs; petroleum-fired thermal generators account for much of the remainder.

Manufacturing
      Samoa's diversified light manufactures include beer, cigarettes, coconut products (mainly creams and oils), corned beef, soap, paint, soft drinks and juices, and handicrafts. Most are produced for local markets. A Japanese-owned electric assembly plant, which opened in the 1990s, is Samoa's leading employer after the national government.

Finance
      The currency of Samoa is the tala, which consists of 100 sene (“cents”). The money supply is controlled and regulated by the Central Bank of Samoa, which was established in 1984. Samoa also has several commercial banks. Banking and finance account for only a tiny fraction of employment, although numerous companies have registered in Samoa since offshore banking services were initiated in 1988.

Trade
      Samoa has a persistently negative balance of trade. Major trading partners include New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, the United States, Japan, and American Samoa. Food, industrial supplies, machinery, consumer goods, and petroleum products are the main imports. Coconut products, copra, cacao, and beer account for a majority of exports.

Services
      Government (including education) and tourism are the foundations of Samoa's service sector. Tourism has been an increasing source of foreign exchange, with a steady supply of visitors from American Samoa and growing numbers from New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and Europe. Popular tourist sites, in addition to Samoa's white-sand beaches, include Mulinu'u, where the parliament and traditional meeting and burial grounds are located; Fuipisia Falls, which descends some 180 feet (55 metres); and Vailima, where the head of state now resides in the last home of the 19th-century Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson.

Labour and taxation
      Nearly two-thirds of Samoans are farmers or agricultural workers. About one-fifth of the population works in government, tourist, or other service sectors, and the central government is Samoa's single largest employer. There are several trade unions in Samoa, though only a small percentage of the country's workforce are members. The majority of the country's workforce are men, but women are expected to play an increasing role. In 1991 the Ministry of Women's Affairs was established to encourage and promote women's employment.

      More than half of the government's revenue comes from taxes, and nearly one-third is from grants. In 1994 a value-added tax on goods and services was introduced amid great protest.

Transportation and telecommunications
      International flights connect the islands with American Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan. Regular shipping services link with ports abroad, including those in Hawaii and California to the northeast and Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia to the southwest. About two-fifths of Samoan roadways are paved, including many coastal highways and the major streets of Apia. There are no railways.

      Samoa has several thousand telephones in use, as well as international phone connections via undersea cable and satellite. The number of cellular phones in use has increased rapidly since the mid-1990s.

Government and society

Constitutional framework
      In 1962 Samoa promulgated its constitution as the first independent microstate in the Pacific region, and in 1970 it joined the Commonwealth. Samoa has a parliamentary government that blends Samoan and New Zealander traditions. The constitution originally provided for a constitutional monarchy under two coheads of state, with the provision that when one died (as happened in 1963) the other would continue as sole monarch and head of state for life, after which future heads of state would be elected by the Legislative Assembly (Fono Aoao Faitulafono) to five-year terms. The prime minister is elected by the assembly and appoints a cabinet from among its members. The Legislative Assembly has 49 members. Two are directly elected by the nation's non-Samoan and mixed ethnic groups. The remaining 47 are directly elected from among candidates who are Samoan matai (chiefs).

Local government
      Samoan local government is the responsibility of more than 360 villages in 11 administrative districts, five of which are based on Upolu—A'ana, Aiga-i-le-Tai (with Manono and Apolima islands), Atua, Tuamasaga, and Va'a-o-Fonoti—and six on Savali—Fa'asaleleaga, Gaga'emauga, Gaga'ifomauga, Palauli, Satupa'itea, and Vaisigano. Each of Samoa's several thousand aiga (extended families) designates at least one matai to lead and represent it; the matai, in turn, form village councils to administer local affairs.

Justice and security
      The justice system is headed by a Supreme Court, whose chief justice is appointed by the head of state on the advice of the prime minister. Supreme Court judges also preside over the Court of Appeal. Among the lower courts are the Magistrate's Court, which hears most criminal cases, and the Lands and Titles Court, which handles civil matters.

      Samoa has a police force but no standing military. New Zealand is bound by treaty to provide military assistance upon request.

Political process
      Universal suffrage for Samoans aged 21 years and older was instituted in 1990. Political parties first appeared in Samoa in the late 1970s, and by the turn of the 21st century there were more than five. The major parties are the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) and the Samoan National Development Party (SNDP). Women participate in government but hold few elected offices.

Health and welfare
      Immunization programs since the late 20th century have greatly reduced the incidence of disease, particularly among children; however, there are few doctors, and the quality of hospital care is limited. Obesity and poorly balanced diets are leading health concerns. The leading causes of death are congestive heart failure, cancers, cerebrovascular diseases, accidents, pneumonia, and septicemia. Water shortages are common because of the islands' porous soils and limited watersheds; wells and cisterns are the only water source for much of the rural population.

Education
      Nearly all Samoans are literate. Education is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 14; however, only a small fraction of the population has completed secondary school. Selected pupils receive higher education at government- or mission-run secondary, vocational, or teacher-training institutions. The University of the South Pacific has its School of Agriculture at Alafua, near Apia. Some students attend the National University of Samoa (1984) and Avele College (1924), but most enroll at overseas institutions such as Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, the University of Hawaii, and Brigham Young University–Hawaii.

Cultural life
      Although some Samoan values and customs have changed markedly since European contact, particularly in Apia, Samoans have strived to preserve the fa'a Samoa (“Samoan way of life”); thus, many traditions and outward features of rural life have remained virtually unchanged.

Daily life and social customs
      Most Samoan villages have a church and a meetinghouse, which doubles as a cultural centre. Clustered around the village green are several fale—traditional oval-shaped houses with open sides and thatched or corrugated tin roofs supported by wooden pillars. Rolled palm-leaf mats can be let down at the sides of each house to offer protection from the elements. Many fale have been replaced by rectangular houses of timber or concrete blocks with walls and windows. Kitchens are often located in separate cookhouses.

      Typical foods, grown or caught locally, include taro, yams, breadfruit, fish, and shellfish. Chicken and pork dishes are also eaten. Imported foodstuffs have become increasingly common, including Asian rice, frozen meats, and packaged foods and beverages from other parts of the world. kava, a traditional nonalcoholic, euphoria-producing drink, is prepared from a tropical pepper plant and consumed at social events, mainly by matai, who customarily pour a small amount on the ground before and after drinking. Related customs include sitting cross-legged in a home before addressing one's host and refraining from eating while standing indoors or walking outdoors.

The arts
      Music, dance, tattooing, and oral literature are significant art forms in Samoa. Males at age 12 or 13 visit a local tufuga (tattoo artist) for tattooing from waist to knee, a prolonged and often painful process that is considered a rite of passage. Christian missionaries in the 19th century, believing that tattooing was contrary to biblical teachings, eliminated the practice from many Polynesian islands; however, Samoans maintained the tradition and helped revive it among Tahitians and other groups in the late 20th century. Few early works of siapo (bark cloth) art, basketry, and featherwork have survived, and handicrafts are now produced only in limited numbers.

      Music has always been central to Samoan life. Vocal music is predominant, both in religious services and social gatherings, and is accompanied by rhythmic percussion and wind instruments. Dances often presented for tourists include sāsā (a sitting dance performed mainly through arm movements) and fa'ataupati (in which men rhythmically slap their limbs and torsos). Samoans often entertain one another at weddings and other family gatherings with ula, in which two groups alternate between singing and dancing. The pese is another popular song style.

      Oral literature in Samoa dates from earliest settlement. Genealogies, legends, chants, and spells have all been passed down and elaborated through the generations, and matai are still expected to deliver rhythmic and poetical orations at council meetings and other major events. Many of these traditions have been translated into written form since the 19th century. International acclaim has been garnered by some Samoan writers, including Albert Wendt, who has explored aspects of the fa'a Samoa—including power struggles, social restrictions, and family relations—in works such as Pouliuli (1977) and The Birth and Death of the Miracle Man and Other Stories (1999).

Cultural institutions
      Samoa has few major cultural institutions apart from the School of Agriculture, Avele College, and the National University of Samoa. The Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (1990) and the Nelson Memorial Public Library (1959) are located in Apia.

Sports and recreation
      The main holidays include Independence Day (usually celebrated for three days: June 1–3), Christmas, and New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Although Samoan music and dance styles remain popular, radio stations often broadcast imported Hawaiian and other Polynesian music, as well as rock. American and Chinese films, the latter with English subtitles, are commonly viewed.

      Rugby football is a popular sport among Samoans, who have long played for New Zealand and Samoan national teams. Australian Rules football is also increasingly popular. Entire communities sometimes play kirikiti, which is similar to cricket but involves teams of unrestricted size; games are social as well as sporting events, with spirited cheering and singing by spectators and unlimited food and drinks provided by the host village. Samoans and other Polynesians have used outrigger canoes since establishing their first island settlements. Most of the canoes are confined to lagoons, but many are also paddled in ocean races. Footracing, cockfighting, tiak (darts), and spear throwing are also traditional Samoan sports. Select groups participate in tennis, golf, bowling, and other competitions. Samoa has competed in the Olympic Games since 1984.

Media and publishing
      The country's newspapers include The Samoa Observer, the Samoa News, Savali, and the Samoa Weekly; each has a limited circulation—from a few hundred to a few thousand copies. Samoa has three radio stations. Its first full-time television broadcaster began operating in 1993, offering locally produced programs and satellite transmissions from overseas. (For further discussion of Samoan cultural life, see Oceanic arts (art and architecture, Oceanic) and Polynesian culture.)

History
      The following discussion focuses on Samoa since European contact. For additional treatment in a regional context, see Pacific Islands, history of (Pacific Islands).

Early period
      Polynesians (Polynesian culture) traveling in outrigger canoes arrived in the Samoan (Samoa) archipelago about 1000 BC, as indicated by Lapita pottery shards found in Mulifanua Lagoon on Upolu. Characteristics of the Samoan language indicate that the settlers probably came from Tonga. Local pottery manufacturing ceased by about AD 200, by which time Samoa had become central to much of the settlement of eastern Polynesia. Contact between Samoans, Tongans, and Fijians continued and was recorded in hundreds of legends and genealogies that were passed down through oral literature. Like other Polynesian peoples, Samoans were master navigators, boatbuilders, and fishers; every aspect of their society was related in some way to maritime life. Basic agriculture was also developed, including the cultivation of yams, taro, breadfruit, bananas, sugarcane, and coconuts. Most Samoans lived in villages ruled by councils of matai (chiefs), and numerous fortified villages of 30 or more houses grew up along the coast. Extended blood ties traditionally linked family groups and villages, with the major families striving for supremacy and regularly plunging the islands into warfare.

European influence
      European navigators, who began to visit Samoa in 1722, were at first welcomed for the technology and goods that they brought. John Williams, a member of the London Missionary Society, arrived to establish a Christian mission in 1830. He made a convert of Malietoa Vainu'upo, who had just conquered all of Samoa, and the rest of the population soon followed suit. A foreign settlement had developed around Apia Harbour by the 1850s. Samoans began to resist, however, as more settlers arrived from the United States, Great Britain, and Germany and tried to persuade their respective governments to annex Samoa. Rival matai played the three foreign powers against each other in pursuit of their factional wars, and they, in turn, frustrated attempts by the Samoans to establish a national government. In 1878 the United States signed a treaty allowing it to establish a naval station in Pago Pago Harbour (now in American Samoa). Great Britain and Germany signed similar agreements the following year. Warfare between the three powers in 1889 was prevented only by a great typhoon, which sank six of their warships. They subsequently signed the Berlin Act to provide for the neutrality of the islands and to avoid further conflict; however, in 1899 the United States annexed eastern Samoa, whereas Germany annexed the western part of the islands—Western Samoa. The division was carried out without consulting the Samoan people, and many of them resented it deeply.

      In Western Samoa the drive for political independence began in 1908 with the Mau a Pule, a movement led by the orator chief Lauaki Namulau'ulu. The matai were dissatisfied with the German governor's attempts to change the fa'a Samoa and centralize all authority in his hands. After the governor called in warships, Lauaki and nine of his leading supporters surrendered, whereupon they were tried and exiled to Saipan in the Mariana Islands.

Rule by New Zealand
      Troops from New Zealand occupied Western Samoa in August 1914, meeting no resistance from the German or Samoan populations. However, the New Zealand administration was accused of negligence after more than one-fifth of Western Samoans died during the influenza epidemic of 1918–19, and most Samoans united against foreign rule. The League of Nations nevertheless granted New Zealand a mandate over Western Samoa in 1920. The New Zealand-appointed governor made additional attempts to undermine the power of the matai leadership and that of the local business community; in response, an organized political movement called the Mau (“Strongly Held View”) emerged. The Mau was led by Olaf Frederick Nelson, whose mother was Samoan, but New Zealand outlawed the movement, claiming that Nelson and other “part-Europeans” were misleading the Samoans. New Zealand troops were sent in, and Nelson was exiled to New Zealand. During a Mau demonstration in December 1929, the matai Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III and other unarmed Mau supporters were shot and killed by New Zealand troops. This only strengthened the Mau's determination.

      New Zealand's first Labour government came to power in 1935 and soon recognized the Mau as a legal political organization. Relations between Samoans and New Zealanders improved somewhat, but many Samoans remained dissatisfied. The islands' economy improved during World War II, when a garrison of U.S. troops was stationed on Upolu and built several roads and an airport. New Zealand allowed a Western Samoan council of state and a legislative assembly to be established in the late 1940s, and a constitutional convention met in 1954. Several government reforms were carried out during the next few years, amid continuing Samoan agitation for independence.

Independence
      In 1962 Western Samoa became the first Pacific nation of its size to regain its political independence. The monarch Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II became the cohead of state in 1962 and head of state (O le Ao o le Malo) the following year, a post he held until his death in 2007. Major political figures in the late 20th century included Fiame Faumuina Mataafa, who served twice as prime minister (1962–70 and 1973–75) and Tupuola Taisi Efi, who was prime minister during 1976–82. The religious makeup of Samoa was altered markedly in the late 20th century, as many in the country joined the Mormon church. The tourist trade grew rapidly during the same period, partly because of improvements to Upolu's transportation infrastructure. Tofilau Eti Alesana, who served as prime minister during 1985–98, had mixed success with the economy and engendered controversy by attempting to censor critics of the government. A referendum in 1990 instituted universal suffrage, and in 1997 the legislature changed the country's name from Western Samoa to Samoa, despite protests from neighbouring American Samoa. The islands continued to face economic and social challenges at the beginning of the 21st century.

Sophie Foster

Additional Reading
Overviews of the Samoan nation are provided by Dorinda Talbot, Samoa, 3rd ed. (1998), a guide for travelers; and Norman Douglas and Ngaire Douglas (eds.), “Western Samoa,” in Pacific Islands Yearbook, 17th ed. (1994), pp. 731–755. Lowell D. Holmes (compiler and ed.), Samoan Islands Bibliography (1984), is a useful collection.Samoan politics and history are discussed in J.W. Davidson, Samoa mo Samoa: The Emergence of the Independent State of Western Samoa (1967); Malama Meleisea and Penelope Schoeffel Meleisea (eds.), Lagaga: A Short History of Western Samoa (1987); and Malama Meleisea, The Making of Modern Samoa: Traditional Authority and Colonial Administration in the History of Western Samoa (1987).Traditional Samoan heritage is explored and interpreted in Lowell D. Holmes and Ellen Rhoads Holmes, Samoan Village: Then and Now, 2nd ed. (1992); Margaret Mead, Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilization (1928, reissued 1973); and Derek Freeman, Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth (1983, reissued 1996). Social and cultural shifts are considered in Paul T. Baker, Joel M. Hanna, and Thelma S. Baker (eds.), The Changing Samoans: Behavior and Health in Transition (1986); George Turner, Samoa, a Hundred Years Ago and Long Before (1884, reprinted 1989); R.P. Gilson, Samoa, 1830 to 1900: The Politics of a Multi-Cultural Community (1970); and Fred Henry, Samoa: An Early History, rev. by Tofa Pula (1980). Music and dance are surveyed by Jacob Wainwright Love, “Samoa,” in Selma Jeanne Cohen (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Dance, vol. 5 (1998), pp. 509–510; and Tialuga Sunia Seloti, “Sāmoa,” in Adrienne L. Kaeppler and J.W. Love (eds.), The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, vol. 9 (1998), pp. 795–808.Sophie Foster

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Samoa — • A group of islands situated in the south Pacific Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Samoa     Samoa     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Samoa [1] — Samoa (Schifferinseln, Navigatorsinseln; hierzu Karte »Samoainseln«), polynes. Inselgruppe, nordöstlich von den Fidschiinseln, unter 13°5´ 14°5´ südl. Br. und 168°9´ 172°45´ westl. L., besteht aus vier größern und mehreren kleinern, den größern… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Samoa — archipel du Pacifique, en Polynésie, formé des Samoa orientales ou Samoa américaines et de l état indépendant des Samoa occidentales. Princ. ressources: cacao, coprah, noix de coco. Découvertes en 1722, les îles furent partagées en 1899 entre les …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Samoa — [sə mō′ə] 1. group of islands in the South Pacific, north of Tonga: divided into AMERICAN SAMOA & Samoa 2. country in the South Pacific, consisting of two large islands (Savaii & Upolu) & several small ones: became independent in 1962 & a member… …   English World dictionary

  • Samoa — Inseln …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • şamoa — şamoá s. m. Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortografic  ŞAMOÁ m. 1) Mamifer rumegător de talie medie, cu blană brun neagră, având coarne scurte şi curbate; capră neagră; capră de mun te. 2) Piele tăbăcită a acestui animal. /<fr …   Dicționar Român

  • Samoa — Samoa, land i det sydlige Stillehav. Se artiklen: Samoa …   Danske encyklopædi

  • Samoa — a group of islands in the South Pacific, including Savai i and Upolu. Until 1997, it was called Western Samoa. Population: 179,058 (2001). Capital: Apia. >Samoan n adj …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Samoa [2] — Samoa, eine der kleinen Sundainseln, s. Samao …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Samòa — ž geogr. 1. {{001f}}država u istoimenoj otočnoj skupini (Polinezija, Tihi ocean), glavni grad Apia 2. {{001f}}otočna skupina u Polineziji (Tihi ocean) …   Veliki rječnik hrvatskoga jezika

  • Samoa — Samòa ž DEFINICIJA geogr. 1. država u istoimenoj otočnoj skupini (Polinezija, Tihi ocean), 28.831 km2, 163.000 stan., glavni grad Apia 2. otočna skupina u Polineziji (Tihi ocean), 3026 km2 …   Hrvatski jezični portal


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.