Samoa is composed of nine South Pacific islands located northeast of New Zealand. The islands are all volcanic in origin. Human settlement began when Polynesian settlers arrived from Tonga (about 1000 BC). Tongan invaders ruled the islands (950-1250 AD). The Matai (chiefly) system developed on the iwlasnds. The Samoas were united by Queen Salamasina (15th century). The first Europeans reporing the Samoans were Dutch traders (1722). French navigator Louis Antoine de Bougainville landed on the Samoas (1768). Christian missionaries established missiions and converted the islanders (1830s). International rivalries allowed the islands to remain independent during much of the the 19th century. This finally ended in the late-19th century. Germany was particularly interested in the Solomons and attempted to install a puppet regime. A Samoan rebellion prevented this attempt to depose the paramount ruler (1887-89). The Act of Berlin settled many issues in the South Pacific (1889). Germany was granted control of the nine islands of Western Samoa, while the United States was granted control of the eastern part od the Archepelago which becaecknownas American Samoa. Britain received Tonga and the Solomon Islands. when America and Germany agreed in a treaty to divide the Samoan archipelago. The Germans occupied the larger western part of the Archepelago (1900). This thus added Samoa to the expanding German colonial possessions (1900). More than 2,000 Chinese were brought in to work on coconut plantations (1900s).
New Zealand occupied the islands during World War I (1914). New Zealand administered the island for several decades underv first a League of Nations and then a United Nations trusteeship. An estimated quarter of the Samoan population died in an influenza epidemic. A nationalist movement, the Mau, adopted civil disobedience tactics (1920s). The Samoan Islands during World War II were one of several islands groups east of Australia targeted by the Japanese as part of their FS Operation. Samoa like neigboring Fiji, however, after Midway proved to be just beyond the reach of Japanese conquest. New Zealand set up a system of local government headed by chief minister Fiame Mata'afa Mulinu'u (1959). The Samoan people after the War in a popular referendum voted for independence (1961). The United Nations General Assembly voted to terminate the trusteeship. Western Samoa became independent (1962). Eastern or American Samoa remains a United states dependency.
Samoa is composed of nine South Pacific islands located northeast of New Zealand. The islands are all volcanic in origin. The two largest islands are Savai'i and Upolu. Most of the population live there. The only other populated islands are Manono and Apolima. The other five islands are Fanuatapu, Namu'a, Nuutele, Nuulua, Nuusafee.
Human settlement occurred as part of the general settlement of the Pacific by Polynesians. Te first settlers reached the Samoas from Tonga (about 1000 BC). Shards of Lapida pottery found at Mulifanua are believed to date from the early settlenment period. Samoa became a flourishing Polynesian community with well-establihd trading links with Tongaand Fiji (200 BC).
Tongan invaders conquered and ruled the islands (950-1250 AD). The Matai (chiefly) system gradually developed on the islands.
A group of Samoans colonised the Tokelau islands (about 1300 AD). The languages today are very similar.
The Samoas were united by Queen Salamasina (15th century).
Wuropeans reached the South Pacific (16th century). The Samoas were, howeverunreported for several centuruies. The first European reporing the Samoans was Dutch trader Jacob Roggeveens (1722). French navigator Louis Antoine de Bougainville encountered Samoan traders in ocean-going canoes. They led them to the islands (1768). He named them the Navigator Islands. Shortly after, Samoans massacered M.M. de Langle, Lamanon, and 10 others in a shore parry from the French ship Perouse (1787).
Christian missionaries established missions and converted the islanders (1830s). The effort was kled by
John Williams and Charles Barf from the London Missionary Society. International rivalries allowed the islands to remain independent during much of the the 19th century. J.C. Godeffroy and Son attempted to establish a busines enterprise (1857). When the failed, the German Trading and Plantation Company took over. A trading depot was established at Apia. Samoa developed into the most popular trading center in the South Pacific.
Samoan independence finally ended in the late-19th century. Germany was particularly interested in the Samoas. They had commercial interests there and had interests in nearby New Guinea. They attempted to install a puppet regime. A Samoan rebellion prevented this attempt to depose the paramount ruler (1887-89).
French, British, German, and American vessels routinely stopped at Samoa (late-19th century). They used Pago Pago's excellent harbor as a coaling (refueling) station. Both merchant and whaling vessels used it. And the colonial powers considered seizing the various islands. This almost caused a war. An Imperial German naval force entered a village on Samoa and in the process destroyed American property (March 1889). Three American warships in South Pscific entered the Apia harbor and prepared to engage the three German warships they found found there. This was before wireless communications. The naval commanders were acting in their own. Shots were, owever, not fired. A powerful typhoon destroyed the American and German ships just as they were prepoared to fdo battle. An armistice was agreed to, largely because there were no naval vessels left to fight. This gave the diplomats the time to sot out the various claims and interests. The varuious powers
settled many issues in the South Pacific as part of the Act of Berlin (1889) and the Triprtrate Convention (1899). Germany was granted control of the nine islands of Western Samoa, while the United States was granted control of the eastern part of the Archepelago which became known as American Samoa. Britain received Tonga and the Solomon Islands. When the United States and Germany agreed in a treaty to divide the Samoan archipelago. The Germans occupied the larger western part of the Archepelago (1900). This thus added Samoa to the expanding German colonial possessions (1900). The Germans brought in more than 2,000 Chinese to work on coconut plantations (1900s). The United States formally took possession of its portion of Samoa. It was a group of eastern islands, smaller than the German portion. The American islsnds, however, included the much desired Pago Pago wih its all important harbor. The United States expanded the existing coaling station at Pago Pago Bay into a full naval station, the United States Naval Station Tutuila. The Navy secured a Deed of Cession of Tutuila (1900) and a Deed of Cession of Manuʻa (1904). he last sovereign of Manuʻa, the Tui Manuʻa Elisala, signed a Deed of Cession of Manuʻa following a series of U.S. Naval trials, known as the 'Trial of the Ipu', in Pago Pago, Taʻu, and aboard a U.S. Pacific Squadron gunboat. The territory at the time was known as the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila. The territory composed of Tutuila, Aunu'u and Manu'a, was officially renamed American Samoa (1911).
New Zealand at the time of World War I w a British Dominion. It was thus automatically involved in the war when Britain declared war on Germany. The Imperial German Navy had an East Asia Squadron in the Pacific. They were beyond the reach of communication with Berlin, but wireless stations on the German-controlled islands like Samoa allowed some of the squadron elements to communicate with each other. The British government indicated that seizing the wireless station near Apia, the capital of Samoa should be under taken as soon as possible (August 7). This led to the first New Zealand action of the War. The Samoan Expedition Force sailed (August 15). It landed at Apia (August 29). The small German force there did not resist and there was no fightinhg, but the Germans refused to surrendr the island officially. It was the second German territory to fall o the Allies. (Togoland in West Africa was the first.) New Zealand authorities during the military occupation kept the German laws and policies in place, The island was governed by a New Zealand military administrator.
World War I resulted in the creation of the League of Nations which initiated a new look at colonislism. Colonial riuvslruies were identified as a source if international conflict. Thus the victorious Allies decided not to simply seize the colonies of imperial Germany and the Ottoman Empire. Instead they were place under international administration supervised by the League of Nations. And there was a vision of future independence, perhaps the first step in the de-colonization process. In practice this proved more than theoretical than practical. As the trusteeship powers to a large degree administered them as colonies, but the internatiinal attention generally brought a degree of enlightened administration that had often been absent before. This was not the case of the Japanese who were the Mandate power for the former German Central Pacific islands to the north. They simply ignored the League and withdrew from it (1931). The eastern former German islands were a League Mandate. The United States did not join the League. The eastern American islands continued to be an American territory with no League envolvement or supervision. Under both New Zealand and American adminnistrations, Samoans continued to lead their traditional life styles, largely untouched by the outside world. The islanders were totally unaware of the militarists in far away Japan who were prepaing to launch the Pacific islands and preparing plans to invade their peaceful islands.
The Samoan Islands during World War II were one of several islands groups east of Australia targeted by the Japanese as part of their FS Operation. Ir consisted of the western islands (former German islands) administered by New Zealand and the eastern islands administered by the United States. The U.S. Navy used Pago Pago for a coaling and repair station (1878). It was known as the United States Naval Station Tutuila. As a result, at the time of the War thre were some limited naval facilities there. A Japanese submarine shelled Pago Pago Harbor (January 1942). We are not sure about the purpose of the shelling. Perhaps it was an act of bravado by the sub skipper. Or perhaps it was an effort to test out the American defenses. The Japanese were planning a much larger operation, but this would prove to be the only military action which occurred on the islands during the Pacific War. The Japanese wanted to severe the sea lanes between America and Australia to isolatete the country. Australia was large county, but had only a small population and manufacturing capacity. Heavy weapons, ships, and aircraft were imported from Britain and America. Isolating Australia was thus the first step in the eventual Japanese invasion and subjegation. FS was to be launched after the American carriers were engaged and destroyed in the Midway operation. This did not, however, go as Yammoto and Nagumo had planned. Samoa, like neigboring Fiji was after the loss of four of their first-line carriers at Midway (June 1942) beyond the reach of Japanese naval power. The lost Japanese carriers were slated to have been the core of the FS Operation strike force. Samoa after the U.S. Marine landings on Guadalcanal (August 1942) shifted from the piotential front line to an important rear area supply base while the still out-gunned Pacific Fleet and Imperial Navy slugged it out in the Solomons Campaign. Samoan society was still quite traditional at the onset of the War, It was a sleepy little South Pacifc island group still largely untouched by the outside world and modern technology. Samonans had few contacts with the wider world. The western islands had a few New Zealand administrators, missionaries, and western managers of the coconut platations. The American presence on the eastern islands was more substantial, but fairly limited. Tourism was virtually unknown. The influx of American servicemen along with vast numbers of vehicles and huge quantities of supplies had a profound impact on the islands.
The United Nations continued the League Mandate as a Trusteeship.
New Zealand set up a system of local government headed by chief minister Fiame Mata'afa Mulinu'u (1959). The Samoan people after the War in a popular referendum voted for independence (1961). The United Nations General Assembly voted to terminate the trusteeship. Western Samoa became independent (1962).
Eastern or American Samoa remains a United States dependency.
King Malietoa Tanumafili II succeeded to the throne of independent Samoa (1962). Independence was achieved within Commonwealth, with Mata'afa as the first prime minister. Her servedcfor morecthan adecade, except for a brief interuption (1970-73) until his death (1975) Universal adult suffrage was approved (1990). This democratic reform reduced the power of the of the Matai (elected clan leaders). Cyclone Val badly dmage the islands (1991). The Government officially changed the country's name from Western Samoa to Samoa (1997). Officials on American Samoa complained that this impaired American Samoa's identity. Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, of the HRPP, was appointed prime minister (1998).
Malielegaoi was reelected (2001). Samoa celebrated 40 years of independence (2002). New Zealand Prime Minister Clark apologized for mistreating Samoans durung the mandate/trusteeship period.
Australia offered $7 million in aid to help train Samoan security forces (2004). The Ruling HRPP, led by Prime Minister Tuila'epa, won parliamentary elections @006). King Malietoa Tanumafili II after ruling for 45 years died (2007). He was 94 years old.
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