Samoa is an island country located the South Pacific Ocean.
The official name of the country is the Independent State of Samoa.
Samoa is located about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand in the Polynesian region of the South Pacific.
Samoa has 2 official languages: Samoan and Samoan.
As of 1 January 2017, the population of Samoa was estimated to be 195,470 people.
It is the 167th largest country in the world in terms of land area with 2,842 square kilometers (1,097 square miles).
The country is made up of nine volcanic islands, two of which – Savai’i and Upolu – make up more than 99% of the land.
Apia is the capital and the largest city of Samoa. The city is located on the central north coast of Upolu, Samoa’s second largest island. Apia is the only “city” in Samoa. It has population of about 37,000.
The country lies within the area of “Ring of Fire,” a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.
The islands have narrow coastal plains with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in the interior.
The highest point in Samoa is Mount Silisili, at 1858 meters (6,096 feet) above sea level. It is located in the centre of a mountain chain running the length of Savai’i island.
Savai’i, the largest island in Samoa, is volcanically active with the most recent eruptions in Mt Matavanu (1905–1911), Mata o le Afi (1902) and Mauga Afi (1725).
The coastline of the islands total 403 kilometers (250 miles) in length.
Lalomanu Beach is the most popular beach in Samoa with its leaning palms, beautiful white sand and views of Samoa’s smaller outer islands.
To Sua Ocean Trench (literally translated as “large swimming hole”) is a swimming spot located in Lotofaga village, on the south coast of Upolu island. When the volcanoes erupted on the island, much of the ground fell away, and this 30-meter (98-foot) deep hole was the result. The swimming hole with turquoise water is accessed by a ladder.
The Afu Aau Waterfall also known as Olemoe Falls, is a spectacular waterfall in south-eastern Savai’i that plunges from the rainforest deep into a fresh-water swimming pool.
The majestic and maginificent Robert Louis Stevenson Museum. A place where this famous Scottish poet and author fell in love. The Museum is perfectly restored back to its glorious day with some of the Author’s work and family memorabilias. The Museum possess the largest collection of Stevensoniana on public display in the world.
The Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral is located in the center of the capital city of the Independent State of Samoa, Apia. The new cathedral of Apia was opened to the public on 2 June 2014, after three years of repairs, with the presence of Archbishop Martin Krebs, apostolic nuncio in New Zealand. The church was rebuilt on the site of the original cathedral dating from 1857.
Samoa’s oldest known site of human occupation is Mulifanua on the island of Upolu, which dates back to about 1000 BC (about 3000 years ago).
Over the millennia, the Samoan people engaged in trade, battles and intermarriage of nobility with the neighbouring islands of Fiji and Tonga.
Contact with Europeans began in the early 18th century. Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen happened upon the islands in 1722. In 1768, French Admiral Louis de Bougainville visited the islands. He was so impressed with the Samoan’s numerous canoes and their great skill in handling them that he gave Samoa its original European name, “The Navigator Islands.”
Contact was limited before the 1830s, which is when English missionaries and traders began arriving.
Germany took possession of the western portion of the Samoan archipelago from 1899-1914.
At the outbreak of World War I, New Zealand troops took possession of the island country. Following WWI the newly formed League of Nations gave New Zealand its Mandate to administer the islands, which resulted in close ties between the two countries that still exist to this day.
The newly formed United Nations extended New Zealand’s mandate until January 1, 1962, when Western Samoa, or Samoa i Sisifo as the Samoans called it, became the first independent Polynesian nation.
In 1997 the island nation officially shortened its name to Samoa.
Samoa is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The economy of Samoa is dependent on agricultural exports, development aid and private remittances from overseas. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labor force, and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil and copra.
As with other Polynesian cultures with significant and unique tattoos, Samoans have two gender specific and culturally significant tattoos. For males, it is called the Pe’a and consists of intricate and geometrical patterns tattooed that cover areas from the knees up towards the ribs. A male who possesses such a tatau is called a soga’imiti. A Samoan girl or teine is given a malu, which covers the area from just below her knees to her upper thighs.
In traditional Samoan culture, men were responsible for daily cooking and preparation of special events.
Obesity rates in Samoa are among the highest in the world. A gene variant much more common among Samoans than others, is thought to partly explain high levels of obesity among people from Samoa.
On December 29, 2011, Samoa jumped the International Dateline, skipping December 30, 2011, to fall in line with the same day as New Zealand and Australia on December 31, 2011 – New Years Eve.