American Samoa

Introduction Settled as early as 1000 B.C., Samoa was "discovered" by European explorers in the 18th century. International rivalries in the latter half of the 19th century were settled by an 1899 treaty in which Germany and the US divided the Samoan archipelago. The US formally occupied its portion - a smaller group of eastern islands with the excellent harbor of Pago Pago - the following year.
History

Pre-Western Contact
Main articles: History of Samoa and History of American Samoa

It is generally believed that the Samoan Islands were originally inhabited as early as 1000 BC.[2] Samoa was not reached by European explorers until the eighteenth century.

The pre-Western history of Eastern Samoa (now American Samoa) is inextricably bound with the history of Western Samoa (now independent Samoa). The Manu'a Islands of American Samoa has one of the oldest histories of Polynesia, in connection with the Tui Manua title, connected with the histories of the archipelagos of Fiji, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Tokelau and elsewhere in the Pacific, all of which had once been under Manua's occupation in other words Tu'i Manu'a from Manu'a ruled mostly all of the pacific including Tonga long before the Tu'i Tonga Empire. While Tu'i Manu'a ruled Tonga the external influences came in the form of imperial activities beginning with the Tu’i Pulotu empire in Fiji and followed by the Tu’i Manu’a empire in Samoa. In other words, Tonga was under considerable influence from the imperialism of both Fiji and Samoa. However, Tonga was able to free herself through bitter and bloody wars from the imperial domination of the Tu’i Manu’a -- which eventually led to the formation of the Tu’i Tonga empire around AD 950 in the person of ‘Aho’eitu, the first Tu’i Tonga -- whose father was a deified Samoan high chief, Tangaloa ‘Eitumâtupu’a, and mother a Tongan woman, Va’epopua, of great noble birth. This double origin entitled the Tu’i Tonga to hold both divine and secular offices. In principle, the close cultural and historical interlinkages between Fiji, Samoa and Tonga were essentially elitist, involving the intermarriage between regional aristocratic families. Many years later after Tonga freed herself from Samoa the Tongans took rule over Samoa until Samoa freed herself. Manu'a was the only island group that remained independent. The islands of Tutuila and Aunu'u were politically connected to 'Upolu island in what is now independent Samoa. It can be said that all the Samoa islands are politically connected today through the faamatai chiefly system and through family connections that are as strong as ever. This system of the faamatai and the customs of faasamoa originated with two of the most famous early chiefs of Samoa, who were both women and related, Nafanua and Salamasina.

Imperialization

Early Western contact included a battle in the eighteenth century between French explorers and islanders in Tutuila, for which the Samoans were blamed in the West, giving them a reputation for ferocity. Early nineteenth century Rarotongan missionaries to the Samoa islands were followed by a group of Western missionaries led by John Williams of the Congregationalist London Missionary Society in the 1830s, officially bringing Christianity to Samoa. Less than a hundred years later, the Samoan Congregationalist Church became the first independent indigenous church of the South Pacific.

In March of 1889, a German naval force invaded a village in Samoa, and by doing so destroyed some American property. Three American warships then entered the Samoan harbor and were prepared to fire on the three German warships found there. Before guns were fired, a typhoon sank both the American and German ships. A compulsory armistice was called because of the lack of warships.

As a U.S. Territory

International rivalries in the latter half of the nineteenth century were settled by the 1899 Treaty of Berlin in which Germany and the U.S. divided the Samoan archipelago. The U.S. formally occupied its portion—a smaller group of eastern islands with the noted harbor of Pago Pago—the following year. The western islands are now the independent state of Samoa.

After the U.S. took possession of Samoa, the U.S. Navy built a coaling station on Pago Pago Bay for its Pacific Squadron and appointed a local Secretary. The navy secured a Deed of Cession of Tutuila in 1900 and a Deed of Cession of Manuʻa in 1904. The last sovereign of Manuʻa, the Tui Manuʻa Elisala, was forced to sign a Deed of Cession of Manuʻa following a series of US Naval trials, known as the "Trial of the Ipu", in Pago Pago, Taʻu, and aboard a Pacific Squadron gunboat.

After World War I, during the time of the Mau movement in Western Samoa (then a New Zealand protectorate), there was a corresponding American Samoa Mau movement, led by Samuel Sailele Ripley, who was from Leone village and was a WWI war veteran. After meetings in America, he was prevented from disembarking from the ship that brought him home to American Samoa and was not allowed to return. The American Samoa Mau movement having been suppressed by the US Navy, in 1930 the US Congress sent a committee to investigate the status of American Samoa, led by Americans who had had a part in the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

In 1938, famous aviator Ed Musick and his crew died on the Pan American World Airways S-42 Samoan Clipper over Pago Pago, on a survey flight to Auckland, New Zealand. Sometime after take-off the aircraft experienced trouble and Musick turned it back toward Pago Pago. As the crew began dumping fuel in preparation for an emergency landing a spark in the fuel pump caused an explosion that tore the aircraft apart in mid-air.

During World War II, U.S. Marines in Samoa outnumbered the local population, having a huge cultural influence. Young Samoan men from the age of 14 and above were combat trained by US military personnel. Samoans served in various capacities during WWII, including as combatants, medical personnel, code personnel, ship repair, and others.

After the war, Organic Act 4500, a U.S. Department of Interior-sponsored attempt to incorporate Samoa, was defeated in Congress, primarily through the efforts of Samoan chiefs, led by Tuiasosopo Mariota. These chiefs' efforts led to the creation of a local legislature, the American Samoa Fono which meets in the village of Fagatogo, the territory's de facto and de jure capital. (See the Capital City section below for more information on Fagatogo.)

In time, the Navy-appointed governor was replaced by a locally elected one. Although technically considered "unorganized" in that the U.S. Congress has not passed an Organic Act for the territory, American Samoa is self-governing under a constitution that became effective on July 1, 1967. The U.S. Territory of American Samoa is on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories, a listing which is disputed by territorial government officials.

Geography Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand
Geographic coordinates: 14 20 S, 170 00 W
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 199 sq km
land: 199 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Rose Island and Swains Island
Area - comparative: slightly larger than Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 116 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical marine, moderated by southeast trade winds; annual rainfall averages about 3 m; rainy season (November to April), dry season (May to October); little seasonal temperature variation
Terrain: five volcanic islands with rugged peaks and limited coastal plains, two coral atolls (Rose Island, Swains Island)
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Lata Mountain 964 m
Natural resources: pumice, pumicite
Land use: arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 15%
other: 75% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: typhoons common from December to March
Environment - current issues: limited natural fresh water resources; the water division of the government has spent substantial funds in the past few years to improve water catchments and pipelines
Geography - note: Pago Pago has one of the best natural deepwater harbors in the South Pacific Ocean, sheltered by shape from rough seas and protected by peripheral mountains from high winds; strategic location in the South Pacific Ocean
Politics

Politics of American Samoa takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic dependency, whereby the Governor is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. American Samoa is an unincorporated and unorganized territory of the United States, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior. Its constitution was ratified 1966 and came into effect 1967. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the legislature. The American political parties (Republican and Democratic) exist in American Samoa, but few politicians are aligned with the parties. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

There is also the traditional village politics of the Samoa Islands, the "fa'amatai" and the "fa'asamoa", which continues in American Samoa and in independent Samoa, and which interacts across these current boundaries. The Fa'asamoa is the language and customs, and the Fa'amatai the protocols of the "fono" (council) and the chiefly system. The Fa'amatai and the Fono take place at all levels of the Samoan body politic, from the family, to the village, to the region, to national matters. The "matai" (chiefs) are elected by consensus within the fono of the extended family and village(s) concerned. The matai and the fono (which is itself made of matai) decide on distribution of family exchanges and tenancy of communal lands. The majority of lands in American Samoa and independent Samoa are communal. A matai can represent a small family group or a great extended family that reaches across islands, and to both American Samoa and independent Samoa.

People Population: 57,663 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 33.6% (male 10,049/female 9,345)
15-64 years: 63.5% (male 19,041/female 17,556)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 606/female 1,066) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 23.6 years
male: 23.4 years
female: 23.8 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.262% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 21.83 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 3.24 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -21.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.075 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.085 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.568 male(s)/female
total population: 1.062 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 8.88 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9.47 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.26 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 76.25 years
male: 72.69 years
female: 80.02 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.07 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: American Samoan(s) (US nationals)
adjective: American Samoan
Ethnic groups: native Pacific islander 92.9%, Asian 2.9%, white 1.2%, mixed 2.8%, other 0.2% (2000 census)
Religions: Christian Congregationalist 50%, Roman Catholic 20%, Protestant and other 30%
Languages: Samoan 90.6% (closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages), English 2.9%, Tongan 2.4%, other Pacific islander 2.1%, other 2%
note: most people are bilingual (2000 census)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 98%
female: 97% (1980 est.)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Territory of American Samoa
conventional short form: American Samoa
abbreviation: AS
Dependency status: unincorporated and unorganized territory of the US; administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior
Government type: NA
Capital: name: Pago Pago
geographic coordinates: 14 16 S, 170 42 W
time difference: UTC-11 (6 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: none (territory of the US); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are three districts and two islands* at the second order; Eastern, Manu'a, Rose Island*, Swains Island*, Western
Independence: none (territory of the US)
National holiday: Flag Day, 17 April (1900)
Constitution: ratified 2 June 1966, effective 1 July 1967
Legal system: NA
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President George W. BUSH of the US (since 20 January 2001); Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001)
head of government: Governor Togiola TULAFONO (since 7 April 2003)
cabinet: Cabinet made up of 12 department directors
elections: under the US Constitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as American Samoa, do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held 2 and 16 November 2004 (next to be held in November 2008)
election results: Togiola TULAFONO elected governor; percent of vote - Togiola TULAFONO 55.7%, Afoa Moega LUTU 44.3%
Legislative branch: bicameral Fono or Legislative Assembly consists of the House of Representatives (21 seats; 20 members are elected by popular vote and 1 is an appointed, nonvoting delegate from Swains Island; to serve two-year terms) and the Senate (18 seats; members are elected from local chiefs to serve four-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held 7 November 2006 (next to be held in November 2008); Senate - last held 2 November 2004 (next to be held in November 2008)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independents 18
note: American Samoa elects one nonvoting representative to the US House of Representatives; election last held on 7 November 2006 (next to be held in November 2008); results - Eni F. H. FALEOMAVAEGA reelected as delegate
Judicial branch: High Court (chief justice and associate justices are appointed by the US Secretary of the Interior)
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party [Oreta M. TOGAFAU]; Republican Party [Tautai A. F. FAALEVAO]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: Interpol (subbureau), IOC, SPC, UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (territory of the US)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (territory of the US)
Flag description: blue, with a white triangle edged in red that is based on the outer 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 staff and a war club
Culture

The culture in American Samoa is almost the same as in Western Samoa (Upolu). The U.S. military and agricultural occupation distinguishes the civilization of American Samoa from the sovereign Samoa.[8] This short section requires expansion.

Sports

About 30 ethnic Samoans, many from American Samoa, currently play in the National Football League. A 2002 article from ESPN[9] estimated that a Samoan male (either an American Samoan, or a Samoan living in the 50 United States) is 40 times more likely to play in the NFL than a non-Samoan American.

A number have also ventured into professional wrestling (see especially Anoa'i family).

American Samoa's national soccer team is considered one of the newest teams in the world. It also has the distinction of suffering the worst loss in international soccer history: they lost to Australia 31 - 0 in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match on April 11, 2001.

Economy Economy - overview: American Samoa has a traditional Polynesian economy in which more than 90% of the land is communally owned. Economic activity is strongly linked to the US with which American Samoa conducts most of its commerce. Tuna fishing and tuna processing plants are the backbone of the private sector, with canned tuna the primary export. Transfers from the US Government add substantially to American Samoa's economic well being. Attempts by the government to develop a larger and broader economy are restrained by Samoa's remote location, its limited transportation, and its devastating hurricanes. Tourism is a promising developing sector.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $510.1 million (2003 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $333.8 million (2005)
GDP - real growth rate: 3% (2003)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $5,800 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Labor force: 17,630 (2005)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 34%
industry: 33%
services: 33% (1990)
Unemployment rate: 29.8% (2005)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%
Budget: revenues: $121 million (37% in local revenue and 63% in US grants)
expenditures: $127 million (FY96/97)
Agriculture - products: bananas, coconuts, vegetables, taro, breadfruit, yams, copra, pineapples, papayas; dairy products, livestock
Industries: tuna canneries (largely supplied by foreign fishing vessels), handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Electricity - production: 180 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 167.4 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - consumption: 4,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 3,807 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Exports: $445.6 million (FY04 est.)
Exports - commodities: canned tuna 93% (2004 est.)
Exports - partners: Indonesia 28.2%, India 22.3%, Australia 15.3%, Japan 11.2%, NZ 7.1% (2006)
Imports: $308.8 million (FY04 est.)
Imports - commodities: materials for canneries 56%, food 8%, petroleum products 7%, machinery and parts 6% (2004 est.)
Imports - partners: Australia 66%, Samoa 13.8%, NZ 10.8% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: important financial support from the US, more than $40 million in 1994
Debt - external: $NA
Currency (code): US dollar (USD)
Currency code: USD
Exchange rates: the US dollar is used
Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 10,400 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 2,200 (2004)
Telephone system: general assessment: NA
domestic: good telex, telegraph, facsimile and cellular telephone services; domestic satellite system with 1 Comsat earth station
international: country code - 1-684; satellite earth station - 1 (Intelsat-Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0 (2005)
Radios: 57,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (2006)
Televisions: 14,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .as
Internet hosts: 1,824 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: NA
Transportation Airports: 3 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2006)
Roadways: total: 185 km (2004)
Ports and terminals: Pago Pago
Military Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the US
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: Tokelau included American Samoa's Swains Island (Olohega) in its 2006 draft constitution