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Brief History of Samoa:
Samoa is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean. It has been inhabited for thousands of years. The first settlers were migrants from Southeast Asia. The first Europeans arrived in the 1700s, but did not start to settle until the 1830s.
At the start of the 1900s the Samoan islands were split into two sections. The eastern half of the islands became territories of the United States. Today they are called American Samoa. The western islands became part of Germany and were called Western Samoa. In 1914 control for Western Samoa moved to New Zealand. The islands became a fully independent nation in 1962.
In 1997 the country changed its official name to the Independent State of Samoa. It was called Western Samoa prior to this and it generally just called Samoa today.
The Geography of Samoa
Total Size: 2,944 square km
Size Comparison: slightly smaller than Rhode Island
Geographical Coordinates: 13 35 S, 172 20 W
World Region or Continent: Oceania
General Terrain: two main islands (Savaii, Upolu) and several smaller islands and uninhabited islets; narrow coastal plain with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in interior
Geographical Low Point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Geographical High Point: Mauga Silisili (Savaii) 1,857 m
Climate: tropical; rainy season (November to April), dry season (May to October)
Major cities: APIA (capital) 36,000 (2009)
The People of Samoa
Type of Government: mix of parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
Languages Spoken: Samoan (Polynesian), English
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
Religions: Congregationalist 34.8%, Roman Catholic 19.6%, Methodist 15%, Latter-Day Saints 12.7%, Assembly of God 6.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3.5%, other Christian 4.5%, Worship Centre 1.3%, other 1.7%, unspecified 0.1% (2001 census)
National Symbol: Southern Cross constellation (five, five-pointed stars)
National Anthem or Song: O le Fua o le Saolotoga o Samoa (The Banner of Freedom)
Economy of Samoa
Major Industries: food processing, building materials, auto parts
Agricultural Products: coconuts, bananas, taro, yams, coffee, cocoa
Natural Resources: hardwood forests, fish, hydropower
Major Exports: fish, coconut oil and cream, copra, taro, automotive parts, garments, beer
Major Imports: machinery and equipment, industrial supplies, foodstuffs
Currency: tala (SAT)
National GDP: $1,094,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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