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1.a United States territory on the eastern part of the island of Samoa
2.(MeSH)A group of islands of SAMOA, in the southwest central Pacific. Its capital is Pago Pago. The islands were ruled by native chiefs until about 1869. An object of American interest beginning in 1839, Pago Pago and trading and extraterritorial rights were granted to the United States in 1878. The United States, Germany, and England administered the islands jointly 1889-99, but in 1899 they were granted to the United States by treaty. The Department of the Interior has administered American Samoa since 1951. (From Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1988, p44)
ancienne colonie brit. membre du Commonwealth (fr)[ClasseParExt.]
Samoa, Samoan Islands[Desc]
American Samoa (n.)
Navigator Island, Samoa[Hyper.]
American Samoa (n.) [MeSH]
ancienne colonie brit. membre du Commonwealth (fr)[ClasseParExt.]
Descripteurs EUROVOC (fr)[Thème]
Samoa, Samoan Islands[Situé]
American Samoa (pr. n.)
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2011)|
Amerika Sāmoa / Sāmoa Amelika
|Motto: "Samoa, Muamua Le Atua" (Samoan)
"Samoa, Let God Be First"
|Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner, Amerika Samoa
|Capital||Pago Pago1 (de facto), Fagatogo (seat of government)|
|Government||Unincorporated territory of the United States|
|-||President||Barack Obama (D)|
|-||Governor||Togiola Tulafono (D)|
|-||Lieutenant Governor||Ipulasi Aitofele Sunia (D)|
|-||Lower house||House of Representatives|
|Unincorporated territory of the United States|
|-||Deed of Cession of Tutuila||
|-||Deed of Cession of Manu'a||
|-||Annexation of Swains Island||
|-||Total||197.1 km2 (212th)
76.10 sq mi
|-||2010 census||55,519 (208th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2007 estimate|
|-||Total||$537 million (n/a)|
|-||Per capita||$8,000 (n/a)|
|Currency||US dollar (
|Time zone||Samoa Standard Time (SST) (UTC-11)|
|ISO 3166 code||AS|
|1||Fagatogo is identified as the seat of government.|
American Samoa (/əˈmɛrɨkən səˈmoʊ.ə/ ( listen); Samoan: Amerika Sāmoa, IPA: [aˈmɛɾika ˌsaːˈmoa]; also Amelika Sāmoa or Sāmoa Amelika) is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Independent State of Samoa (formerly known as Western Samoa). The main (largest and most populous) island is Tutuila, with the Manuʻa Islands, Rose Atoll, and Swains Island also included in the territory.
American Samoa is part of the Samoan Islands chain, located west of the Cook Islands, north of Tonga, and some 300 miles (500 km) south of Tokelau. To the west are the islands of the Wallis and Futuna group.
The 2010 census showed a total population of 55,519 people. The total land area is 76.1 square miles (197.1 km2), slightly more than Washington, D.C. American Samoa is the southernmost territory of the United States.
Contact with Europeans began in the early 18th century. Jacob Roggeveen (1659–1729), a Dutchman, was the first known European to sight the Samoan islands in 1722. This visit was followed by the French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville (1729–1811), who named them the Navigator Islands in 1768. Contact was limited before the 1830s which is when English missionaries and traders began arriving.
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. The site of this battle is called Massacre Bay.
Mission work in the Samoas had begun in late 1830 when John Williams of the London Missionary Society arrived from The Cook Islands and Tahiti. By that time, the Samoans had gained a reputation for being savage and warlike, as violent altercations had occurred between natives and European visitors. Nevertheless, by the late nineteenth century, French, British, German, and American vessels routinely stopped at Samoa, as they valued Pago Pago Harbor as a refueling station for coal-fired shipping and whaling.
In March 1889, a German naval force invaded a village in Samoa, and by doing so destroyed some American property. Three American warships then entered the Apia harbor and prepared to engage three German warships found there. Before guns were fired, a typhoon wrecked both the American and German ships. A compulsory armistice was called because of the lack of warships.
At the turn of the twentieth century, international rivalries in the latter half of the century were settled by the 1899 Tripartite Convention in which Germany and the United States partitioned the Samoan Islands into two parts: the eastern island group became a territory of the United States (the Tutuila Islands in 1900 and officially Manu'a in 1904) and is today known as American Samoa; the western islands, by far the greater landmass, became known as German Samoa after Britain vacated all claims to Samoa and accepted termination of German rights in Tonga and certain areas in the Solomon Islands and West Africa. Forerunners to the Tripartite Convention of 1899 were the Washington Conference of 1887, the Treaty of Berlin of 1889 and the Anglo-German Agreement on Samoa of 1899.
The following year, the U.S. formally occupied its portion: a smaller group of eastern islands, one of which surrounds the noted harbor of Pago Pago. After the United States Navy took possession of eastern Samoa on behalf of the United States, the existing coaling station at Pago Pago Bay was expanded into a full naval station, known as United States Naval Station Tutuila under the command of a commandant. 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 U.S. Naval trials, known as the "Trial of the Ipu", in Pago Pago, Taʻu, and aboard a Pacific Squadron gunboat. The territory became known as the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila.
After World War I, during the time of the Mau movement in Western Samoa (then a League of Nations mandate governed by New Zealand), there was a corresponding American Samoa Mau movement, led by Samuelu Ripley, a World War I veteran who was from Leone village, Tutuila. After meetings in the United States mainland, he was prevented from disembarking from the ship that brought him home to American Samoa and was not allowed to return because the American Samoa Mau movement was suppressed by the U.S. Navy. In 1930 the U.S. Congress sent a committee to investigate the status of American Samoa, led by Americans who had had a part in the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
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 U.S. military personnel. Samoans served in various capacities during World War II, including as combatants, medical personnel, code personnel, and ship repairmen.
In 1949, Organic Act 4500, a U.S. Department of Interior-sponsored attempt to incorporate American Samoa, was introduced in Congress. It was ultimately defeated, 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, often considered the territory's de facto and de jure capital (the United States regards Pago Pago as the official capital of the territory).
In time[when?], the Navy-appointed governor was replaced by a locally elected one. Although technically considered "unorganized" since 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 the territorial government officials, who do consider themselves to be self-governing.
While the two Samoas share language and ethnicity, their cultures have recently followed different paths, with American Samoans often emigrating to Hawaiʻi and the U.S. mainland, and adopting many U.S. customs, such as the playing of American football and baseball. Western Samoans have tended to emigrate instead to New Zealand, whose influence has made the sports of rugby and cricket more popular in the western islands. Travel writer Paul Theroux noted that there were marked differences between the societies in Samoa and American Samoa.
Due to economic hardship, military service has been seen as an opportunity in American Samoa and other U.S. Overseas territories, this has meant that there have been a disproportionate number of casualties per population compared to other parts of the United States. As of March 23, 2009, there have been 10 American Samoans who have died in Iraq, and 2 who have died in Afghanistan.
In 1938, the noted aviator Ed Musick and his crew died on the Pan American World Airways S-42 Samoan Clipper over Pago Pago, while on a survey flight to Auckland, New Zealand. Sometime after take-off, the aircraft experienced trouble, and Musick turned it back toward Pago Pago. While 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.
American Samoa and Pago Pago International Airport had historic significance with the U.S. Apollo Program. The astronaut crews of Apollo 10, 12, 13, 14, and 17 were retrieved a few hundred miles from Pago Pago and transported by helicopter to the airport prior to being flown to Honolulu on C-141 Starlifter military aircraft.
On September 29, 2009 at 17:48:11 UTC, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck 120 miles (190 km) off the coast of American Samoa, followed by smaller aftershocks. It was the largest earthquake of 2009. The quake occurred on the outer rise of the Kermadec-Tonga Subduction Zone. This is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates in the Earth's lithosphere meet and earthquakes and volcanic activity are common. The quake struck 11.2 miles (18.0 km) below the ocean floor and generated an onsetting tsunami that killed more than 170 people in the Samoa Islands and Tonga. Four waves with heights from 15 feet (4.6 m) to 20 feet (6.1 m) high were reported to have reached up to one mile (1.6 km) inland on the island of Tutuila.
The Defense Logistics Agency (DSCP) worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide 16’ x 16’ humanitarian tents to the devastated areas of American Samoa.
The government of American Samoa is defined under the Constitution of American Samoa. As an unincorporated territory, the Ratification Act of 1929 vested all civil, judicial, and military powers in its President, who in turn delegated authority to the Secretary of the Interior in Executive Order 10264, who in turn promulgated the Constitution of American Samoa on June 2, 1967 effective July 1, 1967.
The legislative power is vested in the American Samoa Fono, which has two chambers. The House of Representatives has 18 members, elected for a two year term, 17 in single-seat constituencies and one by a public meeting on Swain Island. The Senate also has 18 members, elected for a four year term by and from the chiefs of the islands.
The judiciary of American Samoa is independent of the executive and the legislature, and the High Court of American Samoa is the highest court below the United States Supreme Court in American Samoa, with the District Courts below it. The High Court is located in the capital of Pago Pago. It consists of a Chief Justice and an Associate Justice, appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.
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 in 1966 and came into effect in 1967. Executive power is exercised by the governor. 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 chief 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.
One issue that has caused quite a bit of criticism was a decision approved by the "Constitution Convention", held locally. The decision was to allow only U.S Nationals with Samoan ancestry to be legislators.
People born in American Samoa — including those born on Swains Island — are American nationals, but are not American citizens unless one of their parents is a U.S. citizen. As U.S. nationals, American Samoans may not vote in U.S. presidential elections. However, American Samoans are entitled to free and unrestricted entry into the United States.
Samoans are entitled to elect one non-voting delegate to the United States House of Representatives. Their delegate since 1989 has been Democrat Eni Faleomavaega. They also send delegates to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
In July 1997 the Constitution was amended to change the country's name from Western Samoa to Samoa (officially the "Independent State of Samoa"). Western Samoa had been known simply as Samoa in the United Nations since joining the organization in 1976. The neighboring U.S. territory of American Samoa protested the move, feeling that the change diminished its own Samoan identity. American Samoans still use the terms Western Samoa and Western Samoans.
American Samoa is administratively divided into three districts—Eastern District, Western District, and Manu'a District—and two "unorganized" atolls, Swains Island and the uninhabited Rose Atoll. The districts and unorganized atolls are subdivided into 74 villages. Pago Pago—the capital of American Samoa—is one of the largest villages and is located on the eastern side of Tutuila island in Ma'oputasi County district #9. Fagatogo is listed in the Constitution of American Samoa as the official seat of government, but it is not the capital.
American Samoa, located within the geographical region of Oceania, is one of only two possessions of the United States in the Southern Hemisphere, the other being Jarvis Island. Its total land area is 76.1 square miles (197.1 km2) – slightly larger than Washington, D.C. – consisting of five rugged, volcanic islands and two coral atolls. The five volcanic islands are: Tutuila, Aunu'u, Ofu, Olosega, Tau. The coral atolls are: Swains, and Rose Atoll. Of the seven islands, Rose Atoll is an uninhabited Marine National Monument.
Due to its positioning in the South Pacific Ocean, it is frequently hit by tropical cyclones between November and April. Rose Atoll is the easternmost point of the territory. American Samoa is the southernmost part of the United States. American Samoa is home to the National Park of American Samoa.
The Vailulu'u Seamount, an active submerged volcano, lies 28 miles (45 km) east of Ta'u in American Samoa. It was discovered in 1975 and has since been studied by an international team of scientists, contributing towards understanding of the Earth's fundamental processes. Growing inside the summit crater of Va'ilulu'u is an active underwater volcanic cone, named after Samoa's goddess of war, Nafanua.
Employment on the island falls into three relatively equal-sized categories of approximately 5,000 workers each: the public sector, the single remaining tuna cannery, and the rest of the private sector.
There are only a few federal employees in American Samoa and no active duty military personnel except members of the U.S. Coast Guard, although there is an Army Reserve unit. There is also a U.S. Army recruiting station in Utulai.
The overwhelming majority of public sector employees work for the American Samoa territorial government. The one tuna cannery, StarKist, exports several hundred million dollars worth of canned tuna to the United States each year. The other tuna cannery, Samoa Packing, a Chicken of the Sea subsidiary, closed in 2009 due to American Samoans being granted minimum wage. In early 2007 the Samoan economy was highlighted in the Congress as it was not mentioned in the minimum wage bill, at the request of the Samoan delegate to the United States House of Representatives, Eni Faleomavaega.[clarification needed]
From 2002 to 2007, real GDP of American Samoa increased at an average annual rate of 0.4 percent. The annual growth rates of real GDP ranged from -2.9 percent to +2.1 percent. The volatility in the growth rates of real GDP was primarily accounted for by changes in the exports of canned tuna. The tuna canning industry was the largest private employer in American Samoa during this period.
|Key Areas||2002||2003||2004||2005||2006||2007||2002-2007 AAGR (1)|
|GDP (millions of dollars)||536||527||553||550||548||532||-0.1%|
|Real GDP (millions of chained 2005 dollars)||527||535||539||550||534||537||0.4%|
|Real GDP per capita (chained 2005 dollars)||8,668||8,546||8,409||8,397||7,982||7,874||-1.9%|
1. Average annual growth rate. 2. Source: 2008 American Samoa Statistical Yearbook.
From 2002 to 2007, the population of American Samoa increased at an average annual rate of 2.3 percent, and real GDP per capita decreased at an average annual rate of 1.9 percent.
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 has, since inception, contained special provisions for American Samoa, citing its limited economy. American Samoa wages are based on the recommendations of a Special Industry Committee meeting bi-annually. Originally, the Act contained provisions for other territories, provisions which were phased out as those territories developed more diverse economies.
In 2007, the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 was passed, increasing minimum wage in American Samoa by 50¢ per hour in 2007 and another 50¢ per hour each year thereafter until the minimum wage in American Samoa equals the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in the United States. In response to the minimum wage increase, one of the two major tuna canning plants in American Samoa, Chicken of the Sea, was shut down in 2009 and 2,041 employees were laid off in the process. The other major tuna canning plant in American Samoa, StarKist, began laying off workers in August 2010, with plans to lay off a total of 800 workers due to the minimum wage increases and other rising operation costs. American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono has suggested that, rather than laying off minimum wage workers, the companies could reduce salaries and bonuses of top-tier employees.
The Unemployment rate was 29.8% (2005), but has been improved to 23.8% as of (2010). Samoa GDP is $537 million and its GDP - per capita (PPP) is $8,000 (2007). American Samoa economy is generally better than that of its neighbors like Samoa as American Samoa GDP - per capita (PPP) is more than twice as high as Samoa's.
American Samoa has a total of 241 km of highways (estimated in 2008). Ports and harbors include Aunu‘u, Auasi, Faleāsao, Ofu and Pago Pago. American Samoa has no railways. The country has three airports, all of which have paved runways. The main airport is Pago Pago International Airport. Per a 1999 estimate, there are no merchant marines in American Samoa.
Of the population, 91.6 percent are native Samoans, 2.8% are Asian, 1.1% are Caucasian, 4.2% are Mixed, and 0.3% are of other origin. Samoan, a language closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages, is spoken by 90.6 percent of the people, while 2.9% speak English, 2.4% speak Tongan, 2.1% speak other languages, and 2% speak other Pacific islander languages, with most people being bilingual. American Samoa is largely Christian (50% Christian Congregationalist, 20% Roman Catholic, 30% Protestant and other).
American Samoa is small enough to have just one ZIP code, 96799, and uses the U.S. Postal Service (state code "AS") for mail delivery. The island contains 23 primary schools and six secondary schools, all of which are operated by the American Samoa Department of Education. American Samoa Community College, founded in 1970, provides post-secondary education on the islands.
According to the World Christian Database, the population of American Samoa is 98.3% Christian, 0.7% agnostic, 0.3% Chinese Universalist, 0.3% Buddhist and 0.3% Baha'i.
|This section requires expansion. (June 2008)|
The ethnic culture of American Samoa is almost the same as the ethnic culture of Western Samoa (Upolu and Savaii). The U.S. sovereignty distinguishes the civilization of American Samoa from the sovereign Samoa.[clarification needed]
About 30 ethnic Samoans, many from American Samoa, currently play in the National Football League, and more than 200 play NCAA Division I college football. In recent years, it has been estimated that a Samoan male (either an American Samoan, or a Samoan living in the 50 United States) is anywhere from 40 to 56 times more likely to play in the NFL than a non-Samoan American. Nine-time All-Pro Junior Seau was one of the most famous Americans of Samoan heritage ever to play in the NFL, having been elected to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, though born and raised in the mainland U.S., is perhaps the most famous Samoan currently in the NFL, not having his hair cut since 2000 (and only because a USC coach told him he had to) and wearing it down during games in honor of his heritage. The football culture was featured on 60 Minutes January 17, 2010.
American Samoa high school athletes demonstrated their skills and agility of American Football during the Oceania qualifying game (Brisbane, Australia) in February 2012 against Australia where American Samoa obliterated Australia 93-7, earning team American Samoa 8th world ranking and a trip to the 2012 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Under-19 World Championship in Austin, Texas (June 27 to July 7th, 2012) where the top eight (8) Under-19 of age football nations across the world came to compete with the best. Team American Samoa (8) was the first team ever to play and score against Team USA (1), however losing at the end 27-6 in what was described as a tough game for Team USA. Team American Samoa over came the loss by beating Team Panama (4) 51-0 and Team France (6) 27-14 earning Team American Samoa 5th place in the 2012 IFAF Under-19 World Championship games and world recognition for a Samoan island country that has mastered the art of American Football.
The American Samoa national rugby league team represents the country in international rugby league. The team competed in the 1988, 1992, 1998 and 2004 Pacific Cup competitions. The team has also competed in the 2003 and 2004 world sevens qualifiers in the 2005 World sevens. America Samoa's first match in international Rugby League was in 1988 pacific cup against Tonga, Tonga won the match 38-14 which is still the biggest lost by an American Samoan side. American Samoa's biggest win was in 2004 against New Caledonia with the score ending at 62-6.
There is also a new movement which aims to set up a four team domestic competition in American Samoa.
A number of American Samoan athletes have been very visible in boxing, kickboxing, and professional wrestling (see especially Anoa'i family). World Wrestling Entertainment has employed many members from the Anoa'i family. Also in professional wrestling, a wrestler called Samoa Joe competes in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
Some Samoan Sumo wrestlers, most famously Musashimaru and Konishiki have reached the highest ranks of ozeki and yokozuna. Despite the relatively small population of the islands many Samoans and people of Samoan descent have reached high ranks in many professional sports leagues.
American Samoa's national soccer team is one of the newest teams in the world, and is also noted for being the world's weakest. They lost to Australia 31–0 in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match on April 11, 2001, but on 22 November 2011 they finally won their first ever game, beating Tonga 2-1 in a FIFA World Cup qualifier. The appearance of American Samoa's Jonny Saelua in the contest "apparently became the first transgender player to compete on a World Cup stage."
Track and field is not a popular sport in American Samoa, but it hit the limelight when they sent a 130kg sprinter, (Sogelau Tuvalu) to compete in the men's 100m of the IAAF World Championships at Daegu, South Korea, in August 2011. The 17-year-old finished last in his preliminary rounds but clocked a personal best 15.66 seconds despite running into a headwind of -0.9, surprisingly not the slowest time in the world championships history as the time is faster than 21.73 seconds set in 1997 by an injured Kim Collins who became the world champion six years later. Tuvalu was actually a shot putter but did not qualify for the shotput event so instead competed in the 100m. He was said to have trained for 4 months for the 100m, though did not wear spikes, and instead wore shot putters smooth bottom shoes.
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