OFFICIAL NAME: O le Malo Tutoatasi o Samoa
CAPITAL CITY: Apia
POPULATION: 177000 (2007)
AREA: 2831 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Samoan, English
RELIGION: Mormons 26%, Catholics 21%, Methodists 12%, Pentecostals 8%, Adventists 4%, other Christians 26%, others 3%
CURRENCY CODE: WST
ENGLISH NAME: Samoa
POPULATION COMPOSITION: Polynesian Samoan 88%, mixed 10%, white 2%
GDP PER residents: 1552 $ (2007)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 67 years, women 73 years (2007)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.778
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 75
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .ws
Samoa, Western Samoa, Polynesian island state in the Pacific Ocean. Samoa consists of the two main islands of Savaii and Upolu as well as a few small islands. The population is Polynesian, and traditional forms of culture with self-sufficiency farming and coastal fishing are widespread. Also a complicated chieftain system is to some extent preserved; since independence in 1962, it has contributed to a turbulent political life.
The flag was officially adopted in 1949, but it was with only four stars in use from the year before. The stars form the Southern Cross as in the flag of New Zealand and stand as a symbol of Christianity. The colors are known from the 1800’s, and the red color symbolizes courage, the white purity, and the blue freedom.
The Samoa Islands (including the easternmost American Samoa) are of volcanic origin and mountainous. The climate is tropical and rainy with no seasons; however, there is a hurricane season from December to February, which at times causes great destruction. Precipitation is abundant everywhere (2500-8000 mm per year), but the porous subsoil makes the fresh water supply insecure. The original vegetation, tropical rainforest, is still found on the interior of the islands, but much has been cultivated. The soil is quickly depleted, and in the mountains, sweat farming techniques with long-term fallow are still used.
The vast majority of Samoan live on the coast, and many combine agriculture with coastal fishing and coral reef gathering. Cocoa and copra are grown for export, but fishing and light industry are of increasing importance. Commercial tuna catches have been booming since 1995, and in 1998 tuna accounted for more than half of exports. Most tuna is exported to two giant factories in Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa. The tuna success is concentrated in the capital, Apia, where a few hundred new fish skippers make good money and fish restaurants flourish.
The population growth is high, but many Samoans have emigrated, and in Auckland in New Zealand, Hawaii and Los Angeles have significant Samoan minorities. At home, few Samoa, the traditional Samoan daily life, continue to play a major role, and the religion, which is completely dominated by Christian denominations, is central. Both political and social life still refer to a hierarchical system of matai (chiefs) titles, and the many traditional houses, fale, open to all sides, contribute to the image of the unspoiled Pacific idyll.
- Countryaah: Do you know how many people there are in Samoa? Check this site to see population pyramid and resident density about this country.
As in other Polynesian societies, obesity and diabetes have developed into an epidemic in Samoa. It is estimated that 75% of the adult male population is overweight. The Samoans’ strong physique has meant that they are valued athletes in professional sports such as sumo wrestling, rugby and American football.
Samoan, which along with English is the official language of Samoa, belongs to the Polynesian branch of the oceanic languages. Characteristic of Samoan, as of many of the other Polynesian languages, is a single sound system paired with a largely context-based meaning content. In addition to small dialect differences between the districts, there is a special ceremonial language used before God, high-ranking people and guests. approximately half of the population also speaks English.
Samoa’s constitution of 1960 mixes Polynesian and British traditions. The executive lies with the head of state; in 2000 this is Tanumafili 2., which holds the post for life. After him, the head of state will be elected by the Legislative Assembly (Fono) for a five-year term. The Legislative Assembly has 47 members representing the Samoa people. They are elected by ordinary election, but the candidates are, with few exceptions, elected head of the family, matai, of whom there are approximately 20,000. In addition, two members of the non-Samoan population are elected. A prime minister is leading the government, which must have the confidence of parliament.
Samoa was populated approximately 1000 BC in connection with the spread of the Polynesian people. In prehistoric times, there were regular contacts to Fiji, Tonga, and other surrounding islands, and for a long period, probably between 950 and 1250 AD, Samoa was under Tongan control. Society was hierarchically organized without, however, forming a political entity. The individual villages were independent, and each extended family controlled one or more of the ranked chieftain titles (matai). From 1722 there was irregular contact with Europeans until the missionary John Williamsin 1830 laid the foundation for the introduction of Christianity. From 1857, Samoa was the center of the German Godeffroy Company’s trade and plantation activities in the Central and Western Pacific, and a significant number of people from other countries were brought to Samoa as labor. With the advent of firearms and Western technology, the struggle of the supreme chiefs for supremacy intensified, and in the late 1800’s. Samoa became an international issue of conflict; Germany and the United States divided the islands between themselves in 1899, while Britain left Samoa in return for Tonga and the Solomon Islands. After World War I, German Western Samoa passed to New Zealand as a mandate area under the League of Nations, from 1946 under the UN. The Samoans’ dissatisfaction with New Zealand rule was strong, and in 1962 they gained independence. The Matais system and traditional culture continue to hold a strong position in Samoa.