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State

Capital

American Samoa

Currency unit

Tala

Connections

United States

Western Pacific

Western Samoa

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History

Pop. 33,000. This territory, like Western Samoa is inhabited by Polynesian peoples.

People are believed to have reached the islands at least as early as 500 BCE.

Before the Europeans arrived the main island, Tutuila, was ruled from Upola in what is now Western Samoa. The colonial powers, as in Africa, have divided what was once a single territory. The other large island, Manua, had their own chief.

The Dutchman Jacob Roggeveen sighted Manua in 1722, and visited. French arrived in 1768 and 1787. Missionaries arrived 1830s. In 1878 the US made a treaty with the Kingdom of Samoa to set up a naval station at Pago Pago. In 1889 Britain, Germany and the US agreed to Samoan neutrality and created a joint protectorate. In 1899 this was split giving the US the eastern islands and the Germans the western islands. The chiefs ceded the islands to the US in 1904. The treaty was recognized by Congress in 1929.

The islands are now a Territory of the US but can be regarded as a colony.

Association of Small Island States"

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Last revised 26/6/91


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