Samoa

 
Category:   World Travel Directory  :  Oceania  :  Samoa
 
Samoa, officially the Independent State of Samoa (formerly known as Western Samoa), is a country governing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976.

The entire island group, inclusive of American Samoa, was known as Navigators Islands before the 20th century because of the Samoans' seafaring skills.

Contact then with Europeans began in the early 18th century. Jacob Roggeveen, a Dutchman, was the first European to sight the Samoan islands in 1722. This visit was followed by a French explorer by the name of Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, the man who named them the Navigator Islands in 1768. Contact was limited before the 1830s which is when English missionaries and traders began arriving.

In July 1997, the constitution was amended to change the country's name from Western Samoa to Samoa. The U.S. territory of American Samoa protested the move, asserting that the change diminished its own identity. American Samoans still use the terms Western Samoa and Western Samoans to describe the independent State of Samoa and its inhabitants.

While the two Samoas share language and ethnicity, their cultures have recently followed different paths, with American Samoans often emigrating to Hawai?i 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.  Source


Samoa Facts

Population: 189 thousand

Capital: Apia

Currency: Tala

Area: 2,831 km2

Language: Samoan, English

Main Religion: Christian

Calling Code: +685

Time Zone: GMT - 11

Main Cities: Apia, Vaitela, Faleula, Siusega, Malie, Fasitoouta, Vaiusu, Afenga, Nofoalii, Solosolo