Samoa (Samoan. Sāmoa), the official name is the Independent State
of Samoa (Samoan. Malo Sa'oloto Tuto'atasi o Samoa), also sometimes
Western Samoa is an island state in the South Pacific Ocean,
occupying the western part of the archipelago of the same name.
Previous names were German Samoa (1900-1914) and Western Samoa
(1914-1997). The state was admitted to the United Nations on
December 15, 1976, since 1970 it has been a member of the
Commonwealth of Nations.
The capital of the country - the city of Apia - is located on the island of Upolu, which is one of the two largest islands in the state of Samoa.
The exact origin of the country's name is unknown. There are several
versions regarding its origin.
According to one of them, the word "Samoa" is an abbreviated form of the word Sa-ia-Moa, which is translated from the Samoan language as "sacred to Moa." One of the legends is connected with this version, according to which the God of the Universe Tagaloa had a son named Moa and a daughter named Lu. After getting married, Lu gave birth to a son, whom she also named Lu. One night while sleeping, Tagaloa heard his grandson Lou humming the words "Moa-Lu, Moa-Lu". After a while, Lu changed their order and began to sing "Lu-Moa, Lu-Moa", that is, putting his name in front of the name of his uncle Moa. Tagaloa, hearing this, became very angry, considering his grandson to be too arrogant. He asked Lou to scratch his back. When Lou started to do this, Tagaloa grabbed the boy and started beating him. Frightened, Lu fled and went to live on earth. Tagaloa also warned his grandson to honor his uncle Moa. Lou remembered the order already on earth and decided to name his new home "Sa-ia-Moa". Subsequently, this name was transformed into "Samoa".
Despite this, another version is most popular among local residents. The Samoans indicate that "Moa" means either "center" or "chicken" (however, in the Manu'a Islands, this word is not used in this context; there, the word manu means chicken). Therefore, the name of the state can be translated from the Samoan language as “the sacred center of the universe” or as “the place of the moa” (moa is a local poultry resembling a chicken).
In addition, "Moa" is the surname worn by the holders of the royal title of Tuimanua.
The country is located in the western part of the Samoa archipelago between 171°20' and 172°50' W. and between 14°10' and 13°20'S sh.
The total land area is 2832 km² and includes two large islands - Savaii (1708 km²) and Upolu (1118.7 km²) - and 8 small ones (5.71 km²), of which only Manono and Apolima are inhabited.
Samoa owns 130,000 km² of the exclusive coastal economic zone and 23,100 reefs and lagoons (no more than 5 m deep).
The country borders the waters of Tokelau in the north; American Samoa in the east; Tonga - in the south; the islands of Wallis and Futuna in the southwest, and Tuvalu in the northwest.
The relief of the islands that make up Samoa is predominantly
mountainous, since the islands are a continuation of the underwater
ridge of volcanic origin. The highest points are Silisili (Savaii) (1857
m) and Fito (1115 m) (Upolu). The peaks on the two large islands are cut
by deep gorges, in which wide valleys are located. The slopes facing the
sea are mostly steep and precipitous. The coastline is narrow, indented
with lagoons and coral reefs. It is in the low coastal strip between the
mountain ranges and the sea that the villages of the Samoans are
The Russian navigator O. E. Kotzebue, who visited Samoa in 1824, wrote about "the generosity of the local nature, dressing even the most steep cliffs in a green outfit."
The climate of Samoa is humid tropical. The average annual
temperature is 26.5 °C, the annual amplitude does not exceed 2 °C.
According to the amount of precipitation, the year is divided into 2 seasons: wet (November - April), when the trade wind circulation is often disturbed by cyclones coming from the northwest, and drier (May - October) - at this time, southeast trade winds prevail on the islands. The plains receive 2000-3000 mm of precipitation per year; their number increases with height and reaches 5000-7000 mm. On the windward (southern and eastern) slopes, more rain falls than on the leeward (northern and western) slopes. The average relative humidity is 80%. Relative humidity, on average, is 80%, the average annual number of hours of sunshine is 2500.
The prevailing wind direction is northeast, which accounts for 80% of the wet season and 50% of the dry season. Average wind speeds are about 20 km/h with gusts up to 48 km/h.
Samoa is periodically affected by tropical cyclones. In 1990 and 1991, the islands were hit by cyclones Ofa and Val, in which wind speeds reached 180 km/h. The most devastating for the country was the "hurricane of the century" that hit Western Samoa in January 1966. The wind speed reached 200 km/h.
Seismographs of the observatory in the city of Apia quite often
register tremors, but these tremors have not yet caused destruction.
Despite the fact that all the islands are of volcanic origin, only
Savaii can be called volcanically active. The last major eruption dates
from 1700, the smaller ones from 1904-1906. Part of the territory of the
island of Savaii, covered with young lavas, is almost devoid of
vegetation. However, in other areas, as a result of erosion and
weathering of older volcanic rocks, fertile soils were formed. There are
especially many such lands on the island of Upolu.
No minerals have been found in the country.
Samoa is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on all sides. The islands of
Upolu and Savaii are separated by the Apolima Strait, in which the
smaller islands of Manono and Apolima are located.
Small waterfall at Upolu
More than 3/4 of the country's population has access to piped water. However, a large amount of water is lost due to leaks due to poor infrastructure and poor maintenance of water pipelines.
Samoa's volcanic origin has had a major impact on the area, which is replete with shallow rivers and waterfalls, except for the western part of Upolu and most of Savaii. The traditional sources of fresh water for the local population in these areas are groundwater and rainwater. On Savaii, rivers are used for these purposes, despite the fact that they are located closer to the coast. During the dry season, water bodies often dry up. In many areas, the amount of water supplied is insufficient to meet drinking and hygiene needs.
In Apia, the quantity and quality of the fresh water supply is declining due to the unsuitability of the aqueducts to the fast-flowing rivers, which are the main source of fresh water in the capital. Some areas of Savaii also experience acute water shortages throughout the year. Local residents meet the needs by collecting rainwater in cisterns.
Despite heavy rainfall, almost all water evaporates and is also absorbed by the porous soil within 3-6 months after the end of the rainy season.
Most of the soils located in the mountainous regions of the islands are formed from volcanic ash. For the most part, it contains olivine basalt and, at the same time, is poor in potassium and phosphorus, however, frequent precipitation and favorable temperature conditions increase its fertility.
In Samoa, there are differences between the soils of mountains, uplands and lowlands. The mountainous regions tend to increase the thickness of the soil layer with height, although, as a rule, the soils of these regions of Samoa are not used for agriculture.
The flora of Samoa is diverse (there are about 775 plant species, of
which 30% are endemic to the archipelago). Among the plants there are
lat. Atuna racemosa, lat. Bischofia javanica, lat. Canarium harveyi,
lat. Glochidion ramiflorum, lat. Gnetum gnemon, lat. Hoya australis,
lat. Macaranga harveyana. Two-thirds of the surface of the islands is
occupied by tropical rainforests, which are characterized by an
abundance of tree ferns. There are valuable species with very hard wood.
Large-leaved myrtle and orchids are widespread. Forests are located
mainly on mountain slopes, while cultivated plantations dominate on the
coast. On the tops of the highest mountains, forests give way to small
forests and shrubs. 150 species of Samoan plants are used for medicinal
The fauna of Samoa, like other islands of Polynesia, is relatively poor. Before the advent of human mammals on the islands, bats lived on land, and dolphins lived in coastal waters. Ancient Polynesian sailors brought dogs and pigs here, and Europeans brought cattle and horses. Also with the ships, rats penetrated the islands, settled throughout the archipelago.
Birds are much more diverse (honey plants, weed chickens, pigeons, small parrots, etc.). In total, 43 species of birds constantly live on the island, of which 8 are endemic, for example, the scalloped pigeon. The Polynesians brought chickens here, and the Europeans brought other poultry. Reptiles include lizards (7 species) and snakes (1 species). Many insects, especially butterflies (21 species). Turtles and crabs are found on the coast.
Ocean waters abound with fish, including valuable commercial species. Far from the coast, sharks, tuna, mackerel, swordfish are found, in shallow waters - mullet, conger eels. Numerous mollusks live on coral reefs.
The islands of Samoa, like the islands of Fiji and Tonga, were believed by some scholars to have been settled in the 5th century AD. during the migration of representatives of the Lapita culture from the Bismarck Islands located in Western Melanesia.
According to other sources, settlement took place at the turn of the 2nd and 1st millennium BC.
Samoa was one of the centers of formation of the Polynesian culture. It was from Samoa that the development of the islands and atolls of the central and eastern parts of the Pacific Ocean began.
There is very little reliable information about the history of Samoa before the arrival of Europeans there. From legends and traditions, as well as from the materials of a few archaeological excavations, it is known that between the tribes that inhabited Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, there was a constant bloody rivalry for dominance in the region. The empire of Tu'i Pulotu (Tonga) was succeeded by the empire of Tu'i Manu'a (Samoa), and it was succeeded by Tu'i Tonga (c. 950 AD). Aristocratic families were connected by marriage, which supported the cultural and historical proximity of the states.
By the middle of the 17th century, the ports of Samoa carried out the main trading functions in the region, both within Polynesia and in trade with Europeans.
Europeans on the islands
The European discoverer of the islands was the Dutch traveler Jacob Roggeveen, who landed on Samoa in 1722. Subsequently, in 1768, the French navigator Louis Antoine de Bougainville visited the archipelago, calling it the Navigators' Islands. Until the 1830s, when English missionaries and traders began to arrive on the islands, contact with outsiders was very limited. In August 1830, a member of the London Missionary Society, John Williams, began his missionary work in Samoa. The Samoans had a reputation for being a wild and warlike people, which was due to the frequent clashes between local residents and the French, British, Germans and Americans, who used Samoa until the end of the 19th century to refuel steamships with coal. By this time, the process of decomposition of the primitive communal system and the formation of a class society was underway in Samoa: the islanders were divided into nobility and ordinary community members, rather large territorial associations arose, headed by supreme leaders.
By the middle of the 19th century, rivalry between Germany, Britain and the United States flared up for control of the islands, which was expressed in sending warships to the area of the islands, supporting the warring leaders of Samoa, supplying them with weapons, organizing training, and even in direct participation in internecine clashes. Already from the middle of the 19th century, these three states began to increase their presence in Samoa: in 1847, Britain opened its consulate in Apia; the United States followed in 1853 and Germany in 1861. In 1881, the rivals agreed to recognize the Samoan king of the supreme leader Malietoa Laupepa, but King Laupepa in 1885 came into open conflict with the Germans, who in response began to support his main rival Tamasese. Taking advantage of the actual domination of Germany in Samoa and the lack of unity among the British and Americans, the Germans overthrew Laupepa in 1887, sent him into exile, and proclaimed Tamasese king. The German captain Brandeis, appointed prime minister, imposed high taxes on all Samoans and, relying on German warships, tried to strengthen his position on the islands with bloody repressions. These actions led to a series of protests among the indigenous people. At the head of the dissatisfied stood the leader Mataafa, who was very popular. After the victory of the warriors of Mataafa over the troops of Tamasese, the German authorities had to recall Brandeis. Stung by this failure, the German consul ordered an attack from the sea on the villages of Mataafa's supporters.
Concerned about the aggressive actions of the Germans, the governments of Britain and the United States sent armed forces to the islands to defend their interests. This led to an eight-year civil war, actually inspired by opposing external forces. All three countries sent their warships to Apia, and a large-scale war seemed inevitable, but on March 16, 1889, serious damage was caused to the fleet by a strong storm, which led to an end to the military conflict. As a result of the Berlin Agreement, a protectorate of three powers was established over the islands.
However, already at the end of 1899, the Samoa Islands were divided
into two parts (the dividing line passed along 171 ° W): the eastern
group, now known as "American Samoa", became the territory of the United
States (Tituila Islands - in 1900, Manua - in 1905); the western islands
were called "German Samoa", and Britain renounced claims in exchange for
the return of Fiji and some other Melanesian territories.
The first German governor of Samoa was Wilhelm Solf, who later became secretary of the colonies of the German Empire. During the years of German rule, protests against the colonial regime were constantly taking place in the country. The largest uprising, which was brutally suppressed by the German troops, occurred in 1908. The suppression of this uprising was the impetus for the emergence of the Mau movement, which existed until the 1960s.
Samoa in the 20th century
On August 29, 1914, a New Zealand detachment of 1,374 men landed on Upolu to capture a German radio station. Not having received a rebuff from the Germans, the New Zealanders quickly took possession of the islands.
From the end of World War I until 1962, Samoa was administered by New Zealand, initially under a League of Nations mandate and later by the UN. Approximately one-fifth of Samoa's population died in the 1918-1919 influenza epidemic, in part because New Zealand authorities failed to enforce quarantine.
In the early 1920s, Western Samoans founded the patriotic organization Mau (Opinion) with the slogan "Samoa for the Samoans", a non-violent popular movement against the New Zealand administration's mistreatment of the people of Samoa. The Mau was led by Olaf Frederick Nelson, half Samoan, half Swedish. Among the forms of protest used were non-payment of taxes, the cessation of work on plantations, disobedience to the colonial court, the creation of their own governments. Nelson was expelled from the country during the 1920s and early 1930s, but continued to support the organization financially and politically.
On December 28, 1929, the newly elected leader of the Tupua movement, Tamasese Lealofi, led the Mau to a peaceful demonstration in Apia. New Zealand police attempted to arrest one of the leaders of the demonstration, which led to a clash. The police began firing indiscriminately at the crowd with a Lewis machine gun. The leader of the movement Tamasese, who tried to bring calm and order among the demonstrators, was killed. Another 10 demonstrators died on the same day, and 50 were shot and maimed as a result of police actions. This day in Samoa is known as Black Saturday. Despite constant repression, the Mau grew while remaining a non-violent movement.
After World War II, Western Samoa changed from a mandate to a Trust Territory of New Zealand, which began political reforms, including granting limited self-government to the Territory. In 1961, a referendum was held, during which the inhabitants of Western Samoa voted for independence. An agreement was signed with New Zealand, according to which she took over the defense of Western Samoa, as well as its representation in relations with foreign states. On January 1, 1962, Western Samoa became the first Pacific island nation to gain independence.
In July 1997, the country's constitution was amended, removing the word "Western" from the name of the country and fixing the new name of the state - "The Independent State of Samoa", under which it joined the UN in 1976. The administration of American Samoa protested against the renaming, arguing that by doing so, the national identity of American Samoa itself was called into question. In American Samoa, the expressions “Western Samoa”, “Western Samoan” are still used in relation to Samoa and its inhabitants.
Despite the fact that the inhabitants of both Samoans belong to the same nation and have the same language, there are cultural differences between them. Residents of Eastern (American) Samoa usually move to Hawaii and the US mainland and take up specific American hobbies such as American football and baseball; the inhabitants of Western Samoa are usually oriented towards New Zealand, whose influence can be estimated from the great popularity of rugby and cricket.
Samoa in the 21st century
On December 17, 2011, Samoa joined the WTO.
On December 31, 2011, Samoa changed its time zone from UTC-10 to UTC+14. This was technically accomplished through a cancellation on December 30th. As a result, Samoa ended up west of the International Date Line. This was done to simplify economic interaction with Australia and New Zealand.
The 1960 constitution, which took effect upon independence, established a monarchical form of government based on the Westminster parliamentary system, combined with local traditions and customs.
The legislative body of the country is a unicameral parliament - the National Legislative Assembly (Fono Aoao Faitulafono). It consists of one representative each from 41 territorial constituencies, six additional members, as well as 2 deputies elected by people included in the special electoral rolls of citizens of non-Samoan origin. Only citizens of Samoa have the right to be elected to the Assembly. Deputies are elected on the basis of universal suffrage. The term of office of deputies is 5 years.
At the first sitting after the election, the members of parliament elect a speaker from among themselves.
The Head of State of Samoa may, at any time, adjourn Parliament and dissolve it after consultation with the Prime Minister.
The Parliament of Samoa is vested with the power to legislate by passing bills. After the bill is approved by the parliament, it is sent to the head of state, who must sign or reject the bill on the recommendation of the prime minister.
The executive power of Samoa is concentrated in the hands of the head of state.
The title of the head of state in Samoan is called O le Ao o le Malo (Samoan. O le Ao o le Malö), which can be translated as “leader of the government”: ao is the title of leaders, it means little “government”.
In 1962, when Samoa gained independence, the two paramount chiefs, Malietoa Tanumafili II and Tupua Tamasesa Meaola, were granted lifelong rights to hold the post of head of state. Tupua Tamasese Meaole died in 1963, Malietoa Tanumafili II died on May 11, 2007 at the age of 95. At that time, he was the oldest living monarch in the entire world. His successor, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi (Tupua Tamasese Meaole's eldest son), was elected by the parliament to the post of head of state, according to the constitution, for a five-year term on 17 June 2007.
According to the Constitution, the head of state (with the exception of the first two O le Ao o le Malo) is elected by the Legislative Assembly from among its members for 5 years and can be re-elected an unlimited number of times. The head of state has mainly representative functions, but has the right to veto decisions of parliament. In fact, only members of the Malietoa and Tupua families apply for this post.
The Cabinet of Ministers is responsible for the general direction and control of the executive power of the country, and also bears collective responsibility to the Parliament. The Cabinet of Ministers is headed by the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the head of state on the recommendation of Parliament. Also, the head of state, on the advice of the prime minister, appoints no less than eight and no more than twelve ministers of the country from among the deputies of the Legislative Assembly.
The judicial system of Samoa is represented by the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, the Magistrates' Courts, the Village Fono and the Land and Titles Court.
The Supreme Court of Samoa is the court of first instance in criminal and civil cases. It consists of the President of the Supreme Court and several judges. The chairman is appointed by the head of state on the advice of the prime minister. Other judges of the Supreme Court can only be persons who have experience in practice as barristers in Samoa or another state provided for by the law of Samoa for at least 8 years. They are appointed by the head of state on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission.
The Supreme Court also hears appeals from World Court decisions in claims worth $40 or more.
The Chief Justice and his other justices make up the Court of Appeals, which hears appeals from Supreme Court decisions in claims worth $400 or more.
The constitution also provides for the creation of a magistrates' court, or faamasino fesoasoani, which hears civil suits up to $40 in damages (up to $200 in some cases) and criminal cases up to $40 in damages (up to $200 in some cases).
The Magistrates' Court operates under the Magistrates' Court Act
1969. It handles civil lawsuits up to $1,000 and criminal cases up to
$1,000 in damages.
The country is divided into 41 constituencies called faipule (Samoan faipule). They do not perform any administrative functions. Voting rights are granted to all citizens of Samoa who have reached the age of 21.
Previously, only matai ("chiefs") had the right to vote. Universal suffrage was introduced in 1991, but so far only matais can run for parliament. There are more than 25,000 matai in the country, about 5% of which are women.
At the local level, the matai govern the villages and districts. The village is inhabited by several aing ("communities"). The head of the most noble ainga is the matai of the whole village. He sits on the village council (Fono) along with the heads of other communities. Ten to twelve villages make up a district. In the guest house of the most influential village, the county fono gathers, in which the heads of all villages participate.
The district (itumalo) is governed by the district chief, while in each itumalo he bears his own title, for example:
Aana - Tui Aana;
Aiga-i-le-Tai - Leiataua;
Atua - Tui Atua;
Vaa-o-Fonoti - Talamaivao;
Palauli - Lilomaiava;
Satupaitea - Tonumaitea;
Tuamasaga - Malietoa.
The main political parties in the country are the Samoa United Democratic Party (formerly the Samoa National Development Party, SNDP) and the Human Rights Defense Party (HRPP). There are also the Samoa Party, the Samoa Progressive Political Party and the Christian Democratic Party.
In 1991, HRPP won 39 out of 40 seats in Fono, and in the April 1996 elections, 34 out of 49 seats.
In the March 2001 elections, HRPP came first with 24 seats in Fono, but did not win a parliamentary majority (SNDP won 13 seats, United Independents 11).
In March 2006, HRPR won 33 seats, United Democratic Party of Samoa 10 seats, United Independents 6 seats.
Foreign policy and international relations
Samoa is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the United Nations (UN) and its specialized agencies, the Asian Development Bank, the Pacific Islands Forum, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and other international organizations.
Diplomatic relations between the USSR and Western Samoa were established in 1976. However, there is no Russian embassy in Samoa; The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in this country (concurrently) since November 2012 is Tereshchenko Valery Yakovlevich, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to New Zealand.
Samoa does not have a formal defense structure or a regular military force. Unofficial military ties exist with New Zealand, which, under the 1962 Treaty of Friendship, undertakes to respond to any appeal from Samoa for help.
The territory of Samoa is divided into 11 itumalos (districts), which
were formed even before the appearance of Europeans on the islands. Each
district has its own constitutional arrangement (faavae) based on the
traditional order of seniority of titles in each district's faalupeg
The village, which is the administrative center of the district, conducts the affairs of the district, coordinating its decisions with the centers of other districts. For example, the seat of Aana County is Leulumoega. The High Chief of Aana bears the title of TuiAana. The council of chiefs that bestows this title, Faleiva (House of Nine), sits at Leulumoeg. The same is happening in other districts. Thus, for example, in the district of Tuamasaga, the title of paramount chief is called Malietoa and is assigned by the council of chiefs of Fale Tuamasaga, sitting in Aphega.
According to the 1986 census, 157 thousand people lived in the country. By 2004, the population increased to 177.7 thousand. As of July 2007, Samoa's population was estimated to be 214,265. According to the 2011 census, the number of Samoans was 187,820 people (96,990 males and 90,830 females), of which 96% were Samoans, 2% were descendants from marriages of Europeans with Polynesians, 1.3% were Europeans and 0.6 % - other. 36,735 people are urban and 151,085 live in villages. More than 75% of the country's population lives on Upolu, although this island is one and a half times smaller than Savaii, where 24% of Samoans live. The islands of Manono and Apolima account for about 1% of the population. The remaining small islands are uninhabited. The vast majority of the inhabitants are concentrated on the coasts; the hinterland of both large islands is very sparsely populated. The most densely populated northwestern coast of Upolu and the area of the capital - Apia.
38.3% of the population belongs to the age group under 15 years old, 56.8% - to the group from 15 to 65 years old, and 4.9% - over 65 years old. The birth rate is estimated at 30.4 per 1,000 inhabitants, the death rate is 4.7 per 1,000, emigration is 11.59 per 1,000. Infant mortality is 15.6 per 1,000 newborns. In recent years, the downward trend in the population of Samoa has continued (this is due to the fact that young people go abroad in search of work - mainly to New Zealand).
Mass emigration from Samoa is due to the backwardness of the local economy. Young people leave the country in search of work or for higher wages, as well as because of dissatisfaction with traditional orders, which, in their opinion, do not correspond to modern reality. The main flow of migration is directed to New Zealand. Some of the emigrants, having saved money or finished their studies, return to their homeland, while others write to their families and leave Samoa forever.
92% of Samoans are Christians. Congregationalists 31.8%, Catholics 19.4%, Methodists 13.7%, Latter Day Saints 15.1%, Assemblies of God 8.0%, Seventh-day Adventists 3.9% , other religions - 7.9%, not indicated - 0.2%.
The head of state until 2007, Malietoa Tanumafili II, was an adherent of the Baha'i religion. Samoa is home to one of the seven Houses of Worship of the Baha'i religion, founded in 1984. It is located in Tiapapate, 8 km from Apia.
The history of Islam in Western Samoa began in 1985, when several Muslim workers ended up in the country, working on a government contract or on one of the UN programs. However, their number appears to be small and they did not have any impact on the local population.
The official languages of the country are Samoan and English. The Samoan language belongs to the Polynesian languages included in the Oceanian zone of the Austronesian language family.
Samoan writing is based on the Latin alphabet. It was founded by missionaries back in 1834. Primarily textbooks, religious literature, as well as laws and government orders are published in Samoan. The country publishes a government newsletter in Samoan and two private weeklies with articles in English and Samoan. Both of these languages are used in their programs by local radio and television.
The only city and main port of Samoa is the capital - the city of Apia, located on the northern coast of Upolu. Its population is 33 thousand inhabitants. The city has the shape of an unbent horseshoe on the shore of a bay, separated from the open sea by a ridge of coral reefs. Through the passage in this ridge, ocean-going vessels enter the bay. Apia has a hospital, a library, an observatory, a cinema, three hotels, several small businesses; government offices are located here, as well as offices of foreign companies operating in Samoa. The center of Apia is built up with one-story and two-story houses, above which the bell towers of numerous churches rise. Closer to the outskirts, buildings of European architecture give way to traditional and semi-traditional dwellings. The city is located 4500 km northeast of Canberra (Australia), 4235 km southwest of Hawaii and 2500 km northeast of Auckland (New Zealand).
Benefits: The growth of light industry attracts foreign firms -
mostly Japanese. Rapid growth thanks to improved infrastructure for
tourism and the start of offshore services. Agriculture in tropical
conditions allows exports mainly of taro, coconut oil and milk, cocoa
Weaknesses: Cyclones hinder development. Unstable international markets for copra and cocoa. Bad transport system. Dependence on foreign aid and remittances from citizens living abroad.
Samoa's economy has traditionally been dependent on humanitarian aid, private transfers from foreign countries, and agricultural exports. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the country's labor force; this industry produces 90% of the country's exports, including coconut cream, coconut oil, noni (noni fruit juice), bananas, copra, etc.
The gross domestic product (GDP) (at purchasing power parity) of the country in 2006 was US$1.218 billion. According to 2004 data, the manufacturing sector is the main component of GDP (58.4%), followed by the service sector (30.2%), agriculture (11.4%). Samoa's working-age population is estimated at 90,000.
Industry and Energy
In 1967, a large American company built a lumber complex on the island of Savaii and began harvesting valuable timber, but its predatory actions displeased the Samoan government. In 1977, it terminated the agreement with this company, acquired all the company's property and took control of the logging operations. Most of the timber produced is exported.
In addition to the timber industry complex, the country's industry consists of several small enterprises. These are a soap and brewery, a clothing factory, a factory for the production of furniture, coconut oil, cookies, ice cream and Coca-Cola. The authorities encourage the development of folk art crafts. The export of products of folk craftsmen is handled by a special government organization.
35% of the required electricity is generated by hydroelectric power plants; the remaining electricity needs are met by imported fossil fuels.
Tourism is a growing sector that currently accounts for 25% of the
country's GDP. The number of tourists has increased from 70,000 in 1996
to 100,000 in 2005. The Samoan government has announced a reduction in
the role of the state in regulating the financial sector and encouraging
investment. Observers note that the flexibility of the labor market is
the basis for economic growth opportunities. The development of the
tourism sector was greatly facilitated by investment in the construction
of hotel infrastructure, political instability in neighboring countries
and the government's agreement with Virgin Airlines to launch regular
Among the main objects visited by tourists:
Apia - among the attractions of the capital of Samoa is a memorial tower dedicated to the victims of World War II, a flea market and many churches;
the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum - the writer's home, located four kilometers from Apia;
the south coast of Upolu - the beaches of Samoa: Matareva, Salamuma and Aganoa, the coral reefs of Aleipat;
Papasea rock - a five-meter descent from a waterfall into a small forest lake;
Savai - Tafua and Falealupo reserves, Olemoe waterfalls, Taga geysers.
Agriculture and fishing
Samoa is an agricultural country, and 77% of its population lives in rural areas. Favorable climatic conditions allow growing a large number of tropical and subtropical fruits. During the period of German colonization, the country produced mainly copra. German traders and settlers actively expanded plantations and introduced new crops, in particular cocoa and rubber, importing workers from China and Melanesia to care for them. When natural rubber prices plummeted at the end of World War II, the New Zealand government began to encourage the cultivation of bananas to satisfy its own market.
Today, Samoa's main products are copra, cocoa and bananas. Export of agricultural products in 2001 was estimated at 5.1 million US dollars. The cocoa produced is of high quality and is used in New Zealand chocolate production. Despite good conditions for growing coffee, stable production is not established. Rubber has been produced in the country for many years, but its exports have little impact on the country's economy.
Samoa also has great fish wealth. However, fishing is predominantly consumer in nature and is carried out, as a rule, from traditional two-hull boats - catamarans. Due to the lack of sea fishing vessels, modern freezing equipment and fish canning enterprises, the country not only cannot export fish, but is even forced to import fish products from abroad. Therefore, the government considers one of the urgent tasks to create its own fishing industry.
The country has 2,100 km of roads, mostly rural. There is a ferry
service between the islands of Upolu and Savaii, as well as with Pago
Pago (American Samoa). The international airport in Faleolo (34 km from
Apia) can receive aircraft up to the heavy Boeing 747. Provision with
cell phones - 130 pcs. per thousand population (2003-2004).
Samoa's currency is the tala, which consists of 100 sene ("tala" and "sene" are the equivalents of the words "dollar" and "cent"). The tala was introduced in 1967 and replaced the Samoan pound at the rate of 2 tala = 1 pound (equivalent to the New Zealand dollar). The tala remained equal to the New Zealand dollar until 1975. The symbol WS$ is commonly used to represent the currency, but the symbols SAT, ST, and T are also used.
Foreign economic relations
The main exports are traditionally fish, clothing, coconut oil, coconut cream, beer and copra. The main imports are bicycles, equipment, building materials and consumer goods. The main partners are export: Australia (63%), USA, import: New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, USA and Japan.
It is a member of the international organization of the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP).
The traditional Samoan way of life (called Faa Samoa) remains an important part of Samoan life and politics. Subjected to European influence for centuries, the Samoans nevertheless maintained their historical traditions, preserved their social and political structure, and their language.
Samoan culture is based on the principle of valealoai - a specific system of relations between people. These relationships are based on respect (faaaloalo). When Christianity was brought to Samoa by missionaries, most of the population accepted it. Currently, 98% of the population identify themselves as Christians. The remaining 2% either identify themselves as non-religious or belong to other faiths.
Most Samoans live in traditional oval huts called phale. The roof made of pandanus or coconut palm leaves rests on wooden pillars. There are no walls, but at night and in bad weather, the openings between the pillars are hung with mats, which are stored rolled up under the roof (along its perimeter). The floor is paved with even large pebbles. Now there are halyards with an iron roof.
The main socio-economic unit of Samoan society is the community (ainga), which consists of three to four generations of the closest male relatives, women who came to the community by marriage, and persons included in it as a result of adoption or adoption. The members of the ainga (on average 40-50 people) jointly own the land and jointly perform all labor-intensive work.
Like many other Polynesian islands, Samoans have two types of tattoos for different genders. Tattoos for men are called tatau and consist of complex geometric designs placed from the knees to the ribs. A man with such a tattoo is called sogaimichi. Samoan girls (teine) are given mala, which extend from just below the knees to the top of the thighs.
music and dancing
Among the composers (fatupese), authors of traditional Samoan songs (pesos), Toliafoa Talimutu, Peseta Gatoloai Sio, Malifa Faletoese Lemalu, Anapu Lavea Teo, Kalapu Luafatasaga Kalapu, Maiava Pouono Hankin, Komisi Faraimo are known.
The traditional female Samoan dance is the siwa. This dance is similar to the Hawaiian hula - the dancers “tell” their “story” with smooth movements of their arms and legs to the beat of the music. Male Samoan dances are more aggressive and energetic. Sasa is a male Samoan dance in which ranks of dancers perform rapid synchronized movements to the beat of drums or rolled mats. Its name is translated from the Samoan language as "slap", because it is accompanied by slaps on different parts of the body.
The Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (Vailima, 4 km from Apia) is the house where Stevenson spent the last years of his life (1890-1894). Nearby is the grave of the writer. The writer's house and the entire estate have been declared a nature reserve. It houses the official residence of the head of state.
In the National Museum (Apia), in three rooms, various exhibits are stored that tell about the history of the country. Some of the exhibits are kept in museums and private collections in New Zealand, USA, Australia and Germany. For example, tapas - traditional printed fabrics made from sun-dried vegetable paste and therefore very fragile - are exhibited at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. All foreign museums and galleries are obliged to return the exhibits after creating the appropriate conditions for their storage. All museum exhibits can be divided into two categories: archaeological artifacts and handicraft items. The age of the most ancient objects is more than 1000 years BC: these are mainly stone axes and chisels.
Education spending in 2002-2004 was 4.3% of Samoa's GDP. The state is characterized by high literacy of the population - 98.6% (2005). The proportion of the illiterate population aged 15 to 24 is 0.5%. This is explained by the fact that the country has a wide network of primary state and private church schools, in which 3/4 of children aged 7-12 study. Compulsory education includes ten-year schools that admit children as young as five years old. Teaching is conducted in Samoan, but English is intensively studied. Schools were founded at the beginning of the 20th century by missionaries.
Some children (66% - 2004) study at secondary schools, and can also receive special education at the College of Tropical Agriculture, the College of Commerce, as well as several trade and trade schools. Hundreds of Samoans have received higher education abroad, mostly in New Zealand.
Higher education in the country is represented by the National University of Samoa, the University of the South Pacific, the Samoan Polytechnic University and the Ocean Medical University.
Samoa is a founding member of the University of the South Pacific, with its main campus in Suva, Fiji and Samoan in Alafua. The National University was founded in 1984. Approximately 10% (2005) of the population of the corresponding age receive higher education.
Health institutes are represented by the national hospital in Apia, four district hospitals and health centers. Most of the medical staff has a higher education from the Fiji School of Medicine. Vaccination coverage is 95%, and 85% of Samoans have access to clean drinking water.
Periodicals are published in Samoan and English: the newspapers Samoa Observer and Samoa Times (daily), Savali (4 times a week) and Talamua Magazine (monthly). Radio (Magik FM, K-Lite FM, Talofa FM, Samoa Broadcasting Corporation) and TV (Samoa Broadcasting Corporation, O Lau TV, TV3, Vaiala Beach Television) ").
The number of radio receivers in the population is more than 175 thousand (1997), televisions - 8.5 thousand (1999). In the archipelago, 2 providers provide their services for 10 thousand Internet users (2007).
The most popular sports in Samoa are rugby and Samoan cricket.
Rugby is governed by the Samoan Rugby Union, which is affiliated to the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance, and also assists the Pacific Islands national team. The club level hosts the local national championship and the Pacific Cup. The Samoa national rugby team, named Manu Samoa by the supporters, constantly opposes rivals from other countries. Samoa has competed in every Rugby World Cup since 1991. In 1991 and 1995, the team reached the quarterfinals, in 1999 - in the second round.
In 2000, the local rugby league team reached the quarter-finals of the UK World Cup. Samoans won the Rugby League Cup in Wellington and the Rugby Sevens Tournament in Hong Kong in 2007 - in honor of this victory, the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who is also the chairman of the national rugby union, declared a national holiday. Samoa also competes in the Pacific Cup of Nations. The Samoa rugby sevens team in 1997 and 2009 became the bronze medalist of the World Cup, and in the 2009/2010 season won the sensational World Series, the most important annual rugby sevens tournament.
The most famous Samoan players in the past are Pat Lam and Brian Lima, currently: Seilala Mapusua, Alesana Tuilagi and Mikaele Pesamino. Many Samoans also play for the New Zealand national team, British Super League clubs and the British National Leagues.
The Samoans also had success in American professional wrestling, boxing, kickboxing and sumo, where Musashimaru Koyo reached the rank of yokozuna. There is a huge Samoan dynasty in professional wrestling, which is represented by wrestlers such as Yokozuna, Rocky Johnson, Dwayne Johnson, Roman Reigns, Rikishi, Samoa Joe and others.
The Samoan Football Federation has been a member of FIFA since 1986, but the national team made its debut at the OFC Nations Cup only in 2012, losing all three matches (history repeated itself in 2016).
At the Olympic Games
The country has competed at every Summer Olympics since 1984. Samoa has no Olympic medals. A native of Apia, boxer David Tua, playing for the New Zealand national team, won the bronze Olympic medal at the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992. In the same year, Markus Stephen, who in December 2007 became president of Nauru, played for the Samoa Olympic weightlifting team.