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Tuesday 22nd July
Samoa Facts
The highest point in the Independent State of Samoa is Mauga Silisili on Savaii (1,857 m).

Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa, consists of the islands of Upolu and Savaii (ninety-six percent of the total land mass) and a number of smaller islands.

American Samoa, a Territory of the US, consists of the island of Tutuila and some smaller islands.

Polynesia, which means many islands, is a name covering over a thousand islands between Hawaii, New Zealand and Easter Island. The Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Niue, Samoa, American Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Wallis and Futuna are in this grouping.

Evidence suggests that Samoa has been inhabited for over three thousand years.

The Tia Seu Ancient Mound on Savaii is the largest ancient structure in Polynesia (12 m tall). Thor Heyerdahl and archaeologists from the Kon-Tiki Museum (Norway) visited the mound in 1985. Researchers from Norway returned to Savaii to carry out further investigations in 2002.

Jacob Roggeveen, the Dutch explorer, was the first European to visit the island of Upolu (1722).

Louis de Bougainville, a French Admiral, visited Samoa in 1768.

Missionaries from the London Missionary Society introduced Christianity to Samoa in the 1830s.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), the Scottish author, lived in Western Samoa for the last four years of his life.

A treaty in 1899 allocated Western Samoa to Germany, and Eastern [American] Samoa to the United States.

In 1899 Britain withdrew claims to Samoa in return for Tonga and the Solomon Islands.

New Zealand administered Western Samoa from the First World War until 1962.

During the Second World War US troops were stationed in Western Samoa.

Western Samoa gained its independence in 1962.

Western Samoa was the first nation in the South Pacific to become an independent country.

Samoa has had a Treaty of Friendship with New Zealand since independence.

Western Samoa joined the Commonwealth as a full member in 1970.

In 1997 Western Samoa decided to change the country's name to Samoa - the Independent State of Samoa.

In September 2009 a tsunami caused by an earthquake in the Pacific (8.3-magnitude) killed more than one hundred people in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.

Samoa is a member of the University of the South Pacific in Suva (Fiji). Members are the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

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