American Samoa

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Sāmoa Amelika (Samoan)
American Samoa (English)
American Samoa
American Samoa flag
Seal of American Samoas
flag seal
Motto : Samoa, Muamua Le Atua
Samoan for "Samoa, let God first be"
Official language Samoan , English
Capital Pago Pago
Seat of government Fagatogo
Form of government Unincorporated U.S. Territory
Head of state President Donald Trump
Head of government Governor Lolo Moliga
surface 199 km²
population 55,641 (as of 2017)
Population density 279 inhabitants per km²
currency US dollar (USD)
National anthem America Samoa
Time zone UTC − 11
License Plate United States
ISO 3166 AS
Internet TLD .as
Telephone code +1 (684) see NANP
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American Samoa in its region.svg
American Samoa-CIA WFB Map.png

Detailed map of Tutuila

American Samoa (English American Samoa , Samoan Sāmoa Amelika ) is part of American Oceania, an American suburb in the southern Pacific . American Samoa is part of the Samoa Islands and adjoins the Independent State of Samoa to the southeast . The largest island in terms of area and population, American Samoas, is Tutuila with the capital Pago Pago .

During the Second World War , American Samoa temporarily gained greater strategic importance for the United States from 1942 to 1945 , so it was decided to build a naval base and an airport ( Pago Pago International Airport ).

A special cultural feature of the entire archipelago is the coexistence of modern American lifestyle and Samoan traditions.


American Samoa is the largest US territory south of the equator. It extends to a few volcanic islands and two small atolls in Polynesia :

The volcanoes are all extinct, while the mountains of the archipelago are severely fissured due to erosion . The highest point of the island state is the Lata on the island of Taʻū with a height of 966 meters above sea level.

Important localities, besides the capital Pago Pago , are Tula Village , Amanave , Vaitogi and Tāfuna .


89% of the population are Polynesian Samoans, 2% white (European / American), 4% Tongan and 5% belong to another ethnic group. Korean and Chinese immigrants have found jobs primarily in the fishing industry, while Americans are mostly in administrative jobs.

The residents are not generally citizens of the United States of America, but nationals (US nationals) with unlimited entry and residence permits in the US, but without the right to vote in presidential elections (American Samoa elects a delegate who is not entitled to vote in Congress ). The birth rate is 21.83 live births per 1000 inhabitants. With 3.24 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants and increasing emigration to the USA (tens of thousands of Samoans have settled in Hawaii and on the American west coast), the population is falling by 0.2% annually. The median age is 23.6 years and the average life expectancy is 75.84 years.

In 2009, American Samoa was the country with the largest proportion of overweight people in the world. The relevant criterion of a body mass index (BMI)> 25 was met by 93.5% of the population. (For comparison: in the USA this criterion is met by 66.7% of the population)


year population
1950 18,940
1960 20,013
1970 27,292
1980 32,457
1990 47,038
2000 57,521
2010 55,637
2017 55,641


The official languages ​​are English and Samoan , a Polynesian language spoken as mother tongue by 90.6%. English and 2.4% Tongan speakers are native speakers of 2.9% of the population . The majority of the population is bilingual.


The predominant religion is Christianity , to which almost all residents belong.


The first settlement probably took place as early as 1000 BC. Instead of. Samoa was first sighted by European explorers in the 18th century. Whaler boats found an ideal mooring in the deep sea port of Tutuila, which later also aroused the interest of the USA. After several international disputes in the 19th century, the Samoa archipelago was divided into German Samoa (Western Samoa) and Eastern Samoa by an international treaty ( Samoa Treaty ) between the German Empire and the USA .

American Samoa became a dependent territory of the United States on February 20, 1929 . It is not to be confused with the Independent State of Samoa , which later emerged from the German colony to the west of it . The territory has been on the UN list of sovereign territories without self-government since 1946 .

During the Second World War, Pago Pago served the US Navy as an important base in the Pacific. As a naval base, American Samoa was administratively under the United States Department of Navy until 1951 . Nine years later, the territory received its first constitution. Within a few decades, the American lifestyle and modern technology found their way into the area, while the infrastructure was expanded with the construction of schools, new roads, an airport, a hospital and a hotel.

On September 29, 2009, American Samoa was hit by a tsunami around 200 kilometers south in the Pacific after an earthquake measuring 8.0 (at 17: 48h UTC) . The capital Pago Pago was also affected. There were at least 24 dead and 50 injured on the island.


The form of government in American Samoa is a representative democracy . The archipelago is officially considered an Unorganized Territory , an area that does not belong to any US state and therefore has no self-administration. In fact, however, there is a form of self-government in Samoa with its own parliament, the American Samoa Fono . The head of government is the governor of American Samoa . This is subordinate to the United States Department of the Interior .

The American Samoa-born population has US nationality, but is not considered a full citizen of the United States. This is linked to the fact that the population has no active or passive voting rights in US elections at the federal level, but can enter and leave the US unhindered. The local government can also elect only one non-voting representative to the United States House of Representatives .

Beach in the national park on Ofu
Fatu Rock (right) and Futi Rock (left), small islands on the reef of Tutuila at the entrance to Pago Pago Harbor (in the background)


The Samoan economy is heavily dependent on the USA, which is also its most important trading partner. The main industries are tuna fishing and processing. The South Sea state also benefits from subsidies from the US government as well as from development aid and infrastructure projects. The increasingly developing tourism also benefits from this.

The budget expenditure of the South Sea state in 1996/97 was 127 million US dollars, the income 121 million US dollars. The gross domestic product in 2005 was 6320 US dollars per inhabitant. Of the 57,881 inhabitants, 17,630 were employed in 2005, which corresponds to an unemployment rate of 29.8%.



National park

The American Samoa National Park was established in 1988 and is spread over the islands of Tutuila , Ofu and Taʻū .


The national soccer team of American Samoa celebrated their first win against a FIFA association in a 2-1 win against Tonga in the qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup on November 22, 2011 . Previously only successes against the selection of Wallis and Futuna , whose association is not a member of FIFA. American Samoa has held the record for "the biggest defeat a national football team has ever seen" since they lost 31-0 to the Australian team on April 11, 2001 .

The hammer thrower Lisa Misipeka won at the 1999 World Championships in Athletics in Seville with a width of 66.06 m bronze medal. It was the first ever medal for American Samoa at a world championship.

With Sogelau Tuvalu , a resident of the island state started on August 28, 2011 at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu . In his real parade discipline, the shot put , he missed the qualification and therefore went to the start in the 100-meter run, where he was eliminated in the run-up, many meters behind the winner and a time of 15.66 s.


  • Mückler, Hermann: Unwanted Neighbors: Implications, Burdens and the Instrumentalization of Migration: Relations between American Samoa and the Republic of Samoa . In: Ferro, Katarina; Margot Wallner (ed.): Migration Happens. Reasons, Effects and Opportunities of Migration in the South Pacific . Novara, Vol. 4 (6), Hamburg / Münster 2006: LIT-Verlag, pp. 63-81.
  • Stahn, Eberhard: South Seas. Travel guide with regional studies . Dreieich 1999: Mai Verlag, pp. 202-211.
  • Sutter, Frederic Koehler: America Samoa; An Anthropological Photo Essay . Honolulu 1984: University of Hawaii Press.
  • Gray, John AC: America Samoa. A History of America Samoa and Its United States Naval Administration . Annapolis 1960: United States Naval Institute.

Web links

Commons : American Samoa  - Collection of images, videos, and audio files
Wikimedia Atlas: American Samoa  geographic and historical maps
 Wikinews: American Samoa  - on the news

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Stahn, Eberhard: Südsee. Travel guide with regional studies . Dreieich 1999: Mai Verlag, p. 202
  2. ^ Behold: the world's 10 fattest countries. Retrieved January 4, 2020 .
  3. World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. Retrieved July 2, 2018 .
  4. ^ Operation World, 2010
  5. a b c FAZ.NET: Tsunami flooded Samoa: More than 120 dead . September 30, 2009.
  6. BBC News: Profile: The Samoas . September 30, 2009
  7. 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia ™ - News - American Samoa break new ground - Retrieved January 4, 2020 .

Coordinates: 14 ° 18 ′  S , 170 ° 42 ′  W