Island country, central South Pacific Ocean, among the westernmost of the island nations of Polynesia. Area: 1,075 sq mi (2,785 sq km). Population: (2009 est.) 183,000. Capital: Apia, on Upolu Island. The people are mainly Polynesian, closely akin to Tongans and to New Zealand's Maori. Languages: Samoan, English (both official). Religion: Christianity (mostly Protestant; also Roman Catholic, other Christians). Currency: tala. Samoa is part of the Samoan archipelago and consists of two major islands, Upolu and Savai'i, both of which are volcanic. There are also seven small islands, two of which, Apolima and Manono, are inhabited. Samoa has a developing economy based mainly on agriculture, with some light manufacturing, fishing, lumbering, and tourism. It is a constitutional monarchy with one legislative house, the Legislative Assembly; the head of state is elected by the Legislative Assembly, and the head of government is the prime minister. Polynesians inhabited the islands for thousands of years before Europeans arrived there in the 18th century. The islands were contested by the U.S., Britain, and Germany until 1899, when they were divided between the U.S. and Germany. In 1914 Western Samoa was occupied by New Zealand, which received it as a League of Nations mandate in 1920. After World War II it became a UN trust territory administered by New Zealand. It achieved independence in 1962. In 1997 the word Western was dropped from the country's name.
Variants of SAMOA
Samoa officially Independent State of Samoa formerly Western Samoa
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