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British Indian Ocean Territory description

American Samoa and its small group of islands were first settled by the Polynesians some 3,000 years ago. In 1722 they were discovered by Jacob Roggeveen, a Dutch explorer. 

In 1900 it became an unorganized U.S. territory, and in fact, it's today the only U.S. territory located south of the Equator. 

While there is a strong American influence in the islands, American Samoans proudly retain their cultural heritage. 

The local economy revolves around the long-established fishing industry, U.S. government jobs, and the ever increasing tourism business. 

Samoa, a neighboring independent country, shares the same culture, and much of the same history.

Pretty Bay and Turquoise Water on Tau Island
Tau Island...
by Michael Runkel
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British Indian Ocean Territory fast facts
  • Name: American Samoa, an unincorporated and unorganized territory of the US
  • Capital City: Pago Pago (26,017 pop.)
  • Population: 64,000 (2010 census)
  • World Populations (all countries)
  • Currency: United States dollar (USD)
    (conversion rates)

    Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique franc
    One dollar
  • Ethnicity: Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander 91.6%, Asian 1%, white 1.1%, mixed 4.2%
  • Language: Samoan 90.6% (closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages), English 2.9%, Tongan 2.4%, other Pacific islander 2.1%, other 2%
  • Largest Cities: (by population) Pago Pago, Tāfuna, Leone, Faleniu, Aūa, Mapusagafou, Fagatogo, Vaitogi, Malaeimi, Vailoatai
  • National Day: April 17
  • Religion: Christian Congregationalist 50%, Roman Catholic 20%, Protestant and other 30%

British Indian Ocean Territory flags

American Samoa flag

As an unorganized U.S. territory, and in fact, the only U.S. territory located south of the Equator, American Samoa's flag is symbolic of that association, as it features the red, white and blue of the U.S. Stars and Stripes, as well as an American bald eagle.

Larger American Samoa flag

Sunrise over Tau Island, Manua Island Group, American Samoa, South Pacific, Pacific
Sunrise over Tau...
by Michael Runkel
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British Indian Ocean Territory land statistics
  • Coastline: 72 miles (116 km)
  • Land Area:
    (land) 123 sq mi (199 sq km)
    (water) 0 sq mi (0 sq km)
    (TOTAL) 123 sq mi (199 sq km)

    To convert sq km (kilometers) to sq mi (miles)
    use our converter
  • Land Area: (all countries)
  • Latitude & Longitude:
    Pago Pago: (capital city) 14° 16S170° 42W
  • Horizontal Width: 17.84 miles (28.72 km) from Poloa southeast to Tula
  • Vertical Length: 1.79 miles (2.88 km) from Aasu north to Leona

    Note: Lengths and widths are point-to-point, straight-line measurements from a Mercator map projection, and will vary some using other map projections
  • Geographic Center: About 1.03 miles (1.65 km) southwest of Fagatogo
  • Highest Point: Lata Mountain 3,162 ft (964 m)
  • Lowest Point: Pacific Ocean (0m)

British Indian Ocean Territory landforms

Located in the South Pacific Ocean, American Samoa is made up of 5 main islands, and 2 coral atolls.

These rugged islands (fringed by reefs) have narrow coastal plains, and all are volcanic in origin.

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British Indian Ocean Territory maps

British Indian Ocean Territory travel information

ATTRACTIONS: (a few major)
The beautiful city of Pago Pago (the capital) has a magnificent harbor ringed by densely forested mountains. The outer islands are widely considered some of the most beautiful in the South Pacific. 

British Indian Ocean Territory weather

Tropical conditions throughout the year with two distinct seasons. 

During the rainy season (December to April), temps rise to 90 degrees and heavy rainfall on a daily basis is the norm. Hot temperatures are usually moderated by the Pacific Ocean trade winds.

May through November is cooler and drier with highs in the 80s. Evenings are cool and often breezy. 

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