Is American Samoa a US Territory?

Pago Pago, American Samoa.
Pago Pago, American Samoa.

Yes, American Samoa is an unincorporated U.S. territory that is situated in the southern parts of the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the two American possessions located in the Southern Hemisphere. American Samoa is made up of 2 coral atolls and 5 main islands with Tutuila being the most populous and largest in the region. Other islands which make up American Samoa include Swains Island, Rose Atoll, and the 'Manu'a Islands. All the islands making up American Samoa are part of the Samoan Islands except Swains Island. American Samoa has a population of about 55,689 people and occupies an area of approximately 77sq miles.

When Did The United States Acquire This Territory?

The U.S. acquired American Samoa after the Second-Samoan Civil War ended in 1899 with the Samoan Islands being divided between the U.S. and the German colony. The eastern islands became a U.S. territory ('Manu'a in 1904 and Tutuila Islands in 1900). The American government officially annexed these islands in 1900, including Pago Pago. After the American Navy took over, they converted the coaling-station at Pago Pago into a naval station. The Navy managed to secure the Deeds-of-Cession of both 'Manu'a and Tutuila on behalf of the American government. The ruler of 'Manu'a signed the Deed-of-Cession after a series of American naval trials. The region became known as the American Naval Station Tutuila, and it included 'Manu'a, 'Aunu's and Tutuila islands.

The inhabitants on 'Manu'a were unhappy since they had been left out in the name of the region "Naval Station Tutuila." Therefore, Governor Michael Crose sent a letter to the 'Navy's secretary and conveyed the sentiments of the people of 'Manu'a in May 1911. The Navy allowed the locals to select the name of the territory. The traditional leaders of the region picked "American Samoa" and the area was renamed on July 17, 1911. The U.S. annexed Swains Island in 1925.

Are The People Of American Samoa U.S. Citizens?

According to the American Immigration and Nationality Act, all the individuals born in these islands are American nationals at birth and not American citizens. All children born in this territory to U.S. citizens are considered to be both American citizens and nationals at birth. All the nationals can live in the U.S. and can apply for citizenship after 3 months of residency by passing a test in civics and English and finally taking an oath-of-alliance to the United States. The Samoans do not participate in the U.S. presidential elections, but they can elect a non-voting representative to represent them in the House of Representatives. The Samoans send delegates to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

The Government Of Samoa

The American President serves as the head of state of American Samoa. The American president 'does not play an active role in American Samoa, but he can dissolve the Samoan Legislative assembly. No bill can become a law in the region without the U.S. President's signature. The American Samoan Governor is the head of the government. The legislative power is vested in the Fono (Samoan Legislative assembly) which has two chambers (Senate and the House of Representatives).


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