Samoa, formerly called Western Samoa, is famed for its natural beauty and friendly people.
Originally settled by the Tongan Polynesians, it was the European explorers and missionaries that transformed these islands for better or for worse. Christianity was introduced to the natives, and many local customs soon disappeared.
At the conclusion of World War I, and for 42 years, New Zealand occupied and administered the islands. Then, in 1962, Samoa became the first Polynesian nation to reestablish its independence in the 20th Century.
The large islands of Saval'i and Upolu are mountainous (volcanic in origin), and covered with heavy forests. Both are ringed by coral reefs.
The local population is mostly indigenous Samoans. The port city of Apia is the center of local government and trade, and the economy revolves around agriculture, lumber and tourism.
American Samoa, a neighboring group of islands, shares the same culture, and much of the same history. For additional info about Samoa, go here.
Facts and Figures
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Samoa enjoys warm, tropical conditions throughout the year.
During the rainy season (November to April
), temperatures rise into the 90s. Those hot temperatures are moderated by the Pacific Ocean trade winds.
Significant daily rainfall is the norm, with the heaviest amounts falling on the southeastern slopes. Samoa is also subject to Cyclones (November to March).
(May to November) is cooler and drier with highs in the 80s. Evenings are cooler and often breezy.