Fast Facts

Population:
188,000
Capital:
Apia; 40,000
Area:
2,831 square kilometers (1,093 square miles)
Language:
Samoan, English
Religion:
Christian
Currency:
Tala
Life Expectancy:
69
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $5,600
Literacy Percent:
100
Flag: Samoa
Map: Samoa

Western political institutions and Polynesian social structure combine in Samoa, whose location at the crossroads of South Pacific shipping lanes attracted European powers. Germany took over the western part of the Samoan archipelago in 1900. After World War I, New Zealand administered the islands until they became independent in 1962. Membership in the Commonwealth came in 1970. An enlarged airport brings growing numbers of tourists.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Food processing, building materials, auto parts
  • Agriculture: Coconuts, bananas, taro, yams
  • Exports: Fish, coconut oil and cream, copra, taro

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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