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All About American Samoa - with List of 5 Star, 4 Star and 3 Star Hotels and Resort
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American Samoa Information
HISTORY
ECONOMY
GOVERNMENT
PLACES OF INTEREST
CAPITAL CITY
TRANSPORTATION
CLOTHING
CULTURE
WEATHER FORECAST
HEALTH
VISA AND PASSPORT
MAP
American Samoa Islands - Travel Tips
TUTUILA ISLAND
AUNU'U ISLAND
OFU AND TA'U ISLAND
American Samoa
AMERICAN SAMOA

American Samoa is a small archipelago that ocupies only 76 square miles of land. Five of the main islands (Tutuila, Ta'u, Ofu, Olosega, Aunu'u, Nu'utele) are volcanic, with rugged peaks, narrow coastal plains and fringing reefs. Swain's and Rose Islands are coral atolls.


HISTORY

History


The islands of American Samoa have a total land area of 76 square miles.  Tutuila contains about two thirds of the total area and is home to 95% of the 65,000 islanders.  American Samoa is located 14 degrees south of the equator, and 172 degrees meridian west, and is the center of Polynesia.  Located 2,300 miles southwest of Hawaii and 1,600 miles northeast of New Zealand, it forms a strategic midpoint on vital shipping and air routes.

Linguistic and cultural evidence suggest that the first Samoa inhabitants  migrated from the West, possibly by way of Indonesia, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga, to the eastern tip of Tutuila near the present village of Tula around 600 B.C..  It is believed that there was at least an 800 year history of contact with Fiji and Tonga, before the Samoan islands were "officially" discovered by Dutch Explorer Jacob Roggeveen in 1722.

Initial contact with the outside world came with the introduction of Christianity by John Williams of the London Missionary Society.  The adoption of Christianity by the ranking chiefs proved to be successful, for within 40 years, Samoans were sending missionaries to Melanesia.

Traditional Samoan society is based on a chieftain system of hereditary rank, and is known as the "Samoan Way" or fa'a Samoa way of life.  Despite the inroads of modern, Western Civilization, local cultural institutions are the strongest single influence in American Samoa.  The fa'a Samoa way of life stems from the aiga, the extended family with a common allegiance to the matai, the family chief who regulates the family's activities.  Religious institutions are very influential in the community and the village minister is accorded a privileged position, equal in status to a chief or matai.  The Fa'a Samoa also reflects a communal lifestyle with non-public ownership and 90% of the communal lands controlled by the family matai.

American Samoa has been a territory of the United States since the signing of the April 17, 1900 Deed of Cession.  The Pago Pago Harbor area was the site of the coaling station and a naval base.  During the late 1930's, the strategic importance of American Samoa proved valuable in its aggressive retaliation with the Japanese Empire. In 1940, the Port of Pago Pago became a training and staging area for the U.S. Marine Corps.  During the War Years, the United States built roads, airstrips, docks and medical facilities exposing island residents to the American way of life.  It was also then that American Samoans enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, thereby establishing a home guard unit.  In 1945, the Marines left the island territory to resume its peaceful lifestyle.

Since World War II, American Samoa has developed into a modern, self-governing political system.  The government is divided into three branches, similar to the United States.  The Executive Branch is led by the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, the Legislative Branch is led by the local legislature, consisting of the House of Representatives, who are elected by popular vote and the Senate, who are represented by the village matai.  The judicial branch is part of the U.S. judicial system, and American Samoa has a non-voting representative elected to the U.S. Congress. 

ECONOMY

This is a traditional Polynesian economy in which more than 90% of the land is communally owned. Economic activity is strongly linked to the US, with which American Samoa conducts most of its foreign trade. Tuna fishing and tuna processing plants are the backbone of the private sector, with canned tuna the primary export. Transfers from the US Government add substantially to American Samoa's economic well-being. Attempts by the government to develop a larger and broader economy are restrained by Samoa's remote location, its limited transportation, and its devastating hurricanes. Tourism, a developing sector, has been held back by the recurring financial difficulties in East Asia.
Economy

GOVERNMENT
American Samoa has a Fono or Legislative Assembly, with a Senate and House of Representatives. American Samoa has an elected Governor and its 21-seat House of Representatives that sits for two-year terms. Twenty of the members are elected and one, from Swains Island, is an appointed, nonvoting delegate. The 18-seat Senate comprises chiefs, selected by other chiefs under the aiga tradition, and has four-year terms.

American Samoa also elects one congressman to the United States House of Representatives for a two-year term.

Government

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PLACES OF INTEREST

Places of interest

American Samoa is in the initial stages of our tourism development, so visitors can discover its unspoiled beauty and character.

While our range of activities may not be as extensive as neighboring Pacific Islands, there is still much to do and see and a beautiful experience to treasure.

The main attraction to American Samoa is the sand, sun, coral seas. There is also hiking and fishing for the sportsperson and relaxing if you are getting away from the fast pace of city life. However, what you will find lasting memories in, are our hospitable people.

CAPITAL CITY


Pago Pago is the political, administrative and commercial center of the territory. The city is set on its beautiful harbor and surrounded by lush green mountains.

Pago Pago – Pago Pago was the setting for Somerset Maugham’s well-known short story, ‘Rain”. Set on a magnificent harbor and surrounded by densely forested mountains, the City has a character of its own; the market place is the best place to start to capture it’s character – and the Fa’a Samoa.

Because of strict building guidelines that limit the height of buildings, the views of the City and harbor are magnificent from just about anywhere provides you with breathtaking and majestic unspoiled views.

Pago Pago

The American Samoa National Park’s visitor center is located in Pago Plaza and is worth a visit before exploration of the islands begins. The National Park is situated in three islands of our islands: Tutuila, Ta’u and Ofu.

A trip to tula to visit traditional American Samoan village.

A trip goes to Aunu’u Island, where there are the amazing red quicksands at Pala Lake and surf roiling onto spectacular rocks at Ma’ama’a Cove.

A two-day cruise takes in some of the outer islands which include staying in a traditional American Samoan village overnight.

TRANSPORTATION


AIRPORT – There are four airports on Tutuila, Ofu, Olosega, and Ta’u

AIRLINES – Hawaiian Air provides direct air service from Pago Pago to Honolulu.

Transportation

Polynesian Airlines provide regional air services to New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, New Caledonia, Tahiti and the Cook Islands.

Samoa Air flies to Tonga, and other destinations and is available for charter. Domestically, Samoa Air flies regularly to Ofu, Olosega, and Ta’u Islands, and flies to Western Samoa several times a day.

PORTS – The main dock in Pago Pago harbor is 1000 feet long, handling ships of up to a 32 foot draft. Pago Pago harbor provides the full complement of equipment and facilities and has a ship repair facility with a 3000 ton marine railway. While Pago Pago is the main port, there are others at Aunu’u, Auasi, Faleosao, Ofu and Ta’u.

DEPARTURE TAX – A $3 departure tax is usually included in the cost of the ticket.

CLOTHING

Clothing




Lightweight, informal summer clothing is appropriate all year, with a light sweater or wrap for evenings from June through September. I always carry a folding umbrella or plastic raincoat because it can rain any time of the day or night in Pago Pago. Young American Samoans have adopted Western-style dress, including blue jeans and shorts of respectable length, although the traditional wraparound lava-lava is still worn by many older men and women. In keeping with Samoan custom regarding modesty, visitors should not wear bathing suits or other skimpy clothing away from the hotels. Women must wear their bikini tops on the beach.
CULTURE
Agriculture is a principal occupation, and tuna fishing and tourism are major industries. The most valuable crops include taro, coconuts, bananas, oranges, pineapples, papayas, and yams. Additional food must be imported. Canned tuna as well as grass mats and other handicrafts are exported. The economy, remains largely dependent upon grants and appropriations by the Congress of the United States. Regular shipping services connect American Samoa with the mainland United States, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.
Culture
WEATHER FORECAST


tropical marine, moderated by southeast trade winds; annual rainfall averages about 3 m; rainy season from November to April, dry season from May to October; little seasonal temperature variation.

American Samoa is in the South Pacific Ocean, between the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn. A tropical climate prevails. Temperatures are warm or hot year-round (high 70's to low 90's F) with high humidity. Rain showers are frequent. Rain showers may last only for a few minutes, or last all day. The average annual rainfall in the drier portions of the island is 125 inches and 200 inches elsewhere. Tropical storms are more prevalent during the rainy season (November to May). Check the current weather at Pago Pago Airport.


Weather Forecast

Plan to dress lightly; sandals, shorts and short sleeved shirts are suggested. Rain gear is always appropriate, but remember the high humidity; you may get just as wet wearing your raincoat as not! If you plan to hike in the park's interior, wear sturdy boots. Since the islands are volcanic in nature, lava rubble is found everywhere; it can be rough on lesser quality boots and shoes. Bring your own snorkel equipment, especially when visiting Ofu island. Lastly, if you'd like to be closer to the local culture, you may wish to try a "lava lava", a skirt-like garment worn by both men and women in various styles and lengths. They are available at many local stores.

HEALTH


Visitors are advised to have typhoid and hepatitis vaccinations and must be vaccinated against Yellow Fever if arriving within six days of leaving or transiting an infected area.

Visitors should take the usual precautions to avoid drinking untreated water. Give immediate attention to coral cuts and other skin problems and avoid sunburn.


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