American Samoa Cities

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American Samoa Cities by Population

10 cities shown of 10 total American Samoa cities that are over 1,000 in population...

1. Tafuna 11,017
2. Pago Pago 4,196
3. Leone 4,050
4. Faleniu 3,200
5. Aua 2,124
6. Mapusagafou 2,052
7. Fagatogo 1,868
8. Vaitogi 1,436
9. Malaeimi 1,261
10. Vailoatai 1,144

American Samoa History

It is generally believed that the Samoan Islands were originally inhabited as early as 1000 BC. Samoa was not reached by European explorers until the eighteenth century.

The pre-Western history of Eastern Samoa is inextricably bound with the history of Western Samoa. The Manu'a Islands of American Samoa has one of the oldest histories of Polynesia, in connection with the Tui Manua title, connected with the histories of the archipelagos of Fiji, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Tokelau and elsewhere in the Pacific, all of which had once been under Manua's occupation. Tu'i Manu'a from Manu'a ruled most of the Pacific, including Tonga, long before the Tu'i Tonga Empire. While Tu'i Manu'a ruled Tonga, the external influences came in the form of imperial activities, beginning with the Tui Pulotu empire in Fiji and followed by the Tui Manua empire in Samoa. In other words, Tonga was under considerable influence from the imperialism of both Fiji and Samoa. However, Tonga was able to free itself through bitter and bloody wars from the imperial domination of the Tui Manua which eventually led to the formation of the Tui Tonga empire around AD 950 in the person of Ahoeitu, the first Tui Tonga whose father was a deified Samoan high chief, Tangaloa Eitumtupua, and mother a Tongan woman, Vaepopua, of great noble birth. This double origin entitled the Tui Tonga to hold both divine and secular offices. In principle, the close cultural and historical interlinkages between Fiji, Samoa and Tonga were essentially elitist, involving the intermarriage between regional aristocratic families. Many years later after Tonga freed herself from Samoa the Tongans took rule over Samoa until Samoa freed herself. Manu'a was the only island group that remained independent. The islands of Tutuila and Aunu'u were politically connected to 'Upolu island in what is now independent Samoa. It can be said that all the Samoa islands are politically connected today through the faamatai chiefly system and through family connections that are as strong as ever. This system of the faamatai and the customs of faasamoa originated with two of the most famous early chiefs of Samoa, who were both women and related, Nafanua and Salamasina.

Early Western contact included a battle in the eighteenth century between French explorers and islanders in Tutuila, for which the Samoans were blamed in the West, giving them a reputation for ferocity. Early nineteenth century Rarotongan missionaries to the Samoa islands were followed by a group of Western missionaries led by John Williams of the Congregationalist London Missionary Society in the 1830s, officially bringing Christianity to Samoa. In the second half of the 20th century, the Samoan Congregationalist Church became the first independent indigenous church of the South Pacific. In March 1889, a German naval force invaded a village in Samoa, and by doing so destroyed some American property. Three American warships then entered the Samoan harbor and were prepared to fire on the three German warships found there. Before guns were fired, a typhoon sank both the American and German ships. A compulsory armistice was called because of the lack of warships.

International rivalries in the latter half of the nineteenth century were settled by the 1899 Tripartite Convention in which Germany and the U.S. divided the Samoan archipelago. The following year, the U.S. formally occupied its portion: a smaller group of eastern islands, one of which surrounds the noted harbor of Pago Pago. Since 1962, the western islands have been an independent nation, adopting the name The Independent State of Samoa in 1997.

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