Are Samoa and American Samoa the same?

American Samoa Are Samoa and American Samoa the same Samoa

This is not really a straightforward question.  You need to understand the history of Samoa and American Samoa before you can answer if Samoa and American Samoa are the same.

Before the 1800s Samoa and American Samoa were one. We shared the same language and culture. Our Samoan language and culture are what unites us and brings us pride. What many misunderstand is that today Samoa and American Samoa still share the same language and the same culture. Just keep that in mind as you keep reading.

Then the colonisers and missionaries came to the Samoan islands in the early 1800s. We had the Dutch, English, American, New Zealand, German and other countries visit and try to control the Samoan islands.

 

The Tripartite Convention of 1899 is how the Samoan islands were divided into a German colony and a United States Territory and United Kingdom gave up rights to the islands. So ultimately the tripartite convention was an agreement between the colonisers on how Samoa should be ruled, even though we already had systems in place.

The German colony included the islands of Upolu, Savaii, Manono and Apolima as well as the islands in their vicinity. The German Colony went on to be known as Western Samoa and today known as the Independent State of Samoa.

The United States Territory are what we know today as American Samoa and includes the islands of Tutuila, Manu’a and the surrounding smaller islands.

So, to answer the question of whether Samoa and American Samoa are the same the short answer is no. They are two distinct countries. But historically the answer is yes because 685 and 684 were one before the colonisers came and forced our people to become separated.

When Toa Samoa made it to the Rugby League World Cup 2021, we saw amazing parades from Samoans all over the world.  We also saw tensions between some Samoans who made the point that American Samoans should not be celebrating as they are from the wrong Samoa.

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What I want to reiterate to all Samoans around the world is that we are only separated today because colonisers wanted to take over our islands. We were one Samoa before colonisers. We continue to share the same language and culture. We are all still Samoan.

While politically and geographically Samoa and American Samoa are separate, it does not mean that our Samoan people need to separate ourselves from each other. We don’t need to take on the coloniser mindset that sees our people in fight instead of uniting because of our shared language and culture.

What do you think? Tell me in the comments

Polynesian Cultural Center


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