“”Thanks for your support, American Samoa!
American Samoa is
the land of wrestlers and coconuts a group of five islands and three atolls in the Pacific Ocean that is administered by the United States. It is the only American territory that is in the southern hemisphere.[note 1] It is about 2,566 miles away from Hawaii, making it closer to the rest of the U.S. than Guam but still pretty far out there. It is currently split from the other side of Samoa thanks to centuries old colonial disputes. Today, the people of American Samoa live under something between U.S. citizenship and being somewhat separate from the U.S..
Samoa was first inhabited by the Polynesians sometime between 1500-900BCE. According to legend, Samoa was a part of a large Polynesian empire that also included Fiji, Tonga, Uvea, Futuna, Tokelau, and Tuvalu that was ruled by the Tui Manu'a dynasty. The first Europeans to find Samoa were the Dutch, in 1722, and later the French, who called Samoa "the Navigator Islands" in 1768. The first Europeans to really try to settle the islands were missionaries in 1830.
American surveyors first reached Samoa in 1837. In 1855, German corporations began doing business in Samoa, starting large plantations growing coconuts, cacao, and rubber. This worried the British businesses, which led to their country intervening. Meanwhile, America officially set up shop in 1877 and made alliances with some of the local chieftans. This led to a period where Britain, Germany, and the U.S. were each competing for control over Samoa. This led to the Samoan Civil War (1886-1894), which was largely a proxy war fought for control of the islands. After a second civil war (1898-1899), the disputes were resolved by the Tripartite Convention, which gave the western islands to Germany and the eastern islands to the U.S., while Britain got the Solomon Islands. This also led to the end of the Samoan monarchy, as no Samoans were consulted during the drafting of the treaty.
After New Zealand took western Samoa from the Germans during WWI, a movement for independence known as the Mau movement took hold in the Samoas; the U.S responded by imprisoning seventeen pro-independence chiefs. During WWII, there were more soldiers stationed there than civilians. While the western part of Samoa gained independence in 1962, American Samoa has been a part of the U.S. ever since.
American Samoa has the highest rate of military enlistment in the U.S., and it has a high percentage of fundamentalist Christians, with over one fourth of their population being Mormons and also having significant Jehovah's Witness and Seventh-Day Adventist populations. Their motto, "Sāmoa Muamua Le Atua", translates to "Samoa, God is first". Even after Obergefell v. Hodges, gay marriage is still banned in American Samoa. Naturally, this means that American Samoa is the friendliest to Republicans out of all the unincorporated U.S. territories. Both their governor and non-voting House delegate are Republicans.
Unlike other U.S. territories, American Samoans are not citizens upon U.S. birth, they are instead U.S. nationals. This means that they can't work in some government jobs and if they are charged with a felony, they can be barred from ever gaining U.S. citizenship. In December, 2019, a district judge ruled this as unconstitutional per the Fourteenth Amendment, but stayed the order. This unique status also means that any foreign immigrants who move to American Samoa will be unable to apply for U.S. citizenship.
It is illegal to own land in American Samoa unless your blood is at least one half Samoan. Currently, the U.S. is locked in a territorial dispute with Tokelau over Swains Island, which is currently administered under American Samoa.
Other Samoan things
- Besides soldiers, American Samoa is also known for exporting professional wrestlers and football players. The famous Anoa'i family, which has produced wrestlers such as Roman Reigns and Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) is from American Samoa.
- Fa'afafine, a traditional nonbinary/third gender role in Samoan society. They are AMAB individuals who embody both masculine and feminine traits.
- Samoan fruit bats, which are featured on the coin for the National Park of American Samoa. Apparently, some crazies believe that this is evidence of a government COVID-19 plot.
- Samoa Girl Scout cookies - not actually from Samoa.
- The Samoas are responsible for a discrepancy in the International Date Line. American Samoa and Samoa used to both be east of the IDL so they could more easily do business with the U.S., however, in 2011 Samoa decided to switch to the west of the IDL so it can more easily do business with Australia and New Zealand. The two Samoas are now 24 hours apart.
- Unless you want to count Jarvis Island, but nobody lives there and it's only barely south of the equator anyway.
- Thanks for your support, American Samoa! Together, we'll defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America.
- Kirsten Scharnberg, Where the U.S. military is the family business, Chicago Tribune 11 Mar. 2007
- American Samoa, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- American Samoa, Equaldex
- Michael Levenson, American Samoans Should Be Granted U.S. Citizenship, Judge Rules, New York Times 13 Dec. 2019
- David Mikkelson, Do Bats on 2020 U.S. Quarters Demonstrate a Government COVID-19 Plot?, Snopes Apr. 23 2020
- Karen Sims, The Untold Truth Of Samoa Cookies, Mashed 4 May 2020