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American Samoa: volcanic islands in the middle of the Pacific

American Samoa are an unincorporated territory of the United States of America located in the central Pacific Ocean between Samoa in the west, and the Cook Islands in the east, 4,000 km southwest of Hawaii islands and 2,900 km north-east of New Zealand.

American Samoa it is a small archipelago made up of five volcanic islands (Tutuila, Aunu’u, Tau, Ofu and Olosega) and two atolls (Rose and Swains) whose total area is 200 square km and the population is 57,600 (2007).

Tutuila (135 sq km, 55,000 inhabitants), is the main island of American Samoa, here is based the capital Pago Pago, the only center of a certain importance of the archipelago, a short distance from the coast of Tutuila there is the small island of Aunu’u (1.5 sq km, 470 inhabitants). Pago Pago, the main town is situated in Tutuila island.

The other islands of American Samoa are located approximately 100 km east of Tutuila and are part of the archipelago of Manu’a islands, these are the islands of Ta’u (44 sq km, 870 inhabitants, here is the highest mountain of the country, Lata Mountain 964 meters), Ofu (8 sq km, 350 inhabitants) and Olosega (5 sq km, 200 inhabitants). More distant and isolated are the uninhabited atoll of Rose (0.8 square kilometers) and the remote island of Swains (2.1 sq km, 15 inhabitants in 2007).

The main economic resources for the people of American Samoa are fishing with its associated factories for canning tuna, agriculture (bananas, coconuts, citrus, cocoa), breeding and tourism.

The islands of Tutuila and Aunu’u were annexed to the USA on April 1900. In 1904 also the Manu’a archipelago was added. In 1905 was instituited the territory of American Samoa with a governor. In 1925 Swains island was also added to the territory. Later the territory became an important naval base, the Samoans acquired the status of American nationals and elect their own representative (non-voting delegate) in the US Congress in Washington.

  • Area: 199 sqkm.
  • Population: 57,600 (2007 data) Samoans 92.9%, Asiatics 2.9%, Europeans 1.2%, mixed 2.8%, others 0.2% (2000 census)
  • State Capital: Pago Pago (Tutuila island).
  • Languages: English and Samoan.
  • Religion: Christian: Christian Congregationalist 50%, Protestant 30%, Roman Catholic 20%.
  • Currency: USA Dollar (USD).
  • Time: -11 hours compared to London (UK) (-12 hours when London (UK) has daylight saving time). UTC -11 hours.

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