The Samoa Islands (Malo Sa’oloto Tuto’atasi or Samoa), known in the past as Western Samoa, are located in the Southern Pacific Ocean (Polynesia) between the Tonga islands, American Samoa, Tokelau and the islands of Wallis and Futuna. The islands which until 2007 were ruled by a constitutional monarchy, became a parliamentary republic with the death of the last king.
The state is made up of the two main islands of Upolu (1,114 sq km) and Savai’i (1,709 sq km) and some smaller islands that surround them. Among these in the Strait of Apolima, between Savai’i and Upolu, the islands of Manono, Apolima and Nu’ulopa. While near the southeastern coast of Upolu are the islands of Aleipata (Nu’utele, Nu’ulua, Namua, and Fanuatapu), and Nu’usafe’e.
All the islands are of volcanic origin but only on the largest island of Savai’i does volcanic activity still occur. Savai’i also has the highest mountain in the entire state, Mount Silisili (1,858 meters). The islands are surrounded by a coral reef and in the interior they are thickly covered with rainforest.
The island of Upolu, where the capital Apia is located, is the most densely populated. This island is cultivated with coconut palms, banana trees and cocoa. Monte Fito, its highest mountain, reaches 1,100 meters high.
The economy of Samoa is primarily based on agriculture, where cocoa, bananas, coconuts, yams, taro and the fruits of the bread tree are grown. Finally, other economic resources are forestry, breeding (pigs and cattle), and fishing.
Tourism has considerable potential for development, thanks to the intact traditions of the islanders and the beauty of natural landscapes.
- Area: 2,831 sqkm. (Arable 43%, Pastures 1%, Forests and Woodlands 47%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 9%)
- Population: 214,000 (2007 data) (Polinesians 92%, Euronesians 7% (mixed polinesians, chinese and europeans), Europeans 1%).
- State Capital: Apia.
- Languages: Official languages are English and Samoan.
- Religion: Christian 98% (Congregationalist 35%, Catholic 20%, Mormon 12%, Assembly of God 6%, Adventist 3%).
- Currency: Tala (WST).
- Time: UTC +13 hours (summer time UTC +14).
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