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The Polynesian islands of Samoa and American Samoa are located in the South Pacific, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. Although the people of Samoa and American Samoa share a common ethnicity and language, their histories have diverged due to the impacts of colonialism and accompanying militaristic pursuits. Samoa, which is composed of Savai’i and Upolu and a number of smaller and uninhabited islands, gained recognition as a sovereign state on January 1, 1962. American Samoa, which consists of Tutuila, Aunu’u, the Manu’a Islands, Rose Atoll, and Swains Island, remains an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States to this day. This entry reviews tensions and conflicts involving Samoa and American Samoa from the first European contact to the present day.

European Contact

European exploration ...

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