American Samoa

American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Samoa. American Samoa consists of five main islands and two coral atolls.

The total land area is 199 square kilometers (76.8 sq mi), slightly more than Washington, D.C. American Samoa is the southernmost territory of the U.S. and one of two U.S. territories south of the Equator, along with the uninhabited Jarvis Island. Tuna products are the main exports, and the main trading partner is the United States.

American Samoa is noted for having the highest rate of military enlistment of any U.S. state or territory.

Most American Samoans are bilingual and can speak English and Samoan fluently. Samoan is the same language spoken in neighbouring independent Samoa.

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Population: 54,000

Language: English, Samoan

Ethnic Groups: 89% Samoan, 3% Tongan

GDP: $13,000 per capita

Capital: Pago Pago

Religion: 98% Christian

Government: Territorial presidential constitutional republic

History: Contact with Europeans began in the early 18th century. Dutchman Jacob Roggeveen was the first known European to sight the Samoan Islands in 1722. This visit was followed by French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville who named them the Navigator Islands in 1768. Contact was limited before the 1830s, when English missionaries and traders began arriving.

Mission work in the Samoas had begun in late 1830 when John Williams of the London Missionary Society arrived from the Cook Islands and Tahiti. By that time, the Samoans had gained a reputation for being savage and warlike, as violent altercations had occurred between natives and European visitors. Nevertheless, by the late nineteenth century, French, British, German, and American vessels routinely stopped at Samoa, as they valued Pago Pago Harbor as a refueling station for coal-fired shipping and whaling.

At the turn of the twentieth century, international rivalries in the latter half of the century were settled when Germany and the United States partitioned the Samoan Islands into two parts: the eastern island group became a territory of the United States and in 1911, the US Naval Station Tutuila, was officially renamed American Samoa.

While the two Samoas share language and ethnicity, their cultures have recently followed different paths, with American Samoans often emigrating to Hawaii and the US mainland, and adopting many US customs, such as the playing of American football and baseball. Western Samoans have tended to emigrate instead to New Zealand, whose influence has made the sports of rugby and cricket more popular in the western islands. There are marked differences between the societies in Western Samoa and American Samoa.

CCI Ministry here: CCI began training in American Samoa in 2014. In March 2017, there is one class running which is training its third intake of students. Graduations have been held in 2015 and 2016. For more information and project needs, please contact us.

American Samao Ministry Photo Gallery

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