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Samoa

Map Courtesy CIA World Factbook

The Independent State of Samoa (conventional long form) or Samoa (conventional short form) is a country comprising a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Previous names are German Samoa from 1900 to 1914 and Western Samoa from 1914 to 1997.

Migrants from Southeast Asia arrived in the Samoan islands more than 2000 years ago and from there settled the rest of Polynesia further to the east. Contact with Europeans began in the early 1700s but did not intensify until the arrival of English missionaries and traders in the 1830s. At the turn of the 20th century, the Samoan islands were split into two sections. The eastern islands became territories of the United States in 1904 and today are known as American Samoa. The western islands became known as German Samoa, then Western Samoa after passing from German control to New Zealand in 1914. Western Samoa was the first Pacific Island country to gain its independence.

In July 1997, the Constitution was amended to change the country's name from Western Samoa to Samoa. Samoa had been known simply as Samoa in the United Nations since joining the organization in 1976. The neighboring U.S. territory of American Samoa protested at the move, feeling that the change diminished its own Samoan identity. American Samoans still use the terms Western Samoa and Western Samoans.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Samoa".