Samoa

By Josefa Mateo

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Landforms & Location

Samoa is located south of the equator, about halfway between Hawai‘i and New Zealand in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean. The highest point in Samoa is Mt Silisili. Mount Vaea (Upolu) is another mountain overlooking Apia.

Climate

The climate is equatorial/monsoonal. With an average temperature of 80 degrees. And rainy season from November to April.

Animals & Plants

Native to Samoa are the flying fox and crested tern. Some native plants are the aloalo vao and fau.

Natural Recources

Petroleum, hydropower, and other resources of commercial importance.

History

The Samoan Civil War was a conflict that reached a head in 1898 when Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States were locked in dispute over who should have control over the Samoa Islands. The war was fought roughly between 1886 and 1894, primarily between Samoans though the German military intervened on several occasions. The United States and the United Kingdom opposed the German activity which led to a confrontation in Apia Harbor in 1887.

People & Languages

Samoa has a population of 182,265 of which 92.6% are Samoans, 7% Euronesians (people of mixed, European and Polynesian ancestors) and 0.4% are Europeans. About three-quarters of the population live on the main island of Upolu. Samosas official language is English.

Land Use

Tropical agriculture occupies 43% of the land area, employs about 65% of the labor force, and makes up about 50% of GDP. Most Samoans grow food crops for home consumption and cash crops for export. Village agriculture, in which the family is the productive unit, involves the largest areas of land, occupies the preponderance of the labor force, and produces the major portion of food and cash crops.

Religion & Education

Currently 98% of the population identify themselves as Christian. The other 2 percent either identify themselves as irreligious, or do not belong to any congregation. The formal education is imparted by the Department of Education and they have well structured syllabus and follows a common examinations. The faculties of the government school in Samoa holds Samoan teachers' certificates and it is mandatory for teaching. The village schools gives four year of primary schooling whereas the district schools train the intelligent pupils and provides them education to the upper level. The Education in Samoa aims to follows a bilingual educational system with English as their second language.

Traditions & Customs

As with other Polynesian cultures (Hawai'ian, Tahitian and Māori) with significant and unique tattoos, Samoans have two gender specific and culturally significant tattoos. Dance is very important. If you are visiting someone at worship don't enter until they are done. Don't eat or drink while walking through a village. Nude bathing is not permitted. Umu (oven pit baked food) puligi (pudding) suamasi (cracker soup).

Issues

Environment - current issues: soil erosion, deforestation, invasive species, overfishing.