Settled as early as 1000 B.C., Samoa was not reached by European explorers until the 18th century. International rivalries in the latter half of the 19th century were settled by an 1899 treaty in which Germany and the US divided the Samoan archipelago. The US formally occupied its portion - a smaller group of eastern islands with the excellent harbor of Pago Pago - the following year.
Pago Pago has one of the best natural deepwater harbors in the South Pacific Ocean, sheltered by shape from rough seas and protected by peripheral mountains from high winds; strategic location in the South Pacific Ocean
none (territory of the US); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are three districts and two islands* at the second order; Eastern, Manu'a, Rose Island*, Swains Island*, Western
under the US Constitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as American Samoa, do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; however, they may vote in Democratic and Republican presidential primary elections; governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held on 6 November 2012 with a runoff election held on 20 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016)
bicameral Fono or Legislative Assembly consists of the Senate (18 seats; members are elected from local chiefs to serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives (21 seats; 20 members are elected by popular vote and 1 is an appointed, nonvoting delegate from Swains Island; members serve two-year terms)
House of Representatives - last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2014); Senate - last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016)
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independents 20; Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independents 18
note:American Samoa elects one nonvoting representative to the US House of Representatives; election last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2014); results - Eni F. H. FALEOMAVAEGA reelected as delegate
highest court(s): High Court of American Samoa (consists of the chief justice, associate chief justice, and 6 Samoan associate judges and organized into trial, family, drug, and appellate divisions)
note - American Samoa has no US federal courts
judge selection and term of office:
chief justice and associate chief justice appointed by the US Secretary of the Interior to serve for life; Samoan associate judges appointed by the governor to serve for life
blue, with a white triangle edged in red that is based on the fly side and extends to the hoist side; a brown and white American bald eagle flying toward the hoist side is carrying two traditional Samoan symbols of authority, a war club known as a "Fa'alaufa'i" (upper; left talon), and a coconut fiber fly whisk known as a "Fue" (lower; right talon); the combination of symbols broadly mimics that seen on the US Great Seal and reflects the relationship between the United States and American Samoa
American Samoa has a traditional Polynesian economy in which more than 90% of the land is communally owned. Economic activity is strongly linked to the US with which American Samoa conducts most of its commerce. Tuna fishing and tuna processing plants are the backbone of the private sector with canned tuna the primary export. The two tuna canneries account for 80% of employment. In late September 2009, an earthquake and the resulting tsunami devastated American Samoa and nearby Samoa, disrupting transportation and power generation, and resulting in about 200 deaths. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency is overseeing a relief program of nearly $25 million. Transfers from the US Government add substantially to American Samoa's economic well being. Attempts by the government to develop a larger and broader economy are restrained by Samoa's remote location, its limited transportation, and its devastating hurricanes. Tourism is a promising developing sector.