Samoa was formed at the turn of the 20th century by the Tripartite Convention, which essentially split the then-Samoan islands into two: Samoa and American Samoa. Many, though, often make the mistake of thinking that both names refer to a single country. Made up of seven islands, it became an independent country in 1962, and is a place associated with having one of the most beautiful islandscapes among the Pacific Islands, as well as a colorful culture.
The Europeans reached Samoa in 1722, led by the Dutchman Jacob Roggeveen. After being a foreign colony for decades, the last of which was New Zealand, the country is still dependent on development aid. Its booming agricultural industry may soon make the latter unnecessary - buoyed by the 15,000 metric tons of copra that it exports every year.
South Pacific Paradise
However, there is another reason to believe in Samoa's rising economy, and that is its tourism industry, given the country's natural beauty. From 70,000 at the beginning of the new millennium, tourist arrivals every year has risen to more than 122,000, which today is responsible for generating 25 percent of Samoa's GDP.
Of course, the most obvious draws of the country are the beach junkies, especially with its array of white sand coasts and nice resorts. Among its beaches, the Lesolo Point is a particular favorite, given its remoteness and laid-back attitude. Water sporting enthusiasts can find their haven in Safotu, Manase, and the Upolu and Savaii Islands. There is unique wildlife to be sighted at the Palolo Deep Marine Reserve, and big game fishes are just ripe to be caught by the harbors of Apia.
Islands of the Seafarers
Samoa wasn't actually the country's original name. It is said that when the French Admiral Louis de Bougainville reached the islands in 1768, he was greeted by the sight of numerous canoes handled very skillfully by the local tribes. This made such an impression on him that he named the land as “Navigator Islands.” Up to now, the Samoans have retained their boating prowess, so it is popular among tourists to take a cruise across Samoa's waters.
The country's inhabitants have also been dubbed as the “happy people” in the Polynesian region, particularly because of love for life and appreciation for visitors, who they call “palagi” (from heaven). Their colorful culture is very much evident in their festivals, such as Teuila and Lotu-A-Tamaiti. Samoans are also known for their infatuation with taro, which is the national food. Often, they eat it as simply boiled - which is probably a perfect representation for their way of life.
Samoa Traveler Advice
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