Geographic and Governmental Profile of American Samoa

Settled as early as 1000 B.C., Samoa was "discovered" by European explorers in 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.
Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand
Geographic coordinates
14 20 S, 170 00 W
Continent / Subcontinent
199 sq km
199 sq km
0 sq km
includes Rose Island and Swains Island
Area - comparative
slightly larger than Washington, DC
Land boundaries
0 km
116 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
tropical marine, moderated by southeast trade winds; annual rainfall averages about 3 m; rainy season (November to April), dry season (May to October); little seasonal temperature variation
five volcanic islands with rugged peaks and limited coastal plains, two coral atolls (Rose Island, Swains Island)
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Lata Mountain 964 m
Natural resources
pumice, pumicite
Land use
arable land:
permanent crops:
75% (2005)
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Irrigated land
Natural hazards
typhoons common from December to March
limited volcanic activity on the Ofu and Olosega Islands; neither has erupted since the 19th century
Environment - current issues
limited natural freshwater resources; the water division of the government has spent substantial funds in the past few years to improve water catchments and pipelines
Geography - note
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
Country name
conventional long form:
Territory of American Samoa
conventional short form:
American Samoa
Dependency status
unincorporated and unorganized territory of the US; administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior
Government type
Pago Pago
geographic coordinates:
14 16 S, 170 42 W
time difference:
UTC-11 (6 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
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
none (territory of the US)
ratified 2 June 1966; effective 1 July 1967
Legal system
mixed legal system of US common law and customary law
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Barack H. OBAMA (since 20 January 2009); Vice President Joseph R. BIDEN (since 20 January 2009)
head of government:
Governor Togiola TULAFONO (since 7 April 2003)
Cabinet made up of 12 department directors
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 4 and 18 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012)
election results:
Togiola TULAFONO reelected governor; percent of vote - Togiola TULAFONO 56.5%, Afoa Moega LUTU 43.5%
Legislative branch
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 2 November 2010 (next to be held in November 2012); Senate - last held on 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012)
election results:
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
American Samoa elects one nonvoting representative to the US House of Representatives; election last held on 2 November 2010 (next to be held in November 2012); results - Eni F. H. FALEOMAVAEGA reelected as delegate
Judicial branch
High Court (chief justice and associate justices are appointed by the US Secretary of the Interior); note - the High Court (or Supreme Court) is the highest court in America Samoa; there is no U.S. federal court there
Political parties and leaders
Democratic Party [Oreta M. TOGAFAU]; Republican Party [Tautai A. F. FAALEVAO]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Population Pressure LAS (addresses the growing population pressures)
International organization participation
AOSIS, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, SPC, UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US
none (territory of the US)
Diplomatic representation from the US
none (territory of the US)
Flag description
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
National anthem
"Amerika Samoa" (American Samoa)
Mariota Tiumalu TUIASOSOPO/Napoleon Andrew TUITELELEAPAGA
local anthem adopted 1950; as a territory of the United States, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is official (see United States)
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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