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For a generic country overview, please consult the following sources:

Generic Information:


Samoa, officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa, is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. The country is made up of nine volcanic islands, two of which - Savai'i and Upolu - make up more than 99% of the land. The capital city, Apia, and Faleolo International Airport are situated on the island of Upolu. 

Samoa was governed by New Zealand until its people voted for independence in 1962. It has the world's second-largest Polynesian group, after the Maori. Samoa was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976. The entire island group, inclusive of American Samoa, was called Navigators Islands by European explorers before the 20th century because of the Samoans' seafaring skills. 

In Samoa there is a constitutional monarch—currently His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II—who is head of state and has the power to dissolve the 49-member legislature (Fono). The prime minister is head of government. The members of the legislative assembly, who must have matai titles, are elected for five-year terms. The voting age is 21.