Samoa & Tonga

Samoa vs. American Samoa - Two Sides of Paradise

Zegrahm Contributor|July 27, 2017|Blog Post

As a people, Samoans share a common language, a warm, generous spirit, a love of tattoos, and a 3,000-year-old cultural code. Fa’a Samoa, the Samoan Way, emphasizes loyalty to family, respect for one’s elders, and a commitment to serving the community, which is considered all-important. But one thing Samoans no longer share? The same time zone.

It is just one of the differences guests on our 14-day Samoa & Tonga: Swimming with Humpbacks expedition will find between the independent island nation of Samoa and American Samoa, an unincorporated US territory. The archipelago was formally partitioned as a result of the Tripartite Convention of 1899, which ended years of civil war. In the treaty, the nine islands that make up Samoa (previously German, and then Western, Samoa) were ceded to Germany, while the United States acquired the five islands that comprise American Samoa.

The entire archipelago, located midway between Hawaii and New Zealand, had shifted east of the international dateline in 1892 to make it easier for US and European merchant ships to conduct business. In the century since then, however, Samoa found its economic interests lied more in Australia, New Zealand, and Asian countries—countries that were operating a full day ahead. So in 2011, the island nation decided to switch back to the western side of the dateline to be on the same weekday as its modern trading partners.

The change, however, means Samoan nationals no longer share the same day with their brethren just 70 miles away. (One benefit: You can celebrate the same birthday or special occasion twice, on the same date, simply by flying between the two island groups!)

Another difference between Samoa and American Samoa is the way in which they are governed. During World War I, New Zealand took then-Western Samoa from Germany and administrated United Nations control over the chain until 1962, when Samoa became the first Pacific nation to gain its independence. While American Samoans elect their own governor, they are considered US nationals, not citizens; indeed, American Samoa is the only US territory that does not grant automatic citizenship at birth. (Despite this seeming indignity, the islands claim the highest rate of enlistment in the US Armed Forces.)

While the Fa’a Samoa traditions are still evident in both island groups, American Samoa is clearly more impacted by US culture. Visitors see the influence in everything from television and music to foods and architecture.

 

Experience both sides of paradise on our Samoa & Tonga: Swimming with Humpbacks expedition, departing August 27, 2018.

Related Blog Posts

  • Australia's Kimberley
    Blog Post

    Australia's Kimberley: Tales from The Nature Conservancy

    August 8, 2017 | Blog Post

    This blog originally appeared on The Nature Conservancy.

    Read More

    Sudbury Cay, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
    Blog Post

    Is the Great Barrier Reef Dead? Why Now is the Best Time to Visit

    August 2, 2017 | Blog Post

    Considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is our planet’s largest and most vital reef system. It’s comprised of over 2,900 individual reefs and 1,050 islands, which stretch out over 1,400 miles long.

    Read More

    Antarctic Sunset
    Blog Post

    The Best Places for Stargazing Around the World

    July 25, 2017 | Blog Post

    On August 21, the moon will pass in front of the sun and the sky will turn completely dark in the middle of the day. Total solar eclipses like this occur approximately once every 18 months, but they’re usually only visible from less than half a percent of the Earth’s surface. This will be the first total solar eclipse visible in the United States since 1979.

    Read More

  • Best of the Great Barrier Reef
    Blog Post

    The Ins & Outs of the Great Barrier Reef

    July 19, 2017 | Blog Post

    Brad Climpson is a marine biologist who spent the last 20 years living on the edge of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. His passion for the underwater realm has taken him to Fiji, Indonesia, Bermuda, and the Maldives.

    Read More

    Polynesia
    Blog Post

    Polynesia 360 - Our Expedition Team Tells All

    June 29, 2017 | Blog Post

    We’ve been traveling to the South Pacific for 20 years, and in that time, we have honed two spectacular itineraries!

    Read More

    Broome, Australia
    Field Report

    Australia's Kimberley: A Voyage to the Outback 2017 Field Report

    June 28, 2017 | Field Report

    Sunday & Monday, April 16 & 17, 2017 - Broome, Australia / Embark Coral Discoverer

    Read More

  • Great Barrier Reef
    Infographics

    2018: 26 Countries, 52 UNESCO World Heritage Sites [Infographic]

    May 4, 2017 | Infographics

    In 2018, Zegrahm will be visiting 52 amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in over 25 countries! The United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the UN that maintains a list of important natural or historical sites, whose preservation and safe-keeping are deemed important for the world community.

    Read More

    Micronesia
    Blog Post

    Bridging the Equator: Micronesia, 2010 Field Report

    March 23, 2017 | Blog Post

    Saturday, August 28, 2010 Guam

    Read More

    Island Sky
    Infographics
  • Lanzarote, Canary Islands
    Blog Post

    2018 Travel Bucket List

    March 6, 2017 | Blog Post

    Where will your travel dreams take you in 2018? Here are just a few once-in-a-lifetime experiences Zegrahm can help you check off your bucket list next year.

     

    Read More

    Polynesia
    Blog Post

    The Top 10 Polynesian Islands

    February 28, 2017 | Blog Post

    There are over 10,000 Polynesian islands in the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The region is generally defined by a triangle stretching from Hawaii in the north, to Easter Island in the east and New Zealand in the west. The main groups of Polynesian islands include the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and various others.

    Read More

    Henderson Lorikeet
    Blog Post

    Endemic Birds of the Polynesian Islands

    February 28, 2017 | Blog Post

    Birds are probably not the first attraction most people think of when dreaming about visiting the Polynesian Islands. But once you get your fill of glistening waters in every possible shade of blue, grand landscapes that tower like skyscrapers, gregarious indigenous cultures, and gorgeous tropical sunsets, the islands’ forests are well worth exploring.

    Read More