Profile Source: Wallace Revels
Introduction / History
The Territory of American Samoa is an archipelago of volcanic islands and atolls located in the South Pacific Ocean approximately 2500 miles east northeast of Australia. Approximately halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, the territory is made up of five volcanic islands (Tutuila, Aunu'u, Ofu, Olosega and Ta'ū) and two atolls (Rose and Swains). Settled as early as 1000 BC, 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 began formally occupying its portion, a group of eastern islands with the excellent harbor of Pago Pago, in 1900.
Where are they Located?
The Territory of American Samoa is an archipelago of volcanic islands and atolls located in the South Pacific Ocean approximately 2500 miles east northeast of Australia about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. Its geographic coordinates are 14 20 S, 170 00 W. Including marine waters and 200 mile exclusive economic zone, the Territory's total area is 117,500 square miles, about the size of the State of Oregon. With steep volcanic mountains, the tallest peak Mount Lata at 3170 feet is on Ta'ū Island and Mount Matafao at 2142 feet on Tutuila Island, the islands offer terrain that is variable and interesting. American Samoa is a tropical paradise and the climate averages 82˚-83˚ F year round and the ocean waters that surround the islands average 82˚-86˚ F.
What are Their Lives Like?
With 90% of the islands covered in untouched tropical rainforest, the flora and fauna of the islands is unique. The National Park of American Samoa is the only US Park in the Pacific offering challenging and dramatic hiking trails to historical sites, secluded beaches, and villages. Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of only 13 conservation areas throughout the United States. The tropical rainforests, beaches, and surrounding ocean waters make American Samoa an attractive tourism destination.
American Samoa's islands make up the eastern part of the Samoan Archipelago. Archaeologists stated that the early Polynesians traveled from South East Asia into the Pacific populating the islands of the western Pacific from Papua New Guinea to Samoa and Tonga. It was from Samoa and Tonga some time later that the Polynesians migrated east and populated the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tahiti before heading north to Hawaii and south to New Zealand. Samoan's are regarded as the largest full-blooded Polynesian race left in the Pacific and make up 92% of American Samoan's population of 55,000. The remainder is composed of Asian, Caucasian, and mixtures. The languages spoken are Samoan, English, and Tongan and most people are bilingual.
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 resulting in about 200 deaths. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency is overseeing a relief program of nearly $25 million. Grants 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 the potential for devastating hurricanes. Despite these challenges, tourism is a promising developing sector.
All typical communication services are available on American Samoa in the major population areas. The international calling code for American Samoa is 684. There are three airports with paved runways, paved roads, and a shipping port and terminal. The currency used is the US Dollar.
What are Their Beliefs?
The religious beliefs on American Samoa are segmented as follows: Christian Congregationalist 50%, Roman Catholic 20%, Protestant and other 30%. The islands may also have small pockets of superstitious beliefs and/or hybridized beliefs made of aspects of several belief systems. The islands should be easily accessed by Christian missionaries due to the heavy representation of Christian and Catholic religions.
What are Their Needs?
Like all locations throughout the world, American Samoa needs clear and consistent teaching of the word of God along with patient and sincere examples of Christian leadership. As is common for nations consisting of many islands, the people in the remote islands may not have access to the same conveniences and supplies that are available to people in the more heavily populated areas. Supplies of educational materials, medicines, foodstuff, clothing, and housewares could be beneficial to them.
Also, the unemployment rate for the islands is very high. People on the islands need opportunities that can only be supplied by the growth of business and industry on the islands.
* Pray for God's grace to shine upon American Samoa
* Pray for people to teach God's word in its entirety
* Pray for local people to be empowered to take the Gospel throughout the islands of American Somoa and to neighboring island nations
* Pray for employment opportunities for the people of American Samoa
Some information was used with permission from http://goo.gl/8cKh0 and http://www.amsamoachamber.com/ .
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