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Wednesday 13th December
Samoa Information - Page 2
History
In 1899 a treaty between Britain, Germany and the USA divided the islands of Samoa between Germany (Western Samoa) and the United States (American Samoa). Britain withdrew claims to the islands in return for Tonga and the Solomon Islands.

During the First World War, New Zealand occupied Western Samoa. New Zealand continued to administer the islands under a League of Nations mandate and then a United Nations mandate.

Western Samoa gained independence in 1962. In 1997 the Constitution was amended to change the name of the country to the Independent State of Samoa.

Economy
Agriculture, although providing the smallest percentage of Samoa's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is a major employer. Coconut oil, coconut cream and copra are produced by the manufacturing sector. Light manufacturing is expanding. Fishing is an important industry.

Growing sectors include offshore banking and tourism. Remittances from Samoans overseas are important to the country's economy. (2011)

Arts
Traditional crafts in Samoa include wood carving, woven mats and tapa products. Tapa, often decorated, is cloth made from beaten tree bark.

The art of tattooing has been practiced in Samoa for over two thousand years. Men who wear tattoos are covered from the waist to the knees. Women are traditionally tattooed on the thighs.

The Falemata'aga Museum of Samoa, in Apia, provides information about the culture, history and environment of Samoa and the Pacific.

Sport
Popular sports played in Samoa are rugby, football, volleyball, netball, cricket (kirikiti) and tennis. Water sports include canoe racing, swimming, surfing, snorkelling and diving.

As a member of the Commonwealth, Samoa takes part in the Commonwealth Games.

Holidays
All Christian holidays are celebrated. Other holidays include New Year's Day - 1 January and Independence Day - 1 June (from the New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship -1962).

News
News from Samoa is available from Newslink.

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