American Samoa – key data
Area: 199 km²
Population: 67,242 residents (July 2011 estimate, CIA). Polynesians 91.6%, Asians 2.8%, Whites 1.1%, mixed roots 4.2%, others 0.3% (2000 census)
Population density: 338 residents per km²
Population growth: 1.2% per year (2011, CIA)
Capital: Pago Pago (11,500 residents, 2000). Fagatogo, the place where the parliament of American Samoa meets, is often considered the de jure and de facto capital.
Highest point: Lata Mountain, 964 m
Lowest point: Pacific Ocean, 0 m
Form of government: American Samoa is a non-incorporated territory of the United States. Administration, foreign policy and defense are determined by the US government. The constitution of American Samoa dates from July 1, 1967. The parliament (Fono) consists of two chambers: the Senate consists of 18 senators, elected by tribal chiefs, and the House of Representatives consists of 21 members.
Administrative division: 3 districts: Eastern, Western and Manu’a as well as 2 atolls: Rose Atoll and Swains Island.
Head of State: President Barack Obama, since January 20, 2009
Head of Government: Governor Lolo Letalu Matalasi Moliga, since January 3, 2013
Language: The official languages are Samoan and English. 90.6% of the population speak Samoan (which is closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages) as their main language. English 2.9%, Tongan 2.4%, other Pacific languages 2%, other 2.1%. Most of the residents are bilingual.
Religion: mostly Christian (50% Congregationalists, 30% Protestants, 20% Roman Catholic).
Local time: CET – 12 h.
In American Samoa there is no change between summer and winter time.
The time difference to Central Europe is in winter – 12 h and in summer – 13 h.
International phone code: + 1-684
American Samoa geography
As a country located in Oceania defined by a2zgov.com, American Samoa is a non-integrated territory of the United States of America that is part of the American Oceania region. The archipelago is part of the Samoan Islands and is located in the middle of the southern Pacific. The total area of American Samoa is about 199 square kilometers, making American Samoa the largest US territory in the southern hemisphere. American Samoa consists of seven islands and a few rocky cliffs jutting out of the sea.
The distance from American Samoa to Sydney in Australia is about 4,000 kilometers and to Los Angeles in the “motherland” of the United States approximately 8,400 kilometers. The archipelago’s neighbors are Tonga in the south, Fiji in the southwest, Tuvalu in the northeast, Tokelau in the north and the Cook Islands in the east. Even taking into account the enormous distance to the United States, the transport connections to many American cities are far better than to the mentioned and much closer neighboring islands.
The largest island in American Samoa, at 145 square kilometers, is Tutuila, which also has the greatest population density. More than 90% of the approximately 65,000 residents of American Samoa live here. Off the southeast coast of Tutuila is the offshore island of Aunu’u, which consists only of a volcanic crater. To the east of Tutuila lies the Manu’a Group, which is made up of the islands Ofu, Olosega and Ta’u. This archipelago is also of volcanic origin, which is clearly visible in its mountainous structure and rugged lava rock. To the north and west of the archipelago are Swains Island and the Rose Atoll, both of which consist mainly of sandy and uninhabited islets.
The volcanoes responsible for the formation of the archipelago have been extinct for a long time. The mountains on American Samoa are very rugged due to the strong erosion and sometimes have bizarre formations. The Lata on the island of Ta’u is the highest mountain in the entire archipelago with a height of 966 meters. The other important cities in American Samoa besides the capital Pago Pago are Tula Village, Amanave, Vaitogi and Tafuna.
American Samoa – arrival
Airplane: There are only direct flights to American Samoa (Tutuila) from Apia (Samoa) and Honolulu (Hawaii). Many visitors therefore combine a visit to the archipelago with a trip to other destinations in the South Pacific.
Flights between Pago Pago and Honolulu are operated by Hawaiian Airlines. From Samoa, travelers can fly to American Samoa with Inter-Islands Airways and Polynesian Airlines.
Airports: all flights to American Samoa land at Tafuna International Airport in Tutuila, 15 kilometers southwest of the port of Pago Pago.
Ship: a car ferry runs weekly between Pago Pago and Apia, the capital of the western part of the Samoan Islands. The journey takes about seven hours. Tickets for the return journey to Apia must be purchased at least one day in advance from Polynesia Shipping Services in Pago Pago.
American Samoa climate
The climate in American Samoa is tropical due to its location in the South Pacific. It is permanently warm and always moist. The average temperature fluctuates very little due to the archipelago’s proximity to the equator and is always between 24 and 28 ° C. The thermometer practically never drops below 21 ° C, but also almost never rises above 32 ° C.
Like the air, the water temperatures are tropically warm and range between 24 and 28 ° C.
The annual amount of precipitation is 5,000 – 7,000 mm, almost ten times as high as in Germany.
As usual in the tropics, there are two seasons in American Samoa: a cooler and drier one and a warmer and more humid one.
The “dry season” lasts from May to October. Then the southeast trade wind ensures milder temperatures, less rain and lower humidity, but also plenty of sunshine and blue skies. But even in the drier phase, short but violent tropical showers and thunderstorms are quite normal, especially at night. Most of the annual rainfall occurs
during the rainy season from November to April. Then the torrential rain can last for several days. Overcast skies and relatively little sunshine characterize these months. The rainy season is also characterized by the highest temperatures during the year and an uncomfortably high humidity of 76%.
Between December and March, American Samoa is threatened by tropical cyclones that can wreak havoc.
Best time to visit American Samoa
Experts recommend May through October as the ideal time to visit American Samoa. In this drier season there is relatively little rain, there is a lot of sun and temperatures are between 22 and 26ºC. It is also less humid than in the wetter phase from November to April.
In the rainy season it is hot, it rains a lot and tropical cyclones can hit the archipelago again and again. December and January are also the main travel time for Americans, Australians and New Zealanders for American Samoa. Hotels and flights must be booked well in advance.