Samoa flagSamoa <<suh MOH uh>> is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. It lies in the western part of the Samoa Islands chain. American Samoa, an area of land controlled by the United States, lies in the eastern part of the chain. Samoa is one of the smallest countries in the world. It is made up of two main islands, Upolu and Savai’i, and many smaller islands. Apia is the capital and only city of Samoa.

The islands of Samoa were formed by volcanoes. A volcano on Savai’i still erupts, or shoots out lava and gas. It last erupted from 1905 to 1911, covering part of the island with lava rock.

The island shores are lined with tall coconut palm trees. The rocky, reddish-brown soil near the coasts is good for growing bananas. Other plants include taro, which has an underground stem that can be eaten, and cacao, a tree whose seeds are used to make chocolate and cocoa.

The people of Samoa are an island people called Polynesians. Polynesians have lived in Samoa for at least 2,000 years.

Samoa mapSamoa makes most of its money from farming. Most of the people are farmers. The main food crops are bananas, cacao, coconuts, tropical fruit called breadfruit, and taro.The people also raise pigs and chickens and catch fish.

Polynesian royal families ruled the Samoa Islands until the end of the 1800′s. In the first half of the 1900′s, Samoa was ruled by Germany and then by New Zealand. At that time, it was called Western Samoa. It became an independent country in 1962 and changed its name to just Samoa in 1997. In 2011, Samoa changed time zones to boost trade and tourism with neighboring New Zealand and Australia.

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