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American Samoa is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean that lie about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand and about 100 km (60 mi) east of its neighboring country of Samoa, which is part of the same archipelago and ethnicity. American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States of America. The citizens of American Samoa are US "nationals" and not US "citizens," but they are allowed to travel freely between American Samoa and the US mainland. They are not required to obtain green cards or visas to stay or work in the United States, and they are allowed to serve in the US armed forces (and often do). There are some ways that American Samoa's special status as an unincorporated territory has interesting legal consequences. The US Constitution is not necessarily the supreme law of the land in American Samoa, and Samoan cultural norms, in particular those related to the ownership of property and public displays of religion, actually trump certain well-settled US constitutional rights in American Samoa. The main city is Pago Pago and the smaller Fagatogo is constitutionally designated seat of government. The governor's office is located in the village of Utulei, located on the opposite side of Fagatogo from Pago Pago. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Ottoville
- Fatu ma Futi or flower pot, located about 275 m (900 ft) out in the ocean stands a tall mini island. It is home to many exotic birds and fruit bats.
- Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary (requires a steep, moderately difficult hike)
- National Park of American Samoa
Popular events in Ottoville in the near future
The islands are frequently referred to as Samoa, which is the name of a separate island, and independent country, that used to be known as Western Samoa, that lies about 100 km west of American Samoa. Also the whole island group, including Samoa, are often identified as the Samoan islands.
Settled as early as 1000 BCE by Polynesian navigators, Samoa was reached 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 (later Britain) and the US divided the Samoan archipelago. The US formally occupied its portion, a smaller group of eastern islands with the excellent harbor of Pago Pago in the following year.
American Samoa is warm, humid and rainy year-round, but there is a long, wet summer season (October - May) and a slightly cooler and drier season (June - September). Total annual rainfall is 125 inches at the Tafuna airport and 200+ inches in mountainous areas. Such rainfall gave the English writer Somerset Maugham the name for his short story "Rain", based in Pago Pago, which was subsequently turned into a play and movie.
90% of the land in the group of islands is communally owned. Economic activity is strongly linked to the US and the greater part of its foreign trade is with the US. The private sector is dominated by tuna fishing and the tuna processing plants, canned tuna being the primary export. Monetary transfers from the US Government also add substantially to American Samoa's economic well-being. Since the emergence of US influence and control the government of the United States of America has put up resistance to the emergence of local independence movements. In the early 20th century the American Samoa Mau movement was actively suppressed by the U.S. Navy.
The Governor of American Samoa is the head of government and exercises executive power. American Samoa is an unincorporated and unorganized territory of the United States, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior. Its constitution was ratified in 1966 and came into effect in 1967.
In both American Samoa and (independent) Samoa there is traditional village political system common to all of the Samoa Islands, the "fa'amatai" and the "fa'asamoa" interacts across the current international boundaries. The Fa'asamoa represents language and customs, and the Fa'amatai the protocols of the "fono" (council) and the chief system. The Fa'amatai and the Fono take place at all levels of the Samoan body politic, from the family, to the village and include regional and national matters.
- American Samoa Visitors Bureau, Level 1, Suite #200, Haleck Center (Corner Ottoville Rd & Ili'ili Rd, Ottoville, Pago Pago), ☎ +1 684 699-9805, fax: +1 684 699-9806, e-mail: email@example.com.
- To'aga Beach on the south side of Ofu. Bring your snorkel to explore the pristine coral reef that fringes its shore.
- Tisa's Barefoot Bar & Grill on the northern end of the island. Beach access but no shower.
Tutuila has a wide variety of places to eat—from familiar fast food stops to fine restaurants. The outer islands have far less variety. Restaurants offer a variety of cuisines, including American, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Polynesian.
Kava is often considered to be the national drink. The beverage is made from the roots of the pepper plant (Piper methysticum). Kava is known for its mellow and relaxing effects. Many people drink kava because it is a natural alternative to alcohol and anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication.
American Samoa features a lot of locally run shops and kiosks with products ranging from handmade clothing to traditional wooden weapons.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article American Samoa on Wikivoyage.