Enchanting, mysterious, romantic. These are the islands where Margaret Mead, Somerset Maugham, Robert Louis Stevenson and Gary Cooper lived for part of their lives. The only US Territory south of the Equator, American Samoa lies 2,300 miles south of Hawaii, 4,200 miles south of San Francisco. It is a mere 77 square miles and Tutuila, the largest island, has 53 of them. Not much land is left for the other six. Total population of the seven islands, one of which (Swain's Island) is uninhabited, is 36,000. And about 6,000 live in and around the capital, Pago Pago (pronounced Pahngo Pahngo) which, with Fagatogo, is called the Bay Area. The Samoans, about as Polynesian as they come, claim their islands as the cradle of Polynesia. Cultural evidence does indeed point to their presence there as far back as 600 B.C. There aren't many ports in the South Pacific more beautiful than Pago Pago Harbor. And the combined town of Pago Pago-Fagatogo, with its substantial public and private buildings on either side of a pretty square, complement the setting. In the Independent State of Samoa, compared to American Samoa, the tropics and Polynesia are at their most intense. It's a land of luxuriant greenness and, in the dozens of villages along the coastal way, visitors see Samoan life at its traditional best.
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Hunter Publishing, Inc.
April 05, 2011
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