(Independent State of Samoa, Malo Saʻoloto Tutoʻatasi o Sāmoa)
- Location: South-central Pacific
- Capital: Apia
- Language(s): English, Samoan
- Population: 182,390
- Total Area: 2,831 sq km
- Currency: Tala
- Curious Alcohol Fact: The most popular alcoholic drink is called kava
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 4.80 liters
- Most Popular Drink(s): Kava, coconut milk
Samoa is an independent island nation located in the south-central part of the Pacific Ocean and of all the nations of Polynesia, it has the westernmost coordinates. It was formerly a United Nations Trust Territory administered by New Zealand but gained its independence in 1962. The capital city is Apia and it is important to emphasize that the Independent State of Samoa is not the same as American Samoa, which lies close. Samoa was formerly referred to as the Western Samoa but this was changed to Samoa in 1997 even in the face of opposition from American Samoa with which it shares the Samoan group of islands. The country is made up of nine islands and the largest of these are Upolu and Savai’i. Others are Apolima, Manono, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Nu’usafee and Fanuatapu.
More than 90% of the people living on the islands are ethnic Samoans and they have Polynesian roots. There is also a unique group called the Euronesians and these are citizens with European and Polynesian roots while others do not have mixed blood. The most widely spoken language in the country is Samoan which is also an official language alongside English. Samoan is said to be related to other Pacific tongues such as Tahitian and Hawaiian. The predominant religion in the country is Christianity although forms of ancestor worship are still strong in many parts. Christianity was introduced to Samoa by European missionaries. Many Samoans are involved in agriculture and they cultivate crops like coconuts, taro and various fruits some of which are exported to generate revenue. Tourism is also a major industry employing numerous Samoans.
Samoans are experts in the kitchen and if you nurse any skepticism concerning this, it simply means you have not tasted palusami. This traditional dish is made from the leaves of taro plant, onions and coconut paste. All these are collected in taro leaves and cooked. The taste of palusami is better experienced than described. As a tourist, the Samoans will also spoil you with supasu’i. A rich meal indeed, supasu’i is made from meat (especially pork, beef or chicken), onions, ginger, soya flavoring and garlic. As the meals are tantalizing to taste, you will also find the method of preparation very interesting. Samoans make their meals using what is known as umu, which is a traditional stove made up of hot rocks. Also, many Samoan dishes feature pork, chicken, vegetables, coconut cream and milk. The same goes for seafood –crabs, lobsters, prawns and fresh fish.
If there is any drink that can be considered to be the national drink in Samoa, it will be kava. This drink is made from the chopped roots of the kava plant and described as stimulating and slightly intoxicating. Coconut milk is also served in all parts of the island, and I have come to the conclusion that most (if not all) Pacific Islanders are in love with coconut juice.
Sports in Samoa
Even though Samoa is not as large as many other nations in the region, you will be captivated by the level of sports development on the island nation. The most popular sports in Samoa include cricket, football, basketball and rugby. Many Samoans have participated at the Olympics and they have impressive records.
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