According to archaeological evidence, Samoan people are Polynesians
who have migrated from the West, (the East Indies, the Malay Peninsula
or the Philippines).
The oldest known site of human occupation in Samoa is Mulifanua
on Upolu dating back to about 1000 BC (about 3,000 years ago). This
site is associated with Lapita people who left many pieces of broken
The first European to discover Samoa was Jacob Roggeveen, a Dutchman,
who sighted the islands in 1722 whilst searching for the great unknown
Immediately after the outbreak of World War I, Britain persuaded
New Zealand to seize Samoa, which at the time had been under German
regime since the Berlin Treaty was established in 1889.
New Zealand administered Samoa from 1918 up to the day of our independence
in January 1962, making Samoa the first independent Island Nation
in the South Pacific.
Samoa is a traditional society with a distinctive Polynesian cultural
heritage. Our wish to preserve this traditional lifestyle, provides
one of the most enticing principal attractions for tourists.
Traditional authority is vested in the matai, or chief, of the village.
Each extended family or aiga has at least one matai at its head,
who is appointed by consensus of the aiga.
Ownership of customary land is legally vested in the matai who directs
the economic, social and political affairs of the aiga.