The Wayback Machine -
Samoa - Chronological History of Samoa

Chronological History of Samoa

A.D.  450

First actual record of Polynesia in Fiji. Apparently the people have reached Tonga. Possibly they had communicated with the Samoans.

A.D.  575 Tonga-Fijians occupied the coasts of Savaii and Upolu for 25 generations.
A.D. 1000-1200

The influence of the Tuimanu'a (King of the Manu'a group) in Upolu and Savaii had long been extinct. Aana and Atua Districts had risen into prominence.

A.D. 1200

The Tongans had power over Samoa, excluding Manu'a, possessing the four great royal titles - Tuiaana, Tuiatua, Gatoaitele and Tamasoaalii.

A.D.. 1600 Tongans expelled from Samoa, led by the Malietoa family.

In the islands of Savaii, Upolu and Tutuila are large defense walls known as Pa-Tonga (Tongan-Walls). They are the lasting signs of slavery and sufferings under the Tongan yoke. Large boulders weighing several tons, that modern equipment could hardly lift nowadays, were used in building the walls for forts which stretch long distances over hills and valleys. In their last attempt to defeat the Tongans, the Malietoa family planned the successful invasion of Upolu. In the eastern end of the island the historical war started. In remembrance of a bloody battle there, a place was named Malaela (Basking Ground). It is said that the captives were tied and placed in the blazing sun the whole day. Originally the village was named Malae-faala.

The battle continued westward around the windward side of the island. The Tongans were again severely beaten in Solosolo. The original name of the village, "Solosolo-ga-toto" (Wiping of Blood) is suggestive of a very bloody battle fought there. Solosolo is now one of the very prominent villages of the Atua District. When the Malietoas reached the westernmost end of the island, the Tongans were said to have been fighting from the sea. Continued war being hopeless for the Tongans, they decided to surrender. From the stern of the Tongan war-canoe their leader addressed the victorious Samoan warriors as follows: "Ua malie toa! Ua malie tau! Ou te le toe sau i le auliuli tau. Ae o le a ou sau i le auliuli folau." ("Congratulations thou hero! I am pleased with your fighting! I shall return (to Samoa no more as a warrior but I will come back as your guest.") This historic utterance, used as terms for an armistice by the Tongans, originated the name "Malietoa" which was properly given to the most popular king of Samoa, who liberated them from several generations of bondage. The brief but meaningful statement by the defeated Tongan warrior was made very popular for almost five centuries and is quoted frequently by famed orators on reconciliations and in congratulatory speeches.

The grotesque and gruesome past has long been buried. Friendly relations with the Tongans have been undisturbed since the decisive battle won for Samoa by the Malietoas. The late Queen, Her Majesty Salote Tubou, D.B.E., of Tonga, has had occasion to entertain the kings of Samoa as her guests in Nuku'alofa (Village of Love), her home. Likewise have Malietoa, Tamasese and Mataafa on several occasions received queen Salote in Samoa during her official visits.

The history and legends of Samoa record 133 major wars, starting from the battle of Anuilagi (Rebels of Pulotu and Papatea). The last was the Korean war fought abroad in the British and American armed forces. The second World War also drafted many of the Samoan youths of whom several died on the battlefield. 

1722 The Samoan islands were first sighted by Jacob Rogeveen, while in command of the
  "Dutch Three Ship Expedition."
1768 The French circumnavigator, Bougainville, arrived. He named Samoa "The Navigators
1787 The French La Perouse expedition visited Tutuila and Upolu. Captain de Langle went
  ashore at Au, on the north shore of Tutuila, with four boats to get water. The party was
  attacked by natives. When de Langle ordered his men to fire over the heads of the
  natives, a shower of stones rained on their boats and all around them. Among the dead
  were Captain de Langle, M. de Lemanon, a physicist, and ten of his men. An enclosed
  monument was erected to their memory in Asu by the French Government in 1883. 
1830 John Williams and Charles Barff, the pioneer missionaries of the London Missionary
  Society, arrived with several Tahitian teachers, landing on Sapapalii, Savaii, during the
  Aana War.
1838 (August 18) The United Exploring Expedition, under Charles Wilkes, sailed from
  Hampton Roads. The scientific cops, including naturalists, botanists, mineralogists,
  horticulturalists, draughtsmen and interpreters, explored the islands.
1844 The Mission Institute of Malua, Upolu, was founded.
1846 First Catholic priests arrived and settled on Savaii.
1847 Great Britain established a consular office at Apia.
1848 Native wars began, that lasted nine years.
1853 United States established a consular office at Apia.
1861 Germany established a consular office at Apia.
1869 Malietoa Laupepa, son of Malietoa Milo was said to have been brought secretly to
  Apia by Mr. Williams, a missionary, and crowned king. Immediately the followers of
  his uncle, Malietoa Talavou, half-brother of Malietoa Moli, crowned him king at
  Mulinuu. Civil war followed between the Malietoas. This ended in the establishment  new
  of the government of the Ta'imua and Pule.
1873 The State Department of the United States sent Col. A. B. Steinberger to Samoa as a
  special agent to report on conditions in the islands.
1875 The Faipule Council elected in January two kings to represent the two families of
  Malietoa and Tupua. Steinberger became the Premier of the Government of Samoa. A
  new Constitution was adopted by the Ta'imua, May 18, superseding the one of August,
  1873. A hereditary monarchy was established. The kings were to be chosen alternately
  from the two houses of Malietoa and Tupua, each king to reign four years.
1877 The Puletua rebellion became so serious that in April the Ta'imua and Faipule sent a
  delegation to Fiji to appeal for British protection. United States Consul Foster was
  assisting the insurgents. On December 8, High Chief Mauga escaped with his forces,
  under cover of night, to Aunuu.
1879 (January 21) A treaty was concluded between Germany and Samoa, under which Samoa
  gave Germany the right to establish a naval station in the harbour of Saluafata. A
  treaty between Samoa and Great Britain was negotiated by Sir Arthur Gordon. On
  November 16 the peace agreement was signed. The treaty provided that Malietoa
  Alavou should be king and Malietoa Laupepa, vice-king, would succeed his uncle on
  his death. All flags were abolished and a new one adopted, to show the unity of Samoa.
  The government decided on a red flag with a white cross, and also a white star with
  five points. The star was to be in the upper part next to the flagstaff.
1880 Malietoa was anointed king, according to the Samoan custom. On November 9, word 
  was received in Apia of the death of King Malietoa, Talavou, on the island of Savaii,
  where he had been for some time. War broke out in full force soon after.
1881  (March 9) Malietoa was duly anointed king. The three consuls of Germany, Great
  Britain, and the United States were present. On April 21, the Tamasese followers met at
  Leulumoega and declared him king of Atua and Aana Districts, to hold office for two
  years and then to be succeeded by Mataafa.
1882 The legislature of the reformed government met for the first time July 12 in Mulinuu.
1883 Malietoa was induced to apply to Great Britain for annexation of Samoa.
1884 (November 5) A petition was signed by the king, the vice-king and 48 chiefs, asking Her
  Majesty, the Queen of England, to make Samoa an English Colony, or to connect it with
  the Government of New Zealand. 
1885 (January 23) Dr. Sterubel hoisted the Imperial German flag at Mulnuu.
1887 Hawaiian Mission to Samoa, J. E. Bush was commissioned by King Kalakaua and
  Gibson of Hawaii as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the kings of
  Samoa and Tonga. The purpose was to advance Hawaii's claim to the supremacy of the
  Pacific. The mission was disapproved and the Hawaiians returned home via Pago Pago.
  A conference was held in Washington by the Secretary of State with the British and
  German ministers. The appointment of a foreign adviser to the king was proposed. On
  September 15, Tamasese was declared king, with Eugen Brandeis as adviser.
  Malietoa was sent into exile on the 18th, first to the Cameroons, then to Germany.
  From there he was sent to Jaluit in the Marshall Islands.
1888 Malietoa Tooa Mataafa was crowned at Faleula, Upolu, on September 9. Germany at
  this time sided with Tamasese, the British and the United states with Mataafa. The first
  missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (known as Mormons)
  arrived in Samoa.
1889 Tamasese steadily lost support, and Brandis left Samoa early in the year. A destructive
  hurricane on march 13 sank six ships of the Three Powers in the Apia Harbour.
  Malietoa Laupepa was returned to Apia by a German gunboat from the Marshalls. He
  was declared king again in Lelepa, Manono, December 4.



Reading the Treaty of Berlin in 1889 concluded among the Great powers - Great Britain, the United States and Germany - guaranteeing the Samoans full rights of Government. Among Samoans, this is considered the greatest single event in their history. His Royal Highness Malietoa Laupepa received the translation surrounded by a military guard.
1890 Robert Louis Stevenson (Tusitala) arrived in Samoa. He was 45 years old when he died
  in Vailima, December 3, 1894.
1892 Robert Louis Stevenson forwarded to the Three Powers, via the consul in Apia, certain
  proposals and alterations to the Berlin Treaty, adopted at a public meeting at which he
  was chairman.
1893 Mataafa and his force were utterly defeated by King Malietoa. Mataafa and his
  followers were made prisoners of war without any bloodshed at Manono Island, July 18.
  Mataafa and eleven ringleaders were exiled to the Union Islands and later to Jaluit in
  the Marshall Islands.
1895 Secretary of State of the United States, W. Q. Gresham, said his government opposed
  constitution of the exile of Mataafa and his associates on the island of Jaluit. Ample
  punishment had already been indicated and the United states would not any longer
  assume one-third of the expenses.
1898 The three consuls notified their governments that certain rebel chiefs of Tumua had
  declared their independence by raising a separate flag at Leulamoega. The consuls
  demanded that the rebel chiefs change and that Malietoa be recognized as the only king
  in Samoa. Mataafa was pardoned and returned to Samoa after he signed an agreement
  promising allegiance to Malietoa. He arrived in Apia September 17. Since there was
  no consideration of parliamentary rules and no provision in the laws of the Samoan
  Government that a vote of the majority rules, agitation continued. there were three

claimants to the throne: Mataafa, Tamasese, Malietoa Tanu (son of Laupepa).

  Tamasese withdrew. Supporters of the two remaining claimants were armed and
  ready for war. On December 31, the Chief Justice decided in favour of Malietoa.
  Civil war broke out immediately. The Chief Justice, Tamasese, and Malietoa Tanu
  took refuge with the American consul General aboard the H.B.M.S. Porpoise on
  January 4, the three consuls issued a proclamation in which Mataafa and 13 other
  chiefs were referred to as the provisional government of Samoa. This step was
  taken to avoid further bloodshed.
1899 The U.S.S. Philadelphia, flagship of Rear Admiral Albert Kautz, united States Navy,
  arrived at Apia March 6 with instructions to act according to the decision of the majority
  of the consular representatives of the Three Powers. Mataafa and his followers were
  ordered to go quietly to their homes and obey the law of Samoa and respect the Berlin
  treaty. The German Consul General issued a proclamation of denial, stating he would
  uphold the provisional government until he was officially informed from Berlin of a
  change. Mataafa's forces and villages were shelled by the American and British men-
  of-war. In April, the powers' representatives decided to send immediately from the
  United States to Samoa, a joint commission of three members, one from each power, to
  exercise supreme power and authority in the islands and prepare a strong and stable
  government for the future. They were Mr. Bartlett Tripp for the United States, C. N.
  E. Eliot, C.B. for Great Britain, and Freiherr Speck von Sternberg for Germany. In
  early September the commission agreed that the division of the islands was the best
  solution. The United States Government expressed its willingness to accept Tutuila
  and Manu'a and Germany and England to divide the rest. The Three Powers each
  renounced their rights to islands which were to belong to other governments. On
  December 2, ratifications were signed in which Germany was to take Upolu and Savaii
  and other adjoining islands. Britain took the Solomon Islands, including Tonga and the
  Savage Islands.
1900 On March 2, the German flag was hoisted at Mulinau, Upolu, for German Samoa, with
  Dr. Solf as their first governor. On April 17, the American flag was hoisted in Pago
  Pago, Tutuila, by the United States for American Samoa, with Commander Tilley,
  U.S.N., as their first governor.
1914 (August 25) A New Zealand expeditionary force arrived off Apia and demanded that
  Germany surrender the town and territory. The demand was refused by there was no
  resistance offered. The occupation during World War One took place without any
  fighting. A Council of the League of Nations conferred upon His Britannic Majesty for
  and on behalf of the Dominion of New Zealand, the authority to administer German
Samoa. Col. Ward Tate was the first civil administrator. The first military governor
during the expeditionary force occupation was Colonel Logan, who took possession
when the German governor, Dr. Schultz, capitulated the islands to the new Zealand
force within the half-hour demanded upon their arrival at Apia Harbour.
1918 Toward the end of the year Western Samoa was plagued by the world epidemic of
pneumonic influenza, from which more than a fifth of the population died. Their
  neighbours in American Samoa - sixty miles away - escaped entirely, owing to the
  maintenance of strict quarantine.
1929 (December 28) Prince Tamasese with Tuimalealiifano and two other high chiefs was shot
  at by a fully-armed European police force from New Zealand. They were marching
  ahead of a parade made up of members of the Mau (an organization protesting the
  government), who were marching to the dock to meet some of their members who were
  returning from New Zealand where they had been deported. Tamasese, suffering from
  several wounds, fell. While in agony he pleaded, "Samoa, hold fast to peace." That
  evening, while in the Motootua Hospital, Tamasese issued a manifesto to all Samoa,
  "If I die, peace must be maintained at any price. My blood is honourably spilled for
  the noble cause." During she early hours of the following day, all hope for his recovery
  ended. He died and all Samoa was shocked. The native casualties were eleven killed
  - including two high chiefs - and sixteen wounded, many of them seriously. The
  Samoan league known at the "Mau", heeded Tamasese's pleading, and no revenge
  was ever displayed. Through proper negotiation and strict reverence for their chiefs,
  Western Samoa now enjoys an independent form of government.
1951 The United States Navy Administration over Tutuila and Manu'a was changed to a civil
  form of government by act of the Congress of the United States. A Senate and a House
  of Representative was established for the first time in American Samoa

Early image of King Mataafa of Samoa (seated)

Engraving of Apia, Samoa, 1894 (including Tamasese (left) and Malietoa)

Samoa Home Page
Samoa Postcards and Picture Galleries
Oceania Postcards and Picture Galleries
Jane's Oceania Home Page
Jane Resture's Oceania Page

Pacific Islands Radio Stations

Jane's Oceania Travel Page
Jane's Oceania Home Page Newsletter
to get the latest news, information and Web site updates!
Please enter your email address below
then click the 'Join' button for your free Newsletter!

 Join newsletter! 
 (E-mail: -- Rev. 6th July 2004)
  yahoo.gif (465 bytes)