Samoa was discovered in 1722 by Dutchman Jacob Roggeveen.
Throughout the 19th century, parts of the Kingdom of Samoa were claimed by the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States. When King Malietoa Laupepa died in 1898, he was succeeded by Malietoa Tooa Mataafa.
However, the US and UK supported Malietoa Tanumafili I, Laupepa's son. American and British ships bombed Apia on 15 March 1899.
The Samoa Tripartite Convention decided to divide the archipelago. The United Kingdom took the Solomon Islands, and the United States got American Samoa. Germany was to govern the western part, the present State of Samoa, under the name German Samoa (1900-1914). The monarchy was abolished as a result of this convention. From 1908 onwards, various groups started to oppose German rule.
After the outbreak of World War I, in August 1914, New Zealand invaded German Samoa. Germany refused to give up the islands, but the islands were not defended in any way. New Zealand occupied German Samoa without firing a single shot.
New Zealand continued to occupy the islands throughout the remainder of the First World War. After the Treaty of Versailles, the country received a mandate over the territories, and after World War II, a United Nations trusteeship.
Samoa officially became independent on 1 January 1962, making it the first independent Polynesian state of the 20th century.
Since 16 June 2007, Tufuga Efi has been the head of state of Samoa. In September 2009, Samoa switched to driving on the left. In December 2011, Samoa skipped a day and crossed the date line to align with its major trading partners Australia and New Zealand. In May 2012, Samoa joins the World Trade Organization. In June 2013, it is decided that the next elections will have a 10% quota of women in Parliament. In the March 2016 elections, Prime Minister Tuila'epa's party wins the elections and because only 4 women were directly elected, the quota is immediately instituted as the parliament consists of 50 members. In July 2017, Va' aleto Sualauvi II became the new head of state.
The 2021 elections saw Fiame Naomi Mata'afa become Samoa's first female Prime Minister, ending the 23-year reign of Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. She left the ruling HRPP party and joined the opposition FAST party in January. She brings with her decades of experience, including a stint as the first female deputy prime minister, not to mention her fame as the daughter of the first prime minister and her royal lineage.
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