1830-1899 History of the Pacific Islands 1918-1939

Western Samoa a German Colony, 1900-1918

In 1900, Germany declared a protectorate over Western Samoa, while the smaller eastern islands became American. The seat of the German administration was established at APIA.
Dissatisfied with German colonial rule, Samoans in 1908 formed the MAU A PULE resistance movement, which was non-violent; in 1909 it's leader was deported to the Mariana islands.
World War I broke out in 1914; the German colony was occupied on August 29th 1914 by 1,400 troops from New Zealand; over 8,000 Samoans fell victim to an influenza epidemics (more than 20 % of a population estimated at 40,000 in 1912).
The German governor in 1914 was deported to Fiji as a prisoner-of-war; in 1916, the German language SAMOANISCHE ZEITUNG (Samoan gazette) was suppressed.

The German acquisition of Western Samoa in 1899/1900 was motivated rather by political motives - to appease the German public expectation of further colonial expansion - than of realistic economic expectations. Samoa, with a comparatively insignificant population and without a natural harbour - travelers to Western Samoa used the harbour of Pago-Pago in American Samoa did not offer much potential for German commerce; over 95 % of the ships arriving at Western Samoa were not sailing under the German flag.
A specific Samoan export product was the KAVA ROOT, which was used as herbal medicine.

History, from Independent State of Western Samoa
History of Western Samoa, from Lonely Planet
Samoa, from Deutsche Schutzgebiete, in English
Geschichte 1900, from samoa-info, detailed, in German; see also files on Germans/German (items) on Samoa, from the same source, in German
Mau Movement (1908-1936), from pasif
Germany in Western Samoa, from R.M. Watson, History of Samoa, 1917
Samoan Civil War 1898-1899, in : Wars of 1899, from The History Guy, scroll down
Samoa, from Catholic Encyclopedia 1912 edition
Koloniales Landrecht (Samoa), from Eine Welt Expo in German
Zeittafel Samoa (Timetable Samoa under German rule), from Traditionsverband ehemalige Schutz- und Ueberseetruppen, in German, illustrated
Samoa 1914, posted by H.J. Hiery, Das Deutsche Reich in der Suedsee, in German, detailed
The Kava Root and its History, from samoankava.com
DOCUMENTS Flag of German Samoa, from FOTW
Map of Germany's possessions in the Pacific 1912, from Deutsche Schutzgebiete
Map featuring Samoa under German rule, posted by Jaduland, here another map from the same source
The German Protectorates in the Pacific : Samoa, from Deutscher Kolonialatlas (Atlas og Germany's Colonies; text in English translation) 1905, 1906, 1908, 1913
Retrospect on the Development of Germany's Protectorates in the Pacific , from Deutscher Kolonialatlas, text in English translation : in 1904, from 1905, in 1905, from 1906, in 1907 from 1908, in 1912 from 1913, scroll down
Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung on Samoa, now German, from Nov. 19th 1899
Article : Samoa and Germany, in : Overland Monthly and Out West magazine. Vol. 33, Issue. 194, Feb 1899, posted on Samoan Sensation, scroll down
German Rule of Samoa, 1900-1914, commented monument inscription, from samoalive.com
Samoans volunteering to fight for Germany's cause in 1914, posted by H.J. Hiery, Das Deutsche Reich in der Suedsee, in German, documents embedded in text
Images from Chronik 2000 Bilddatenbank : Cartoon, Kladderadatsch 1899 : Bismarck, Uncle Sam partition Samoa; Celebration of Kaiser Wilhelm II.'s birthday in Samoa; The Samoa Islands
German prints, Samoa (1876) 1899-1900, from Samoan Sensation Illustrations from precolonial, colonial and postcolonial (W.) Samoa, from Germans in Samoa : Gender and Race, a project at Whitman College; numerous illustrations, a number of German quotes with English translations; expose racist attitude of colonial masters
Samoa, German Stamp Issues, from The New Zealand Dependencies Website, detailed postal history
Samoa overprints 1914-1918, from Sandafayre Stamp Library

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 13th 2002, last revised on November 5th 2004

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