American Samoa

The Samoan islands, now split between American Samoa and Samoa, were settled 3500 years ago by the Austronesian expansion. The peoples of the Samoan islands interacted with frequently with the people of nearby Fiji and the kingdom of Tonga, sometimes warring with them and sometimes intermarrying with them. Samoan folklore tells of two women from Fiji who introduced the tools necessary to create tatau “to strike,” which is also the origin of the word tattoo in English. Later, the warrior queen Nafanua took possession of the four major titles and established the foundation of the Samoan cultural tradition, the fa’asamoa, a method of decentralized control.

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