The Samoan Islands or Samoa Islands is an archipelago covering 3,030 km2 (1,170 sq mi) in the central South Pacific, forming part of Polynesia and the wider region of Oceania. The population of the Samoan Islands is approximately 250,000, sharing a common language, Samoan, a culture, known as fa'a Samoa and an indigenous form of governance called fa'amatai.
Today, the islands have two jurisdictions, the independent country of Samoa in the western half of the islands, and the territory of American Samoa comprising the islands to the east. The two regions are separated by 64 km of ocean. Most Samoans are full-blooded and are one of the largest Polynesian populations in the world.
The oldest date so far from prehistoric remains in the Samoan Islands has been calculated from archaeology in Samoa to a likely true age of circa 1,050 BCE from a Lapita site at Mulifanua wharf on Upolu island.
In 1768, the eastern islands were visited by French explorer Bougainville, who named them the Navigator Islands, a name used by missionaries until about 1845 and in official European dispatches until about 1870.
Samoa (i/səˈmoʊ.ə/; Samoan: Sāmoa, IPA: [ˌsaːˈmoa]), officially the Independent State of Samoa (Samoan: Malo Sa'oloto Tuto'atasi o Sāmoa), formerly known as Western Samoa, is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in Polynesia, Savai'i. The capital city, Apia, and Faleolo International Airport are situated on the island of Upolu.
The independent country of Samoa consists of the two large islands of Upolu and Savai'i and 8 smaller islands located about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand in the Polynesian region of the South Pacific.
The island of Upolu is home to nearly three-quarters of Samoa's population and its capital city of Apia. The climate is tropical, with a rainy season from November to April.
To the East is the smaller American Samoa, see also Geography of American Samoa.
Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
Geographic coordinates: 13°35′S 172°20′W / 13.583°S 172.333°W
Map references: Oceania
total: 2,944 km²
land: 2,934 km²
water: 10 km²