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Interior church in Malua village 1905 photographer unknown natl library

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Interior church in Malua village 1905 photographer unknown natl library

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Interior of a Christian church in Malua village, 1905. The interior shows wooden beams and posts of traditional Samoan architecture within a European style building.

Samoa, country in the central South Pacific Ocean, among the westernmost of the island countries of Polynesia. According to legend, Samoa is known as the “Cradle of Polynesia” because Savai‘i island is said to be Hawaiki, the Polynesian homeland. Samoan culture is undoubtedly central to Polynesian life, and its styles of music, dance, and visual art have gained renown throughout the Pacific islands and the world. Samoa is located in the western part of the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean. The country consists of two main islands, Upolu and Savaii, as well as several smaller islands. The country was known as Western Samoa until 1997. Its capital and main commercial center is Apia, on the island of Upolu. Samoa has a rich and varied history that dates back thousands of years. The first settlers of the islands are believed to have arrived around 1000 BC, and they established a complex and sophisticated society that was based on agriculture, fishing, and trade. The Samoan people developed their own language, culture, and traditions, which continue to be an important part of the country's identity today. The Samoan archipelago was first discovered by Europeans in the 18th century, and over the following decades, the islands were visited by a number of European explorers and traders. In the late 19th century, Samoa became a focus of colonial interests, and in 1899, it was divided into two parts: the western islands, which were controlled by the United States, and the eastern islands, which were controlled by Germany. After World War II, Samoa became a United Nations trust territory, and in 1962, it achieved independence as the Independent State of Samoa. Today, Samoa is a sovereign nation with a stable and democratic government, and it is a member of the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Nations. Despite the challenges of modernization and globalization, the Samoan people have worked to preserve their cultural traditions and values, and the country remains a vibrant and dynamic place. The country’s international image is that of a tropical paradise inhabited by tourist-friendly flower-wreathed peoples. Yet this belies the economic, social, and political challenges of this diverse and evolving Pacific microstate. Samoa gained its independence from New Zealand in 1962 after more than a century of foreign influence and domination, but it remains a member of the Commonwealth.

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1905
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