American Samoa Honored with Commemorative Postage Stamp

United States Postal Service - April 19, 2000
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Date of Issue: April 17, 2000

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Postal Service will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the historical union between the United States and its territory of American Samoa by issuing a commemorative postage stamp this spring.

"I like the stamp very much because it's both visually appealing as well as culturally and historically appropriate," said American Samoa Governor Tauese P. F. Sunia. "We look forward to the First-Day Issuance ceremony which will take place in American Samoa next spring, in support of our national flag raising ceremony."

Illustrated by Herb Kane of Captain Cook, Hawaii, and designed by Howard Paine of Delaplane, Va., the stamp features an 'alia, the traditional double canoe, sailing with an easterly wind near Sunuitao Peak on the island of Ofu.

"I want to say again how pleased we are that the Postal Service has agreed to issue a commemorative stamp for American Samoa on the centennial of our union with the United States," said American Samoa Congressman Eni F. H. Faleomavaega. "We want to thank Postmaster General William Henderson for approving the stamp. We also want to recognize Governor Tauese, former Governor Lutali, and the many people who worked so hard to achieve this goal."

The U.S. territory of American Samoa lies in the South Pacific more than 2,000 miles southwest of Hawaii and about 2,700 miles northeast of Australia. American Samoa consists of five volcanic islands and two coral atolls. In April 1900, local Samoan chiefs ceded the islands of Tutuila and Aunuu to the United States. The issuance of this stamp, which will take place in April 2000 in American Samoa, will commemorate this event.

In 1904 the king and the chiefs of the Manua Islands ceded Tau, Ofu, Olosega and Rose Atoll to the U.S. Swains Island became part of American Samoa in 1925.

American Samoa is an unincorporated and unorganized territory of the United States, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The American Samoa Constitution provides for an elected governor, lieutenant governor, and legislature.

The largest and most populated island in American Samoa is Tutuila on which is located the capital of Pago Pago.

American Samoa has a tropical climate with an average year-round temperature of 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

The people of American Samoa are United States nationals who owe allegiance to the United States. The majority are Samoans (Polynesian) 89 percent; Caucasian 2 percent; Tongan 4 percent; other 5 percent. Samoan, which is closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages, is spoken along with English; most people are bilingual.

"Fa'asamoa, which means 'the Samoan way--the way of our ancestors,' is a unique part of our culture," says Sunia. "It is the warmth and friendliness you will find here. Samoan culture is rooted in mutual respect and sharing, qualities that account for our hospitality."

The American Samoa stamp is item number 446700 and is offered in a gummed pane format of 20.



The stamp commemorates the ceding of
the islands of Tutuila and Aunuu to the United States in April 1900.

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