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American Samoa

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American Samoa

Amerika Sāmoa  (Samoan)
Flag of American Samoa
Location of American Samoa
StatusUnincorporated and unorganized territory
and largest village
Pago Pago
Official languagesEnglish
Ethnic groups
Demonym(s)American Samoan (official)
Samoan (colloquial)
 United States
GovernmentTerritorial presidential constitutional republic
House of Representatives
Unincorporated and unorganized territory of the United States
June 14, 1889
December 2, 1899
April 17, 1900
July 16, 1904
March 4, 1925
February 20, 1929
April 27, 1960
• Total
199 km2 (77 sq mi) (unranked)
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
54,194 (n/a)
• 2010 census
• Density
272/km2 (704.5/sq mi) (n/a)
GDP (PPP)2013 estimate
• Total
$711 million
• Per capita
CurrencyUnited States dollar (USD)
Time zoneUTC-11 (Samoa Standard Time (SST))
Date formatMM/DD/YYYY
Driving sideright[3]
Calling code+1 684
ISO 3166 codeAS
American Samoa on a map of the world

American Samoa is a territory of the United States. It is part of the Samoan Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean.

In 1899, Germany and the U.S. divided the Samoan group of islands. The U.S. got the smaller group of islands on the east side. These islands had a good harbor near the capital city, Pago Pago. The western islands were run by Germany and then by New Zealand and are now the independent country Samoa.

Officially, American Samoa is an "unorganized" territory. This means that the U.S. Congress has not passed an Organic Act. But the people who live in American Samoa rule themselves. Their constitution became effective on July 1, 1967.

The capital of American Samoa is Pago Pago, but the seat of government is Fagatogo.


People who are born in American Samoa are called U.S. nationals, not U.S. citizens. This means they have some of the same rights as citizens but not all of them. Unlike people who are not Americans at all, American Samoans can go to any other part of the United States they want and live there for as long as they want. But they are not allowed to vote, to be on juries in court, to run for office, or to hold any job that the employee has to be a citizen to hold. For contrast, someone born in Puerto Rico or Guam is a citizen, so if they move to a state, they are allowed to vote in that state and in all federal elections.

Some American Samoans like that they are not American citizens and others do not. Some American Samoans say that being nationals and not citizens makes it easier for them to keep the fa'a Samoa, the Samoan way of life. In 2019, three American Samoans living in Utah sued the U.S. government to say they are citizens. The judge agreed with them. The judge said that the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution says that anyone born in any part of the United States is a citizen, and that should mean American Samoans too. But the next day, he said they should not register to vote until after an appeal judge has seen the case.[4] [5][6][7][8]

In 2016, the United States Supreme Court decided they did not want to look at a case about whether American Samoans are citizens.


Other websites

Media related to American Samoa at Wikimedia Commons American Samoa travel guide from Wikivoyage