World News

FACTBOX: Some facts about the Samoa islands

(Reuters) - A powerful magnitude 8.0 earthquake near the Samoa archipelago in the South Pacific triggered a tsunami that killed an unknown number of people on Tuesday.

Following are some facts about the volcanic islands:


* A U.S. territory with a population of 65,628.

* Roughly the size of Washington, D.C., with just 77 square miles (199 sq km) of land area.

* Located about midway between Hawaii and New Zealand.

* United States and Germany divided the Samoan archipelago in 1899, with Germany keeping the western islands.

* The smaller group of eastern islands occupied by the United States includes Pago Pago, has one of the best natural deep-water harbors in the South Pacific.


* An independent state with a population of 219,998. It was formerly called Western Samoa.

* Its total land area is 1,092 square miles (2,831 sq km), or slightly smaller than Rhode Island.

* Its two main islands are Savaii and Upolu.

* New Zealand occupied the German protectorate of Western Samoa at the outbreak of World War One in 1914 and administered the islands until 1962.

* The islands became the first Polynesian nation to re-establish independence in the 20th century. The country dropped the “Western” from its name in 1997.

Source: The CIA - World Factbook