American Samoan Flag
History of the American Samoa Flag
American Samoa existed without their own flag for centuries until they were established as a territory of the United States. The American Samoan flag is rich with history, featuring a large white triangle pointing inwards towards the mast set on a blue background. A red line follows the border of the white triangle. A bald eagle depicted in the middle of the white triangle which is holding a war club and a fly-whisk.
The colors, the eagle and the contents in the eagles grip, can tell us a lot about the country itself through its symoblism. The colors alone represent those of the United States and of Samoa.
Before any intrusions from the west, Samoa had no flag of its own to speak of. It was in the 18th century that they were first visited by the Europeans, and although we know they started to use flags at that time, we are unsure of the designs they may have used due to lack of historical documentation.
At the turn of the century, the United States, Germany and The United Kingdom all wanted to claim Samoa as their own. It was decided and agreed in the Tripartite Convention in 1899 that Samoa be split into three parts and shared between the nations as their own province. It was the far east of Samoa that was given to the United States, by agreement with the high chiefs of the Island of Tutuila, hence the province and nation being dubbed American Samoa. On the 17th of April 1900, this was all made official and they raised their American-Samoan flag the very same day.
The American stars and stripes flag flew in American Samoa until the year 1960. It was in the mid-20th century that the Samoans became more active in their own government and proposed that a new flag should be designed.
The Samoans were invited to submit their own ideas and it was the U.S Army of Heraldry who designed the flag with the Samoans ideas in mind. It was first adopted as the American Samoan flag in 1960, sixty years to the day that the Americans raised theirs over Samoa.
Because of their history with Americans on their soil, the Samoans wanted something that represented the two nations now living in harmony and the Samoans being guarded by their American allies. Bringing cultural, regional and political meanings together in one flag to represent their nation.
The bald eagle is there to represent the United States. The eagle is clutching two Samoan symbols: the war club which represents the government's power and the fly-whisk which represents the wisdom of traditional Samoan leaders. The fact that the bald eagle clutches the two Samoan symbols are to represent the guardians who watch over Samoa which incorporates both Samoa and the US.
American Samoa is located in south-eastern Samoa and the island is situated in the South Pacific Ocean, in the geographical region of Oceana. The area spans over 76.8 square miles and has a population of 55,519 people. The five islands there are volcanic and American Samoa was hit by cyclones multiple times per year between November and April however, their seasons are stable with balanced dry and wet days.