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The sea and the coconut palm, both major food sources, also are shown on the emblem.An orator's staff and sinnet fly whisk and a multilegged wooden bowl in which the beverage kava is prepared for chiefs are symbolic of the authority of tradition.
Samoans have established significant migrant communities in a number of countries, including New Zealand, Australia, and the United States, and smaller communities in other neighbors.
The spatial arrangement of villages beyond the capital has changed little.
Samoans celebrate the peaceful attainment of constitutional independence in 1962 on 1 June.
The national anthem and a religious anthem, Lota Nu'u ua ou Fanau ai ("My Village in Which I Was Born") are sung to celebrate national identity.
The capital and port developed around Apia Bay from an aggregation of thirteen villages. The population is estimated at 172,000 for the year 2000, 94 percent of which is is ethnically Samoan.
A small number of people of mixed descent are descendants of Samoans and European, Chinese, Melanesians, and other Polynesians who settled in the country in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Samoan belongs to a group of Austronesian languages spoken throughout Polynesia.
The language is a cherished symbol of cultural identity. A representation of the Southern Cross appears on both the national flag and the emblem of state.
The close link between Samoan society and Christianity is symbolized in the national motto "Samoa is founded on God" ( Fa'avae ile Atua Samoa ) and in a highlighted cross on the national emblem.
The distinction was necessitated by the partitioning of the archipelago in 1899. Samoa includes nine inhabited islands on top of a submarine mountain range.
All Samoans adhere to a set of core social values and practices known as fa'a Samoa and speak the Samoan language. The largest islands are Savai'i at 703 square miles (1820 square kilometers) and Upolu at 430 square miles (1114 square kilometers), on which the capital, Apia, is located.