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Samoa



FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1877.


CURRENCY

1877, sterling.
1900, German currency.
1914, as New Zealand.
1967, 100 sene = 1 Samoan dollar.



Group of 14 islands which lies about 1600 miles north-east of New Zealand on the main route from Australia to America. The islands were known to the Dutch and French in the 18th century. American interest began in the 1830s and Britain appointed a missionary as consular agent in 1847. As part of its expansion into the Pacific, Germany was officially represented in 1861.


Although there were numerous requests for annexation by Britain, strongly supported by New Zealand, the government refused to act until 1887 when civil war broke out between rival factions led by Malietoa and Tamasese. Britain supported the former, and following the Berlin Agreement in 1889, he was reinstated and a three-power protectorate was established.


In 1898 Malietoa died and civil war broke out again. By 1900 the situation had become so serious that a new agreement was signed. As a result, Britain withdrew from the area and Germany gained control of the westernmost group in return for other concessions, including the Solomon Islands (q.v.). The USA were granted control of the eastern group.


Postal History
As in Fiji, the first postal service was organized by a local newspaper, the Samoan Times. The Samoan Express PO was opened in 1877, but the operation was a failure and it closed in 1881. The earlier system was reverted to and letters, usually franked with New Zealand stamps, were forwarded by the first available ship. In 1886, another PO was established and further stamps were issued


In 1891 New Zealand joined the UPU and the question of the validity of Samoan stamps for overseas postage was raised. Although mail to New Zealand and Australia was accepted without surcharge by those authorities, letters to the USA needed an additional 5 cent American adhesive to pay for inland delivery. In 1895 Apia PO in the capital was destroyed by fire.


After the convention of 1900 the stamps of Samoa were withdrawn and replaced by German or USA issues.



Samoa to 1920
Click map for larger view


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