The origins of Samoa are shrouded in an ambiguity that is pure Samoa. The most popular theory is that Samoans, like other Polynesians, originated from the East Indies, the Malay Peninsula or the Philippines, but Samoans tell a different story.
Other Polynesians, they say, might have come from Asia but Samoans come from Samoa. They believe themselves to be the cradle of Polynesian culture, a race of people created by the god Tagaloa while he was cooking up the world. In fact the Samoan legend of the beginning of the world is startlingly similar to that told in Genesis.
Despite its reputation as an exotic far-away land Samoa was in fact as busy as a shopping mall from the mid-1770s when trading ships, sailing along the spice route and looking for the Great Southern Land, popped in and out with monotonous regularity. Much of the early contact and bloody encounters between Samoans and Europeans took place in the islands that are now part of American Samoa but the islands of independent Samoa suffered the same diseases and acts of violence that came with the European ships