The Tropical Frontier: America's South Sea Colony
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266pp. December 2009
The Tropical Frontier: America's South Sea Colony
Author: Kennedy, Joseph;
For more than two thousand years the Samoan Islands were among the most forgotten places on earth, but by the late nineteenth century they suddenly attracted the attention of some of the most powerful nations on the globe. Germany and the United Kingdom became interested in the western islands, but it was the U.S. that eventually obtained suzerainty over Pago Pago harbor on the island of Tutuila in the east and began its one and only South Seas colonial experiment.

In the Pacific and elsewhere, native populations have traditionally and actively sought independence from their invasive colonial co-partners or have, at the very least, passively but begrudgingly tolerated them. But the relationships between the Samoans of the eastern islands and their American administrators were remarkably different: The Samoans chose boycott over outright belligerence and elected to outlast (and sometimes outwit) their colonial partners while pressing for changes that would bring them into the American family. The story of how this all came about was not without its share of problems, but colonial neglect, native resistance, two world wars, and even administrative madness did not derail an association that somehow continues to this day.

illus.

Distributed for the Richard F. Taitano Micronesia Area Research Center
Author: Kennedy, Joseph;
Joseph Kennedy is an archaeologist and writer who has been conducting projects and writing about Samoa, Hawai‘i, and Oceania for more than twenty-five years.



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