The Independent State of Samoa (formerly Western Samoa) is located in the South Pacific Ocean, northeast of Fiji and Tonga, and 60 miles (97 kilometers) west of the U.S. territory of American Samoa. The nation is composed of two large islands (Savai’i and Upolu) and eight smaller islands. The islands are home to various unique plant and animal species, including the manumea (tooth-billed pigeon). Hundreds of fish species live in the coral reefs, and whales, dolphins, and turtles are frequently found in the surrounding waters.
Nearly all of Samoa’s population is ethnic Samoan. A small minority is of mixed heritage, including European, New Zealander, other Pacific Islander, and Asian. Apia is the capital and most populous city. There are no other urban areas, only villages, most of which are situated along the coasts.