Samoa officially the Independent State of Samoa and until 1997 known as Western Samoa, is a Polynesian island country consisting of two main islands, Savai'i and Upolu, two smaller inhabited islands, Manono and Apolima, as well as several small uninhabited islands including the Aleipata Islands. The capital city is Apia. The Lapita people discovered and settled the Samoan Islands around 3,500 years ago. They developed a Samoan language and Samoan cultural identity.
Samoa is a unitary parliamentary democracy with eleven administrative divisions. The sovereign state is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations as a Commonwealth republic. Western Samoa was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976. The entire island group, which includes American Samoa, was called "Navigator Islands" by European explorers before the 20th century because of the Samoans' seafaring skills. The country was occupied from 1899 until 1915 by the German Empire. From 1915, occupation continued via a joint British and New Zealand colonial administration until independence was achieved on 1 January 1962. In July 2017, Tuimalealiifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II became the head of state, succeeding Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi. The Prime Minister Tuila'epa came back to power after a landslide victory in March 2016, beginning a fifth term for the premier.