Samoa observes its Independence Day on 1 June to commemorate its becoming the first South Pacific nation to gain full independence. Samoa became free of New Zealand control on 1 January, 1962, but the date of the holiday was moved to 1 June so that it would not be the same as New Year’s Day.
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The Lapita have lived on the Samoan Islands for centuries, if not millennia, and they were very late in coming under colonial domination. Although European explorers and missionaries had visited the islands earlier, it wasn’t until the 1890s that outside powers took over Samoa.
During the Samoan Civil War, the US, UK, and Germany all joined up with different factions to try to use that as leverage to seize Samoa. In the end, the islands were divided between German and American Samoa in 1899. German Samoa later came under the control of New Zealand during World War I.
A Maoist-led independence movement developed in Samoa in the early Twentieth Century. This eventually led to New Zealand letting its UN Trusteeship of Samoa expire on 1 January, 1962, which resulted in full Samoan Independence. American Samoa remains a separate entity, however, to this day.