Apia is the capital and the largest city of Samoa. Apia was founded in the 1850s and has been the official capital of Samoa since 1959.
The harbor was the site of an infamous naval standoff in 1889 when 7 ships from Germany, the US, and Britain refused to leave the harbor when a typhoon was approaching, for fear of losing face. All the ships were sunk, except for one British cruiser. Nearly 200 American and German lives were lost.
Eventually, New Zealand occupied the area after World War I. During the struggle for independence organised by the Mau movement, a peaceful gathering in the town resulted in the killing of the paramount chief Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III and ten others by New Zealand police on 28 December 1929. The country attained independence in 1962.
|POPULATION :||City: 36,735|
|TIME ZONE :||UTC+13:00 (UTC+13) Summer: UTC+14:00 (UTC+14)|
|LANGUAGE :||Samoan (Polynesian), English|
|RELIGION :||Congregationalist 34.8%, Roman Catholic 19.6%, Methodist 15%, Latter-Day Saints 12.7%, Assembly of God 6.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3.5%, Other 7.8%|
|AREA :||47.80 sq mi (123.81 km2)|
|ELEVATION :||7 ft (2 m)|
|COORDINATES :||13°50′S 171°45′W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 51.02% |
• Female: 48.98%
|ETHNIC :||Samoan 92.6%, Euronesians 7%, Europeans 0.4%|
|AREA CODE :|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+685|
As with most Pacific Island capitals, Apia is a little shabby and run down. Reasonably small in size and with few obvious attractions, Apia is very useful as an initial stop-off point for first time visitors to get their bearings, plan travel around the island of Upolu, organise accommodation on the beach, and recover from jet lag. The vast majority of Samoa's highlights can be found outside this town, although most are within a very short drive.
The Samoa Tourism Authority manages an information centre offering maps, brochures and other information for tourists.
STA Visitor Information Fale, Beach Rd, Matafele (next to the government building on the harbour), +685 63520, +685 63521, fax: +685 20886, e-mail: [email protected] 9-5pm Monday to Friday and 8am-12pm Saturday morning.
A walk along the sea wall is enjoyable. But only on a milder day (i.e. 25 degrees), and not after dusk because of dogs. Many Apians walk along the sea wall in the late afternoon.
Palolo Deep Marine Reserve, Vaiala Beach, Apia. The only beach in Apia to the East of the harbour. Not really much a beach, though, it's mostly coral gravel. It's an official underwater park. The snorkelling initially seems pretty poor but if you venture further out (probably a good quarter mile swim) it gets a bit more interesting with the occasional turtle and black tip reef shark. Ask at the entrance where to swim - there's a marker post that helps. If you are stuck in Apia it's not a bad way to kill a few hours or just hang out at the "beach".
Fishing. Samoa is a popular fishing destination and most of the charter companies operate out of Apia. The Samoan International Game Fishing Association is based near the port and can provide information about boat companies. Every year it runs an International tournament, attracting anglers from all over the world. Fish in the local waters include blue and black marlin, sailfish, yellowfin, and the giant trevally.
Golf. Two courses are close to Apia: the Royal Samoan Country Club near Fagalii Airport and the Faleata Golf Club, which is close to the sports complex constructed for the South Pacific Games.
Markets in Apia are host to many interesting stalls and locally made souvenirs. Note, however, that many of the items on sale, such as cloth in Samoan patterns, are actually imported from China.
- The flea market nearby the fish market to the west of the Clock Tower, sells a variety of local handicrafts and imported items.
- The new market or marketi fou is a traditional market selling all sorts of local produce as well as some handicrafts. One section sells kava by the cup.
Apia was originally a small village (the 1800 population was 304), from which the country's capital took its name. Apia village still exists within the larger modern capital of Apia which has grown into a sprawling urban area with many villages. Like every other settlement in the country, Apia village has its own matai chiefly leaders and fa'alupega (geneaology & customary greetings) according to fa'a Samoa.
The modern capital Apia was founded in the 1850s and has been the official capital of Samoa since 1959.
The harbor was also the site of an infamous 15 March 1889 naval standoff in which seven ships from Germany, the US, and Britain refused to leave harbor while a typhoon was clearly approaching, lest the first moved would lose face. All the ships were sunk, except the British cruiser Calliope, which barely managed to leave port at 1 mile per hour and ride out the storm. Nearly 200 American and German lives were lost, as well as six ships sunk or beyond repair.
During the country's struggle for political independence in the early 1900s, organised under the national Mau movement, the streets of Apia became the center of non-violent protests and marches where many Samoans were arrested. In what became known as "Black Saturday", a peaceful Mau gathering in the town resulted in the killing of paramount chief Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III by New Zealand constabulary on 28 December 1929.
Apia features a tropical rainforest climate with consistent temperatures throughout the year.
Apia's driest months are July and August when on average about 80 millimetres (3.1 in) of rain falls. Its wettest months are December through March when average monthly precipitation easily exceeds 300 millimetres (12 in).
Apia's average temperature for the year is 26 °C (79 °F).
|Daily highs (°C)||30||29||30||30||29||29||29||28||28||29||30||29|
|Nightly lows (°C)||23||24||23||23||23||23||23||23||23||23||23||23|
Apia is situated on a natural harbour at the mouth of the Vaisigano River. It is on a narrow coastal plain with Mount Vaea (elevation 472 metres (1,549 ft)), the burial place of writer Robert Louis Stevenson, directly to its south. Two main ridges run south on either side of the Vaisigano River, with roads on each. The more western of these is Cross Island Road, one of the few roads cutting north to south across the middle of the island to the south coast of Upolu.
Polynesian Airlines and Virgin Samoa has its headquarters in the Samoa National Provident Fund Building in Apia.