Geographically, Samoa and American Samoa belong to the same archipelago, the Samoan Islands, located in the South Pacific Ocean, in the Polynesian region of Oceania.
Although the distance between both territories is only 64 km (40 mi), the difference between Samoa and American Samoa is on a political level.
Samoa is an independent country while American Samoa is a territory of the United States.
The map below shows how Samoa and American Samoa are located in the Samoan Islands Archipelago:
The independent territory of Samoa is located in the western part of the Samoan Islands Archipelago.
The territory was actually called ‘Western Samoa‘ until 1997 when it was changed to just ‘Samoa‘, or officially, the ‘Independent State of Samoa‘.
Samoa consists of two main islands, Savai’i and Upolu, two smaller islands, Manono and Apolima, and several smaller, uninhabited islands.
The capital city of Samoa is Apia, located on Upolu island.
Samoa is a part of the United Nations. It has its own currency Samoan tālā (WST).
The official languages in Samoa are Samoan and English.
Samoa used to have the same time zone as American Samoa (UTC – 11), but in 2011, it was changed to UTC + 13. The change was meant to help do more business with Australia and New Zealand.
If you are planning a trip to Samoa read our guide on the best time to visit Samoa.
About American Samoa
American Samoa lies in the eastern part of the Samoan Islands Archipelago.
It’s an unincorporated territory of the United States. That means that it is not a part of the United States but is controlled by the United States.
American Samoa’s residents are American nationals, but not citizens. That means that they don’t have the same voting rights as American citizens.
American Samoa consists of five main islands Tutuila, Aunu’u, Ofu, Olosega, Ta’ū (the last three form a group called Manuʻa Islands), and two coral atolls Swains and Rose Atoll. The largest island is Tutuila, where the capital city Pago Pago is located.
The currency in American Samoa is the US dollar (USD). The official languages are English and Samoan.
If you are planning a holiday in American Samoa read our guide on the best time to visit American Samoa.