Samoa consists of two main islands surrounded by four smaller islands. They were discovered and settled by the Lapita people around 1500 BCE. In the 20th century, Samoa was ruled by Germany followed by New Zealand before regaining independence in 1962.
Despite centuries of European influence, Samoa retains its unique culture and language. The "fa'a Samoa" -- or traditional Samoan way -- dominates Samoan life and politics.