American, or Eastern, Samoa, 4,000 km southwest of Hawaii, is the only U.S. territory south of the equator.
Until 1951 American Samoa was run as a naval base, but with advances in U.S. military technology it became obsolete, and control was turned over to the civilian colonial administrators who created the welfare state of today.
American Samoa is a fascinating demonstration of the impact of American materialism on a communal island society. Although the Samoans have eagerly accepted the conveniences of modern life, the fa'a Samoa, or Samoan way, remains an important part of their lives. Thus far the Samoans have obtained many benefits from the U.S. connection, without the loss of lands and influx of aliens that have overwhelmed the Hawaiians. While this part of Samoa will always be American, the Samoans are determined to prevent it from going the way of Hawaii.