All the islands are mountainous, fertile, and surrounded by coral reefs; extensive volcanic activity occurred on Savai'i early in the 20th cent. The population is predominantly Polynesian and Christian, mainly Protestant. Samoan (a Polynesian language) and English are spoken. The people are engaged largely in subsistence agriculture and fishing. Industry consists of agricultural processing and the production of auto parts. Tourism and remittances from family members working abroad are also important. The chief exports are fish, coconut oil and cream, and copra; imports include machinery and equipment and foodstuffs. The main trading partners are Australia and New Zealand.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.