Cession of Tutuila and Aunu'u

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Whereas the Governments of Germany, Great Britain, and of the United States of America have on divers occasions recognized the sover­eignty of the government and people of Samoa and the Samoan group of islands as an inde­pendent State; and whereas owing to dissen­sions, internal disturbances and civil war, the said governments have deemed it necessary to assume the control of the legislation and admin­istration of said state of Samoa; and whereas the said governments have on the sixteenth day of February, by mutual agreement, determined to partition said State; and whereas the islands hereinafter described being part of the said State have by said arrangements amongst the said governments, been severed from the parent State, and the Governments of Great Britain and of Germany have withdrawn all rights hitherto acquired, claimed or possessed by both or either of them by treaty or otherwise, to the said islands in favor of the government of the United States of America; and whereas for the promo­tion of the peace and welfare of the people of said islands, for the establishment of a good and sound government, and for the preservation of the rights and property of the inhabitants of said islands, the Chiefs, rulers and people thereof are desirous of granting unto the said govern­ment of the United States full powers and authority to enact proper legislation for and to control the said islands, and are further desirous of removing all disabilities that may be existing in connection therewith and to ratify and to confirm the grant of the rule of said islands here­tofore granted on the 2nd day of April, 1900.


Now know Ye:

  1. That we, the Chiefs whose names are here­under subscribed by virtue of our office as the hereditary representatives of the people of said islands, in consideration of the premises herein-before recited and for divers good considera­tions us hereunto moving, have ceded, trans­ferred, and yielded up unto Commander B. F. Tilley of the U.S. “Abarenda.” the duly ac­credited representative of the Government of the United States of America in the islands hereinafter mentioned or described for and on behalf of the said government. All these the islands of Tutuila and Aunuu and all other islands, rocks, reefs, foreshores and waters lying between the 13th degree and the 15th degree of south latitude and between the 171st degree and 167th degree of west longitude from the meridian of Greenwich, together with all sovereign rights thereunto belonging and possessed by us, to hold the said ceded territory unto the Government of the United States of America; to erect the same into a separate Dis­trict to be annexed to the said Government, to be known and designated as the District of “Tutuila”.
  2. The Government of the United States of America shall respect and protect the individual rights of all people dwelling in Tutuila to their lands and other property in said District; but if the said Government shall require any land or any other thing for Government uses, the Government may take the same upon payment of a fair consideration for the land, or other thing, to those who may be deprived of their property on account of the desire of the Govern­ment.
  3. The Chiefs of the towns will be entitled to retain their individual control of the separate towns, if that control is in accordance with the laws of the United States of America concern­ing Tutuila, and if not obstructive to the peace of the people and the advancement of civiliza­tion of the people, subject also to the supervi­sion and instruction of the said Government. But the enactment of legislation and the general control shall remain firm with the United States of America.
  4. An investigation and settlement of all claims to title to lands in the different divisions or districts of Tutuila shall be made by the Government.
  5. We, whose names are subscribed below, do hereby declare with truth for ourselves, our heirs and representatives by Samoan Custom, that we will obey and owe allegiance to the Government of the United States of America.

In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names and affixed our seals on this 17th day of April, 1900 A.D.


Fofo and Aitulagi Sua and Vaifanua
Tuitele of Leone x Pele x
Faiivae of Leone x Mauga x
Letuli of Iliili x Leiato x
Fuimaono of Aoloau x Faumuina x
Satele of Vailoa x Masaniai x
Leoso of Leone x Tupuola x
Olo of Leone x Soliai x
Namoa of Aitulagi x Mauga x
Tuanaitau of Pavaiai x
Lualemana of Aasu x
Amituagai of Ituau x


The foregoing instrument of Cession (pages 1, 2, and 3) was duly signed by Leoso in the presence of, and at the request of, the Chiefs and Representatives of the Division of Fofo and Aitulagi, and by Pele in the presence of and at the request of the Chiefs and Representatives of Sua and Vaifanua in Tutuila in conformity with Samoan customs as to signatures to docu­ments, in my presence at Pago Pago on the 17th day of April, 1900 A.D., immediately prior to the Raising of the United States Flag at the United States Naval Station, Tutuila.


Barrister of the Supreme Court of Samoa.