Australasian Assn. For Advancement of Sci., Rep.


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Although for many generations past the whole group was governed by one head, O le Tupu (king), in whom the supreme authority was vested, the different districts were governed, to a great extent, by their own local authorities, chiefs, and heads of tribes, these being in many respects independent of each other; yet, at the same time, they acknowledged the supreme authority of the Tupu. This regal or highest title of all, O le Tupu (king), was acquired by the possession of the following titles (ao) in the gift of four districts, comprising the whole of the two principal islands, Upolu and Savai’i, viz.:—1, O le Tui-Aana, in the gift of Aana; 2, O le Tui-Atua, in the gift of Atua; 3, O le Ngatoa’ itele and O le Tamasoalii, in the gift of Le Tuamasanga ; and 4, O le Pule-o-Salafai, in the gift of Savai’i.

When these ao (or titles) were centered in one chief, his power was great, and extended over the whole group, since, although Tutuila and Manu’a gave no direct title to the king, they were represented by Lufi-lufi, the laumua, or leading settlement of Atua. Manono also, though apparently not having any direct title to give on this occasion, was always consulted as to the bestowment of them.

The ao (title) of Aana was usually bestowed first, and, upon this being acquired, the other districts followed suit, and sent deputies to confer their title and assist in proclaiming the king; and, when this was accomplished, it was said, Ua tafa’i fa ua o’o i le Tupu (four center in one, he has attained to the crown). Upon this the chief thus honored assumed the title of Le Tupu o Samoa (the King of Samoa), and shortly afterwards made a circuit of the islands that he might receive the homage and congratulations of the different districts. The announcement, Ua afio mai le tupu (the king is approaching), caused much excitement and stir in the several districts and settlements in the way of preparation for the visit.

Following the title of Tupu comes that of O le Tui (or lord), which is always prefixed to the name of the district conferring it; as, O le Tui-Aana, O le Tui-Atua, etc. This is a much valued title, but inferior to that of O le Tupu, or king.

Ali’i paia, or Sacred Chiefs. Some chiefs of high rank were termed ali’i paia, or sacred chiefs, to whom much deference was shown. There were twelve of these. . . .

The power of the tupu (king) was despotic, and was at times exercised in a most oppressive manner; but the tulafale, or the landowners, with whom the gift of the ao (title) lay, were a great check upon any despotic proceedings, and they did not fail to exercise it, even at times deposing the king.1

1Ella, S.n/an/an/an/an/a, "The Ancient Samoan Government," , 6: 600–602, quoting Rev. J. B. Stair.

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Chicago: Australasian Assn. For Advancement of Sci., Rep. in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed July 21, 2024, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=B6HKF8V7IYZGF5F.

MLA: . Australasian Assn. For Advancement of Sci., Rep., Vol. 6, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 21 Jul. 2024. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=B6HKF8V7IYZGF5F.

Harvard: , Australasian Assn. For Advancement of Sci., Rep.. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 21 July 2024, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=B6HKF8V7IYZGF5F.