Samoan Civil War 1887-1889

[ 1887 - 1889 ]

Natives of Samoa, an island chain in the South Pacific, resented the collection of large taxes by a German trading company, which threatened that those who did not pay would have to mortgage their land. German warships landed soldiers in support of a local chief, Tamasese (fl. 1880s), who was proclaimed tafaifa ("king of all Samoa") in 1887; the old king, Malietoa Laupepa (d. 1898), was exiled. Samoans under Mataafa (d. after 1899), a powerful chief, rebelled against Tamasese in September 1888. The German consul at Apia (on the Samoan island of Upolu) led Tamasese's warriors against the insurgents, but was forced to retreat to Mulinu'u Point, where a German gunboat afforded protection. British and US officials protested when the gunboat shelled rebel villages. Mataafa's forces plundered German plantations and wiped out an invading contingent of Germans. The German consul, furious, declared a state of martial law; his request for two marine companies was denied because they might cause US intervention. In 1889, Malietoa was restored as king under an agreement by the United States, Britain, and Germany, all of which gained administrative rights in Samoa.

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