Samoans Posed in Front of a Hut with Palm Fronds and Thatched Roof


This early-20th century photograph shows a group of people on one of the islands in the Samoan archipelago, which is located south of the equator between Hawaii and New Zealand. The Samoans are a Polynesian people, famous for their seafaring skills. The photograph is by A.J. Tattersall, who wrote on its reverse side: “I warn anyone against using this copy without my permission. A.T., Photo, Samoa.” Tattersall was born in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1861, and worked for photographic firms in Auckland before going to Apia, Samoa, to work for the commercial photographer J. Davis. When Davis died in 1893, Tattersall took over his firm. Under an 1899 treaty signed by Britain, Germany, and the United States, those parts of the Samoan group west of longitude 171º west were ceded to Germany. After World War I, when Germany was stripped of its colonies, New Zealand administered the islands under League of Nations and United Nations mandates until 1962, when the independent state of Western Samoa was constituted.

Last updated: February 12, 2016