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Tusche, tone and stone: 19th C. news illustration


Frederick Burr Opper On United States Diplomacy

Samoa COCK-A-DOODLE DOO! June 26, 1889

The Berlin Treaty
Once British missionaries arrived in Samoa in 1830, it was another generation before more Europeans, this time from Germany, established a successful trading port in Apia, what is now the capital of Western Samoa. By 1889, and after a Samoan civil war in 1893, Samoa was guaranteed its political independence but the treaty signed at the Berlin Conference that year stipulated that Samoa would remain neutral and be 'advised' by Britain and Germany.

Opper's imperialistic rooster is crowing about this agreement, while the German and British roosters slink away, and the little hen that is Samoa sits safe, if confined, in her roost. On December 2, 1899, a Tripartite Treaty, adding the United States to the 'protectors' replaced the Berlin Treaty and conferred Western Samoa to Germany and what is now termed American Samoa to the United States. As a result of Germany's defeat in World War I, Samoa was 'awarded' to New Zealand, and has been an independent member of the British Commonwealth since the 1962.

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