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Known as Western Samoa until 1997, the Independent State of Samoa comprises nine volcanic islands, two of which - Savai'i and Upolu - occupy more than 99% of the land. Located in the South Pacific Ocean about 2,200 mi south of Hawaii, Samoa was explored by Dutch and French traders in the 18th century. The natural beauty of Samoa varies from the rugged volcanic mountain peaks of the two main islands covered with rainforest to the vast valleys leading down to a coastline that is ringed with a necklace of white sandy beaches. Apart from tourism, the country’s economy is based on fishing and agriculture, which is vulnerable to cyclones and disease.
Samoa is also known to issue beautiful commemorative coins.
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