German Samoa (1900-1914) was also Chinese Samoa.
Apparently, German landowners couldn’t find many local Samoans willing to work for them, so they immigrated almost 4000 Chinese laborers on temporary (usually 3-year) contracts.
This time in our history – plus the upcoming Spanish influenza outbreak (1918) that killed thousands – forever changed the genetic make up of Samoa.
These stories are beautifully preserved in the Museum of Samoa’s online exhibition, To Walk Under Palm Trees – photographs collected from the families of German settlers in Samoa.
The latest addition to this growing exhibition is a chapter about the Garben family, who ran the Franz plantation in Falelauniu, Apia.
Go check it out… but be prepared to get a little lost in those images for a while. It’s a mesmerizing journey into the history of all Samoans.