Archive for May 19th, 2007

Malietoa Tanumafili II, nonagenarian

Malietoa Tanumafili II, GCMG, CBE, (January 4, 1913 – May 11, 2007)
Head of state who guided Samoa’s journey to independence

Malietoa Tanumafili II

Malietoa had ruled the nation since it gained independence from New Zealand in 1962…. He was the world’s third-longest serving head of state, after King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and Queen Elizabeth II….

Malietoa, who was appointed for life, was the world’s oldest head of state when he died.

He was the architect of Samoa’s constitution, under which the country’s next head of state will be selected by the legislature for a five-year term.

The Times has a more complete biography and a history of Samoa. [They call Samoa a backwater which is hardly the case in Polynesia and in contributions to science (human biology), literature, and even to Alaska and Los Angeles.]

A tribal chief, Malietoa Tanumafili II was the head of state of the tiny Pacific country of Samoa from its independence in 1962 to his death, making him the world’s third-longest serving ruler. Malietoa’s quiet dignity and reassuring presence helped to spare Samoa the political turbulence to which many other Pacific nations have succumbed. He was thought to be the world’s oldest head of state when he died…. Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili was born in 1912 and educated at the government-run Leifiifi School, then in New Zealand at St Stephen’s College, Auckland, and Wesley College, Pukekohe. When his father died in 1940, he succeeded to the Malietoa title, and was appointed an adviser to the New Zealand colonial administration…

Under the Treaty of Berlin, Samoa had passed into German hands in December 1899, while the US gained what is now called American Samoa. But at the outset of the First World War, New Zealand took control of Western Samoa, replacing Germany as the colonial master. Until 1997 it was known as Western Samoa.

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