Samoan Civil War

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Main article: History of Samoa
First Samoan Civil War
Date 1886–1894
Location Apia, Upolu, Samoa, Pacific Ocean
Result Malietoa Laupepa restored to power
Samoa Mata'afans Supported by:
United States United States
Samoa Tamasese Supported by:
German Empire German Empire
Commanders and leaders
Samoa Mata'afa Iosefo Samoa Tupua Tamasese Titimaea (until 1891)
Samoa Tupua Tamasese Lealofi I (from 1891)

The First Samoan Civil War refers to the conflict between rival Samoan factions in the Samoan Islands of the South Pacific. The war was fought roughly between 1886 and 1894, primarily between Samoans though the German military intervened on several occasions particularly in defence of Tamasese, their choice for Tafa'ifa, the King of Samoa after the reigning king Malietoa Laupepa was usurped and exiled. Tamasese and his German allies faced a rival faction headed by popular Samoan chief Mata'afa Iosefo. Tensions heightened with the United States after a German shelling of Mata'afa's rebel villages also resulted in destruction of American owned property in 1887. One battle at Vailele in September 1888, following German bombardment of his rebel villages, resulted in Mata'afa's warriors destroying an invading German contingent and plundering their plantations.[1] The three western powers finally agreed that Malietoa Laupepa would be restored as King of Samoa in 1889 after a cyclone destroyed both American and German warships at Apia harbour, halting hostilities.[2] Nine years later with the death of Malietoa, hostilities broke out again in 1898 but they were quickly ended by the partitioning of the island chain at the Tripartite Convention of 1899.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kohn, George C (1986). Dictonary of wars, Third Edition. Facts on File Inc, pp. 479–480. ISBN 0-8160-6577-2. 
  2. ^ Stevenson, Robert Louis (1892). A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa. BiblioBazaar. ISBN 1-4264-0754-8.