Second Samoan Civil War

Partitioning the South Pacific

Australasia 1899.0314

Second Samoan Civil War

Partitioning the South Pacific (14 March 1899)

Historical Map of Australia, New Zealand & the Southwest Pacific

In 1899, Samoa broke into its second civil war in a decade, when the Germans supported a rebellion against the Anglo-American-backed Samoan king. With neither side able to prevail, the three powers agreed to the partition of the islands between Germany and the US. Britain, as part of the deal, was given a free hand in Tonga.

Main Events

Jandamarra's insurrection

Jandamarra, an Australian Aboriginal of the Bunuba tribe, organized resistance against white settlers in the Kimberley region of the British colony of Western Australia. In November 1894, his band had a gun battle with police in Windjana Gorge, before being forced to flee. After conducting a three-year campaign of guerrilla warfare, he was eventually found and shot dead in Tunnel Creek by a police-recruited Aboriginal tracker.

Spanish-American War

After the USS Maine mysteriously exploded in Havana harbor, in the restive Spanish colony of Cuba, the United States declared war on Spain. In the ten-week Spanish-American War, the US defeated Spain in both the Caribbean - where it invaded Cuba and Puerto Rico - and the Pacific - where it defeated the Spanish fleet off Manila. As a result, the Spanish ceded Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the US.

Dog Tax War

In response to the imposition of the Dog Tax to control the number of dogs owned by Māori, local Māori leader Hone Toia led up to 200 armed followers to Waima, Hokianga, where he challenged the authorities to fight. After the small regional police force fled, a colonial force of 120 men with field guns was dispatched from Auckland, reaching Waima on 6 May. The situation was defused when other chiefs intervened and persuaded Hone Toia to surrender.

Second Samoan Civil War

The Matafaans - German-supported followers of Mata'afa Iosefo - exiled Samoan King Tanumafili from Apia, provoking the United States Navy and the Royal Navy to intervene on his behalf. After retaking Apia in March 1899, the Allies pushed on the Matafaan stronghold of Vailele, but were continuously repulsed. As a result, the Americans, British, and Germans agreed to the partition Samoa at the Tripartite Convention in December 1899.

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