Political map of Australia, New Zealand & the Southwest Pacific 20 August 1889 (Samoan Crisis): In the late nineteenth century Britain, Germany, and the US competed for Samoa due to their investments in its plantations and its strategic value as a coaling station. In 1887 the Germans intervened in the islands to make their favored chief king, provoking a civil war (First Samoan Civil War). In response, the US sent three warships to Samoa, which faced off against three German warships in Apia harbor (Samoan crisis). The crisis was brought to an inglorious end when a cyclone (1889 Apia cyclone) hit and wrecked all six warships.