The Samoan Crisis of 1889

The idyllic South Pacific islands of Samoa seem an odd spot for colonial conflict. Yet the German Empire and the US nearly went to war over control of the archipelago. In 1889 the series of islands, thousands of miles from the US and German capitals, became the center of colonial machinations - until nature intervened and altered the course of history.
This is original content based on research by The History Guy. Images in the Public Domain are carefully selected and provide illustration. As very few images of the actual event are available in the Public Domain, images of similar objects and events are used for illustration.
You can purchase the bow tie worn in this episode at The Tie Bar:
All events are portrayed in historical context and for educational purposes. No images or content are primarily intended to shock and disgust. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Non censuram.
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Script by JCG
#history #thehistoryguy #Samoa

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  • Revolutionary war lake champlain stories please

    Shawn BarawShawn Baraw15 цагийн өмнө
  • colonists were a plague to the indigenous

    John GambleJohn Gamble2 өдрийн өмнө
  • ''Nature saw fit to intervene'' mean God?

    Ivan StrydomIvan Strydom3 өдрийн өмнө
  • " of the lesser-known of the U.S. territorial possessions." Unless you a football fan, in which case names like Troy Polomalu, Mosi Tatupu, Manu Tuiasosopo, Junior Seau (Say "Ow"!), Tua Tagovailoa, and Vita Vea just roll off your tongue. Pago Pago is sometimes referred to as the "San Pedro de Macoris" of the NFL in reference to that Dominican town being the hometown of more enshrinees at Cooperstown than any other municipality in the world.

    Fred LougeeFred Lougee6 өдрийн өмнө
  • Thank you for high intelligence details history about Samoa and American Samoa.

    L. H.L. H.8 өдрийн өмнө
  • human ambition to enslave the poor natives

    RoninRonin9 өдрийн өмнө
  • Unincorporated Territory = Colony in my dictionary.

    James ClarkJames Clark11 өдрийн өмнө
  • A prime example of the power of nature, and the smallness of human ambition. Indeed and good timing to remind us, with Earth's magnetic field weakening, and the Sun sliding towards solar minimum, and the Galactic current sheet approaching. Should be interesting times.

    spacewater7spacewater712 өдрийн өмнө
  • History Guy, can you make a segment on regions and/or groups in the south who rejected the Confederacy. Mountain regions of Georgia and the Carolinas initially sided with the Union as well as some religious groups. I descend from one such group, the Mennonites of the Shenandoah valley.

    Harlan BarnhartHarlan Barnhart12 өдрийн өмнө
  • Sort of poetic justice in that storm... "We have guns and they have clubs!" It's ours!!!!🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

    Philip CallicoatPhilip Callicoat16 өдрийн өмнө
  • Voter fraud happened🇻🇳🖕 space ghost👻🇺🇸🙏

    Casey HannaCasey Hanna17 өдрийн өмнө
  • Where does one acquire a diving suit figurine? It would really tie my room together!

    Darkstar 4th DimensionDarkstar 4th Dimension21 өдрийн өмнө
  • If you are a big NFL fan, you know about Samoans! They have true most per capita NFL players than any other demographic group by far! There’s around 50 Samoans in he NFL, for a population of about 50,000 that’s a lot!

    Jg RsbJg Rsb22 өдрийн өмнө
  • You cracked me up @ ~2:31 🤣😂 I couldn't help myself, and had to watch what I saw as your "glitch in the matrix moment" 5 or 6 times before deciding to share my immature thought with all of you... Check it out... it's just great...!! 🤣😂😹😆😅🤣 PS: Please don't take my comment as a criticism; your channel is literally my absolute favorite channel in ALL of MNthe, period....!! PSS: I wish that you could have somehow been my history teacher for EVERY SINGLE YEAR that I attended school...!! Had this been possible, I likely would have become a history teacher in your honor... I doubt that you will derive from my previous statement the profound impact on myself as a representative of your audience that I intended for it to convey, but I hope that this one comes across loud and clear: Out of the MANY different personalities that can be found across this platform, YOU, sir are TRULY beloved and treasured by your audience...!! And I think that I can speak for all of us in saying: "Thank you very much for all that you are, and for all that you do...!!"

    xALLSTATExxALLSTATEx22 өдрийн өмнө
  • Samoan girls picked Bob Barker off his feet lots.

    RAN CONRAN CON22 өдрийн өмнө
  • Once again I learned something abut history. Thanks for the enlightenment.

    Robert LangRobert Lang23 өдрийн өмнө
  • I really enjoyed this. Can we please have Some mora? .... Ok, ok I can see myself out.

    panzerabwerkanonepanzerabwerkanone24 өдрийн өмнө
  • 9:10 Not the only human who this remarkable example of human solidarity brought to tears 😭

    TehAwesomerTehAwesomer25 өдрийн өмнө
  • ..SMS Adler..

    Julius SchwenckeJulius Schwencke26 өдрийн өмнө
  • ..HMS Calliope's wheel, is in the Maritime Museum on the Auckland waterfront, while SMS See Adler's anchor, recovered from the wreck, is on display at Navy Museum, Torpedo Bay, Auckland.

    Julius SchwenckeJulius Schwencke26 өдрийн өмнө
    • ..SMS Adler..

      Julius SchwenckeJulius Schwencke26 өдрийн өмнө
  • THG, if you have not done so already, would you consider doing an upload on the History behind the interesting artefacts you have behind you. Signed, one happy subscriber.

    Aaron HahnAaron Hahn26 өдрийн өмнө
  • whew, for a minute I was worried about my order of girlscout cookies!

    jim ewokjim ewok27 өдрийн өмнө
  • Green bow tie in honor of Saint Pactric's day?

    Gary WheelerGary Wheeler27 өдрийн өмнө
  • If not for the courage of their fearless crew!!!

    Falcon 177Falcon 17727 өдрийн өмнө
  • If I were in charge of history education, your series would be mandatory watching for every English language history class across the globe for people ages 10 to 21. Thanks you for all of your hard work.

    HullHull27 өдрийн өмнө
  • I'm a micro historian. I study one little boomtown in northern California. Sisson, now called Mt. Shasta City. I still have chills that I got as this episode filled in the gaps that actually involve my own study. While this international trouble was brewing, the Moors brothers, first the elder and later his two brothers were making good in the copra business in Apia and with a string of general stores on adjoining islands. Henry J. Moors, the elder who had built the business and asked his siblings to come to help him make them all rich, was posting letters to the American government taking sides in the Samoan family disagreements. My story is that one of the younger brothers traded a boatload of goods to the head of the Fagamolo family for the hand of his "princess" daughter. Oliver E. Moors left an infant son, Holo, his "wife", and was back in the USA in Sisson by 1887 with his brother Frank and by 1889 O E Moors was Postmaster of Sisson. The brothers ran a general mercantile store with the PO, and the Elks Lodge was upstairs. This adds to my theory that his impregnating a young local woman didn't go down well, and the existing 'family' problems and coming political problems led to his abandoning Holo. His big brother might have been a bit 'put off' as well. I still have a link to the Fagamolo family who shared the "princess" story with me. Thanks for doing such a nice job of covering that important event.

    Perry SimsPerry Sims28 өдрийн өмнө
  • I certainly enjoyed this south sea maritime history and with no ads!

    Bradford BarrettBradford Barrett28 өдрийн өмнө
  • curious do you see any Germanic influences in Samoa around the island as you do were germany attempt to establish colony. Really enjoy your vids, thank you

    Brian GrantBrian Grant28 өдрийн өмнө
  • It got a bit dusty around here at 09:20.. then, strangely I hear it was dusty aboard the HMS Calliope as the event happened.

    Kristian GosbeeKristian Gosbee28 өдрийн өмнө
  • * * * * * C O O L * * * * *

    Retard CommontaterRetard Commontater28 өдрийн өмнө
  • What constitutes an "unincorporated" territory? What does that term mean?

    Odysseus RexOdysseus Rex29 өдрийн өмнө
  • A little known fact about American Samoa is that the natives are non-citizen nationals of the US. Unlike Puerto Ricans and most other territorial natives, American Samoans do not gain the right to sit on juries, vote, or hold public office when they relocate to the one of the states. They are banned from public employment, and despite a proportionally very high presence in the US military, they cannot become officers. In order to gain full citizenship rights, they must go through a naturalization process not unlike those who emigrate from foreign countries.

    Colonel KColonel K29 өдрийн өмнө
  • These are always good videos but please stop dragging & ”hissssssing" your final "S" at the end of words. It's an affect reminiscent of bad preaching. ”Jesus-ssss..". Please don't ruin good history with bad theater. (USMMA 1982)

    Mike GoodmanMike Goodman29 өдрийн өмнө
  • Point the camera higher

    Aaron HodgesAaron Hodges29 өдрийн өмнө
  • That was when men were men and woman were too.

    Andy CrowleyAndy Crowley29 өдрийн өмнө
  • Her is the proper way to refer to a ship. Not to nitpick, I love your shows.

    Jeffrey O'NeillJeffrey O'Neill29 өдрийн өмнө
  • It was an act of God- obviously, ships with such stupid names were an affront to the sensibilities, and had to be destroyed.

    AndyGinterBluesAndyGinterBlues29 өдрийн өмнө
  • The home of “The Katzenjammer Kids!”

    geosutubegeosutube29 өдрийн өмнө
  • Fine story--BUT , as you know, 1889 was 28 years from 1917 not 18

    Ronald FazekasRonald Fazekas29 өдрийн өмнө
  • the "Most ticklish position I was ever in 8:13, Steaming into a Cyclone. Gotta love the Britt's stiff upper lip.

    Lowell ArnettLowell ArnettСарын өмнө
  • They just wanted Samoa..

  • Truly this was Forgotten History. Every word of it was new to me.

    Bill KerrBill KerrСарын өмнө
  • Andrew Carnegie was Scotch, his name is pronounced kar-NAY-gee, that's the Scots pronunciation, the way you said it, and the way too many folks say it, is wrong. "KAR-na-gee" is the Irish pronunciation. It's like the way folks from NY pronounce Kaufman like "COWf-man." (Kaufman rhymes with Hoffman. Think Andy Kaufman and Abbie Hoffman.)

    CrazyBear65CrazyBear65Сарын өмнө
  • Dwayne Johnson is Samoan, so is Roman Reigns, and so is Nia Jax. Samoans make great wrestlers, they're naturally big, and naturally strong. They got the _good_ DNA, while the rest of the planet got varying degrees of junk interspliced in our DNA. Thanx, Anunaki. Why couldn't y'all make us _all_ Samoan?!

    CrazyBear65CrazyBear65Сарын өмнө
  • On the subject of Samoa, the actions of the American Albert Barnes Steinberger in Samoa would make and excellent subject for forgotten history...

    ArtsCelticMusicArtsCelticMusicСарын өмнө
  • " U.S. ships were of the 'sticks and strings' variety, and outdated." As a former tall ship sailor, I found that phrase hilarious, never heard it before. Yet once again THC, well said sir!!!!

    Jeff LastJeff LastСарын өмнө
  • You are an amazing storyteller.

    Lynda BirdLynda BirdСарын өмнө
  • British authors say that HMS Caniope survived because it had a strong steam engine, and a crew who could get everything from it and keep it going. ( source BD Baker ).

    david jamesdavid jamesСарын өмнө
  • As so often happens, I had never previously heard of this, neither the conflicts surrounding the Samoan islands nor the storm that ended them. I have know a few Samoan people in my day, and this never came up in conversation. Well, why would it? It happened a hundred years before I knew those men.

    badbiker666badbiker666Сарын өмнө
  • I thought Troy Polamalu was the Samoan Crisis.

    frigginjerkfrigginjerkСарын өмнө
  • 0:28. That should be 28s years, not 18!

    somewhere6somewhere6Сарын өмнө
  • I love Samoa and Samoans. This is an excellent short summary of the politics of the time, and especially of the storm from hell. I have been considering moving to a climate that is warm all the time. I live in the most temperate part of Canada and it's still too goddamn wet and cold in winter and Samoa (as opposed to American Samoa) has been looking more and more like the place to go.

    Exidy YTExidy YTСарын өмнө
  • The history of shark Island off the Florida keys

    Lawrence FergusonLawrence FergusonСарын өмнө
  • Great story. Thanks.

    Russ WoodwardRuss WoodwardСарын өмнө
  • Thank You Sir!

    Uncle BobUncle BobСарын өмнө
  • The wheel of Calliope exists in the Auckland NZ museum. I understand that the crews of the crippled ships cheered her as she clawed her way to sea.

    Alec BlundenAlec BlundenСарын өмнө
    • I was a scout in 1978 at the Calliope Sea Scout den in Devonport, Auckland for a short time. I didn't know it was named after her until now.

      David HayesDavid Hayes23 өдрийн өмнө
  • I consider myself a fairly educated person when it comes to history but this episode was completely unknown to me and I found it fascinating to say the least.

    Craig DeedsCraig DeedsСарын өмнө
  • 1917 - 1889 = 26

    MonTubeMonTubeСарын өмнө
  • Shows why the Prime Directive is needed.

    QuantumRiftQuantumRiftСарын өмнө
  • Thanks for the episode. It made me think of the coaling stations that were key in the Great War. However, my reason for commenting is actually of a completely unrelated subject. Out of nowhere I thought of the late Heywood Hale Broun. His bright garb and wit always made me stay tuned. Could he be history worth remembering ?

    rudolf yakichrudolf yakichСарын өмнө
  • You look much better with these glasses than the out of style black plastic frames.

    GermanShepherd1983GermanShepherd1983Сарын өмнө
  • I'm British, and love America, one of your best exports of course being the History Guy. However I do find it irritating, the perpetual historic American criticism aimed at Britain for its imperialism. (Thankfully not from the History Guy). Americans seem completely blind to the imperialism on which the Continental United States was built, driving out not just Britain, but all other powers from the land. And then you still retain various distant territories such as American Samoa.

    Bob HodgsonBob HodgsonСарын өмнө
    • Whataboutism, eh? It's odd to refer to the American Revolution overthrowing British rule of the 13 American Colonies as "American imperialism." That's a new one. Even the claim that Westward Expansion is "American Imperialism" is a stretch. Anyway, you should chill your knickers in a few episodes of Lost in the Pond.

      KA FleuryKA FleuryСарын өмнө
  • America fought and shelled Alaskan Native villages over fishing rights. There is a native house (sub-group of a tribe, Tribes often break down into "Houses") that is now allowed to perform the Navy's Anchors Away music as it's own tribal song because of it. It would make a possible good video for you.

    LSWLSWСарын өмнө
    • @good 'un LOL - Yes it is, but I was Army, so cannot dignify the Navy's song with a title! LOL Although the US Navy song is the 1906 "Anchors Aweigh", it is also often seen as ""Anchors Away" by many. We Americans love to run with incorrect titles and names. LOL

      LSWLSWСарын өмнө
    • Isn't that Navy song actually titled "Anchors' A-weigh"? Although I suspect that the indigenous peoples of many lands would be or would have been happy to see foreign ships haul anchor and go away.....🤔

      good 'ungood 'unСарын өмнө
  • I can't begin to imagine being on a wooden ship during a tropical cyclone, much less trying to keep it afloat. Considering I got really seasick on the Newfoundland Ferry, I'm definitely NOT one for life at sea.

    Sterling CrockettSterling CrockettСарын өмнө
  • 2:31 cracked me up!

    MultiSkyman1MultiSkyman1Сарын өмнө
  • Honest and informative

    Mark CartlidgeMark CartlidgeСарын өмнө
  • "During the storm local Samoans fought hard to save the men..." ...that were recently shelling them, burning their villages and subjugating them. Damn thats selfless. If only in return they could've sailed home and left them alone 😪

    James LaRocheJames LaRocheСарын өмнө
  • Bite on that; Antigravity airplane TR3B PATENT - on yt.

    RuchRuchСарын өмнө
  • My great-great-great maternal Grandfather was on the U.S.S. Trenton during this storm. He was a career U.S. Navy Sailor (Landsman) dating back to his Union Navy service during the U.S. Civil War.

    Bradley CBradley CСарын өмнө
  • I am remembering that there is a great political cartoon following this incident that shows all the sailors of all three nations shaking hands in grief. Might be a Thomas Nast. Used this incident as an example with my students of the folly of nations in the Age of Imperialism. On a lighter note, I strangely desire some cookies now.

    M BergquistM BergquistСарын өмнө
  • Oh thank you for this. I didn't know anything about this before hand.

    Yaleling OzYaleling OzСарын өмнө
  • Hey History Guy, Can you do an episode on the USS new Orleans getting to Australia with its bow blown off going backwards

    Scott ChynowethScott ChynowethСарын өмнө
  • American Samoa is the only US territory that drives on the laft hand side of the road.

    Bruce ParrBruce ParrСарын өмнө
  • So that was the time that New Zealand attacked Germany and won?

    Sandra HSandra HСарын өмнө
  • Why the Mc in Irish....what names are actually older? Oldest names known seems like history that deserves to be remembered

    Jeremy FioriJeremy FioriСарын өмнө
  • How about name origins?

    Jeremy FioriJeremy FioriСарын өмнө
  • Great post, HG.

    Gary McAleerGary McAleerСарын өмнө
  • The story of the USS Oregon is pretty damn cool too

    Ray CeeyaRay CeeyaСарын өмнө
  • The burning of Kawa Kawa coal was said to be critical to the escape of this one ship.said to be the hottest coal available.

    Ben RobertsonBen RobertsonСарын өмнө
  • The British navy was ahead qualitatively. Catch up time. Good story.

    Beach BoyBeach BoyСарын өмнө
  • Great story telling! Sorry, no pirates this time.

    Wayne Diffee JrWayne Diffee JrСарын өмнө
  • Another fantastic video❗️ 🙂📻

    Jeff KingJeff KingСарын өмнө
  • Apia would indeed be a disastrous place to be in a cyclone. I have no idea how one could put a half dozen ships in it, as it is tiny, and open to the north. Quite nearby is Pago Pago, which is a terrific hurricane hole.

    BenjaminFranklin99BenjaminFranklin99Сарын өмнө
  • Funny how the modern diet has changed the Samoan people. In all these historical photos, I can see only a handful of truly Obese people. But today's population has rampant overweight and obesity, perhaps the worst rate in the world. I am a New Englander with ancestral roots in the Whaling industry. According to my DNA scan, I'm about 1/64 Samoan.

    Daniel GillDaniel GillСарын өмнө
  • It was 27 years before America entered the war against Germany, not 17.

    Lewis TaishoffLewis TaishoffСарын өмнө
  • Having been at sea in a tropical hurricane and witnessing the power of the sea against a Carib 41 which barely escaped with all hands intact I have nothing but respect for those who have been pitted against the awesome fury of that wind and pounding surf. We survived by steering well clear of land. Oh what an adventure!!

    David TuckerDavid TuckerСарын өмнө
  • A crazy situation. Thank you.

    Glen MartinGlen MartinСарын өмнө
  • The United States and its Navy were more than lucky the storm intervened before they traded fire with the Germans. The American vessels were armed with muzzle-loaded cannon not substantially different from the armament that fought the Civil War and even the Revolution. The Germans had quick-firing breech-loading cannon on modern mountings, capable of much quicker reloading and fire with considerably greater accuracy. Had the Germans brought their armament to bear, it is doubtful any American vessel would have survived the encounter. Few people today realize how close the Samoan confrontation nearly became a colossal American naval disaster, the worst in its history until World War II.

    Peter RoganPeter RoganСарын өмнө
  • Nature wins inspite of man's contrivances...An ignored theme of life on planet Earth.

    Izzy WatashiIzzy WatashiСарын өмнө
  • I'm confused. If this happened in 1889 and the U.S. declared war on Germany "18 years later" (0:27), then that means the U.S. declared war in 1907, not 1917. Did you mean 28 years later?

    Toughen Up, FluffyToughen Up, FluffyСарын өмнө
  • who knew

    cdouglas1942cdouglas1942Сарын өмнө
  • No good reason for the USA to still have American Samoa. Let them vote for either independence or joining the existing country of Samoa.

    jlillerjlillerСарын өмнө
    • Polls seem to suggest that American Samoans largely like their current status.

      The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedСарын өмнө
  • You shuer have a way with words !

    Louis EdwardsLouis EdwardsСарын өмнө
  • Love this channel

    Big DawgBig DawgСарын өмнө
  • Always Awesome!!!!!

    Stuart HarperStuart HarperСарын өмнө
  • Another concise and compelling story from history by Mr. Geiger.

    InfoScholarInfoScholarСарын өмнө
  • Giving The History guy a like and subscribing has been my best MNthe decision, bar none.

    Tim DumlerTim DumlerСарын өмнө
  • Nature ruled the past.

    Chen Fawn MengChen Fawn MengСарын өмнө
  • Thank you, very informative.

    zimmy1958zimmy1958Сарын өмнө
  • Samoa's status as an unincorporated territory means that people who are born there are not American Citizens, but American Nationals, which means that despite living in America, being able to serve in our militaries, are not full citizens. The law that defines this is insanely racist. The legacy of these things is worth pondering on, and if I had any criticism of your show, it is the sterilization you seem to undertake on topics like this.

    KT KatteKT KatteСарын өмнө
    • Respectfully, it is not my job to discuss all potential complaints. This is not an advocacy channel, it is a history channel. While there is a case currently working through the courts regarding birthright citizenship, any American Samoan who wants US citizenship has access to an expeditated naturalization process. Further, not all American Samoans want birthright citizenship, seeing their unique status as a protection of their culture. The government of American Samoa- duly elected- argued against birthright citizenship in District Court last fall.,are%20American%20nationals%20%E2%80%94%20not%20citizens.

      The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedСарын өмнө