The flag of Western Samoa was officially adopted on February 24, 1949. The flag is a rectangular shape with a red background and blue rectangle in the upper left corner. Inside the blue area is the Southern Cross constellation with four large white stars and one smaller white star.
The red and white have been traditional colors of Samoa since the Samoan king Malietoa Laupepa, and the Southern Cross links Samoa to other countries surrounding it in the Southern hemisphere. The Western Samoan flag, however, has experienced drastic changes over the last century. In 1900, the Samoan Islands were separated into two parts as a result of the Tripartite Convention: American Samoa (Eastern Samoa) and German Samoa (Western Samoa). Under German rule, the Samoan flag was similar to the German flag: a rectangular shape with three horizontal lines, one each in black, white, and red.
The Germany-style flag was used until August 29, 1914 when New Zealand troops seized Western Samoa from Germany. When New Zealand first seized control of Western Samoa, the flag of New Zealand was used. This flag consists of a blue background with the British Union flag in the upper left-hand corner and four stars of the Southern Cross on the right side. This flag was used until July 30, 1922. Three years later, on January 16, 1925, Western Samoan adopted a new flag consisting of a red background, the British Union flag in the upper left-hand corner, and a picture of three palm trees inside a white circle on the right-hand side.
On May 26, 1948, Western Samoa adopted a flag similar to its current flag except that the Southern Cross only contained four stars, just like the New Zealand flag’s Southern Cross. On February 24, 1949, the five-star version of the Samoan flag was adopted and Western Samoa gained independence from New Zealand in 1962.