An island country of the southern Pacific Ocean comprising the western Samoa Islands. The islands, inhabited by a Polynesian people, were visited by Dutch and French navigators in the 1700s and became a German colony in 1899. Occupied by New Zealand during World War I, the islands, known as Western Samoa, were later administered as a League of Nations mandate and a UN trust territory. The country achieved independence as a constitutional monarchy in 1962, and in 1997 the country's name was formally changed to Samoa. Apia, on Upolu Island, is the capital.