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Tau, Samoa

File:Ta'u Island.JPG
Ta'u as seen from space
Location Southern Pacific Ocean

14°14′S 169°28′W / 14.233°S 169.467°W / -14.233; -169.467Coordinates: 14°14′S 169°28′W / 14.233°S 169.467°W / -14.233; -169.467

Area 44.31 km2 (17.108 sq mi)
Highest elevation 931 m (3,054 ft)
Highest point Ta'u
Province American Samoa

Ta‘ū is the largest island in the Manu‘a Group and the easternmost volcanic island of the Samoan Islands. Ta‘ū is part of American Samoa. In the early 19th century, the island was sometimes called Opoun.

The island is the eroded remnant of a "hotspot" shield volcano with a caldera complex or collapse feature (Liu Bench) on the south face. The summit of the island, called Lata Mountain, is at an elevation of 931 metres (3,054 ft), making it the highest point in American Samoa. The last known volcanic eruption in the Manu‘a Islands was in 1866, on the submarine ridge that extends westnorthwest towards nearby Ofu-Olosega.

The largest airport in the Manu‘a Islands is on the northeast corner of Ta‘ū at Fiti‘uta. There is also a private airport. A boat harbor is located at Faleāsao at the northwestern corner of the island. A roadway along the north coast connects all of the several inhabited villages between Ta‘ū on the west and Fiti‘uta.

All of the southeastern half of Ta‘ū—including all of the rainforest on top of Lata Mountain and within the caldera—and southern shoreline and associated coral reefs are part of the National Park of American Samoa. The park includes the ancient, sacred site of Saua, considered to be the birthplace of the Polynesian people.

Administratively, the island is divided into three counties: Faleasao County, Fitiuta County, and Ta'u County. Along with Ofu and Olosega islands, Tau Island comprises the Manua District of American Samoa. The land area of Tau Island is 44.31 square kilometres (17.11 sq mi) and it had a population of 873 persons as of the 2000 census.

Margaret Mead

Ta‘ū is where the 23-year-old anthropologist Margaret Mead conducted her dissertation research in Samoa in the 1920s, published in 1928 as Coming of Age in Samoa.


  • Office of the Governor. 2004. Manu‘a ma Amerika. A brief historical documentary. Manu‘a Centennial. 16 July 1904. 16 July 2004. Office of the Governor, American Samoa Government. 20 p.
  • Tau Island: Faleasao, Fitiuta, and Ta'u counties, Manu'a District, United States Census Bureau

External links

  • National Park Service map of the Manu‘a Islands
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