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Over time the descendants of these original immigrants colonized other regions, including Tahiti and other areas of eastern Polynesia, the Marquesas, Hawaii, and New Zealand.
The ancestors of the Polynesians brought with them a group of agricultural plants distinguished by a variety of tree crops that produced nuts and fruits (including breadfruit) and a set of starchy tuberous crops, including taro and yams.
Roggeveen happened upon the islands in 1722 during his ill-fated voyage from the Netherlands to New Ireland.
He recorded that the Samoan seamen were a sturdy, healthy group, although he mistook their tattoos for paint.
Samoan weather is usually hot and wet, with a mean temperature of 79.5 degrees fahrenheit and heavy annual rainfall.
The massacre of the French sailors from the Astrolabe in 1787 gave the Samoans a reputation for savagery that deterred future European exploration of the islands, except for a few brief contacts such as the visit of that H. In 1830, however, John Williams sailed the Messenger of Peace to Savaii under the guidance of a Samoan convert from Rarotonga.
He first traveled to Sapapalii village, home of Malietoa, the highest-ranking chief in Samoa.
Once in Samoa, the Lapita potters developed a material culture characterized by a few large stone fortifications, early attempts at irrigation, and a startling talent for producing highly finished boat timbers.
The quality of the ship timbers produced by the Samoans did not escape notice.
The French claimed the attack was unprovoked, although they admitted the attack came after they had fired muskets over the heads of a few Samoans to persuade them to release a grapnel rope to a long boat.