Tui Manu’a Empire Of Samoa

•May 18, 2011 • 5 Comments


Tui Manu’a Empire Of Samoa:

It is appropriate to address the topic of the Oceania empire of the prehistoric Tui Manu’a and the extent to which this influence permeated the social-political sphere of Samoa and Tonga at that time. Prior to and during the rise of the great familial titles of Savaii, Upolu and Tongatapu, the Tui Manu’a was the highest ranking title and office of all Samoa, Tonga and various other islands.

The Tui Manu’a Kings extended Samoan influence and rule over various island groups including Tonga and parts of Fiji in which all of these islands payed tribute to Tui Manu’a Kings called Umiti.

Oral traditions coupled with cultural, linguistic, and archaeological evidences suggest that Samoan influence and rule was at one time or another felt throughout all of Tonga, the Niuas/Niue, the Marquesas, parts of Fiji, Rotuma, the Cook Islands, Uvea, Futuna, Tokelau, and Rurutu. Polynesian outlier groups located outside of the Polynesian triangle are also linked to ancient Samoan voyaging and cultural diffusion. The Tui Manu’a Empire was referred to in Samoan lore as the Manuatele (Great Manua) and the Faleselau (House of Hundreds). The latter title referred to the hundreds of islands within the Tui Manua’s sphere of influence and rule. The Great Manu’a is mentioned as Manuatere in Eastern Polynesia and as Manuka in Tongan and Cook Islands.

Archaeological evidence suggests that these early tributary networks may have been based around the distribution of certain prestige goods such as basalt adzes (toi maa or matau) and obsidian (volcanic glass). Samoan adzes from Tutuila were anciently exported as far away as Mangaia in the Cook Islands and that basalt artifacts were being continuously imported from Tutuila to Manua for about 3,000 years. Samoan-made stone tools had also been prehistorically distributed to Tonga and Fiji, Pukapuka and Rarotonga, and polities as far off as Anuta, the Solomon Islands, Tikopia, and Pohnpei. The Tui Manua kings grew powerful not only through WAR but by controlling and regulating interisland exchange networks from the commercial hub they had established in Manu’a and their empire was probably more expansive in scope than that of the later and younger Tui Tonga Line.

The Tui Manu’a empire confederacy had similarly taken the place of an even earlier maritime chiefdom which was ruled by the Tui Pulotu kings of Fiji. It is very likely that the growing autonomy of the Tongan and Samoan constituencies led to the demise of the Tui Pulotu federation and similar uprisings probably caused the weakening of the Tui Manua’s influence as well. The decline of Manuatele allowed for greater self-determination throughout the southwestern Pacific and it seems the Tui Tonga dynasty makes its first appearance during this period. (SEE BELOW)



1) Tui Tonga

* Over time and space, Tongan society became more settled, shaped strictly by both internal pressure and external influences. The external influences came in the form of imperial activities beginning with the Tu’i Pulotu empire in Fiji and followed by the Tu’i Manu’a empire in Samoa. In other words, Tonga was under considerable influence from the imperialism of both Fiji and Samoa. However, Tonga was able to free herself through bitter and bloody wars from the imperial domination of the Tu’i Manu’a — which eventually led to the formation of the Tu’i Tonga empire around AD 950 in the person of ‘Aho’eitu, the first Tu’i Tonga — whose father was a deified Samoan high chief, Tangaloa ‘Eitumâtupu’a, and mother a Tongan woman, Va’epopua, of great noble birth. This double origin, entitled the Tu’i Tonga to hold both divine and secular offices. In principle, the close cultural and historical interlinkages between Fiji, Samoa and Tonga were essentially elitist, involving the intermarriage between regional aristocratic families.

Na’e hoko e ngaahi liliu lahi ‘i Tonga ni tupu mei he’ene fetu’utaki mo muli, ‘o kau e kakai mulimo ‘enau sivilaise ki hono fakalele ‘a e fonua. Na’e fuofua nofo’i ‘a Tonga ni ‘e he kau Pulotu, ‘aia koha kau muli ‘oku ui ‘e he ‘akiolosia ko e kau Lapita. Na’e pule’i fefeka ‘a Tonga ‘e he Tu’i Manu’a, ‘o hu mei Ha’amoa mo Polinisia hahake ha ngaahi fetu’utaki ne ‘asi ‘i Tonga ko e ngaahi ‘Otua mo tangata, taula’eiki mo e Tu’i, ‘Eiki mo e Hau. Na’e tu’uloa ‘a e tufunga fonua ‘a e muli ko Lo’au mo e Tu’i Tonga, ‘a ia na’e fokotu’utu’u fo’ou ma’u pe mafai ke hoa mo e liliu he fonua, ‘o hange ko ‘ene ‘asi he ngaue tu’uloa mo tolonga ‘a Tu’itatui mo Kau’ulufonua I. Na’e tatau ‘eni mo hono fa’u e sino fakapolitikale muli ko e Konisitutone ‘e Taufa’ahau mo Misa Peika, ko ha Papalangi, ‘o ‘ikai kehe ia mei he hake mai ‘a e ngaahi tui muli ko e lotu faka-Kalisitiane, ako mo e temokalati.

* Hundreds of years later after the establishment of Ahoeitu in Tonga, the 15th Tui Tonga Talakaifaiki became a paramount Chief in Savaii. His Chiefdom in Savaii was short lived for he was defeated and expelled from Samoa by Tuna & Fata which lead to the creation of a new title & dynasty known as MALIETOA.

* In the late 1400’s early 1500’s a new Royal line was finally created in Tonga, known as the Tui Ha’atakalaua Line. Then in the 1600’s the Tui Kanokupolu (Flesh/Heart Of Upolu) royal line was established. The Tui Kanokupolu royal line has similar origins to that of the Tui Tonga Line. Both the Tui Tonga Line and Tui Kanokupolu Line have Samoan Origins as stated by the King of Tonga, George Taufa’ahau Tupou 1.  (See Below)

Tupou 1Tupou 2


* The Tui Kanokupolu (Flesh/Heart Of Upolu) Line are the current rulers of Tonga.




1) Tui Manu’a Ma Samoa Atoa (HEAD)

2) Tui Atua

3) Tui A’ana

This was the era of Tagaloalagi and the TUI titles. During this ERA the SEAT OF POWER of all Samoa was the Manu’a Islands and the head was TUI MANU’A MA SAMOA ATOA. Hundreds of years later a new era of non TUI’s began in Samoa such as the newly established Malietoa, Gatoaitele, Tamasoali’i, Tonumaipe’a and Le Tagaloa Lines. When the non TUI families rose to power a new political system was formed and established known as the TAFA’IFA when this happened it marked a power shift in Samoan History. The original SEAT OF POWER of Samoa shifted from Tui Manu’a and the Manu’a Islands in the EAST to the Tupu Tafa’ifa of UPOLU & SAVAII Islands of the WEST. Tui Manu’a Ma  Samoa Atoa no longer had political influence in Upolu or Savaii but was still recognized as being of the highest prestige in rank.


Gilbertese genesis legends claim initial colonization from Samoa and tell of regular voyaging between Samoa and the Kiribati islands. Samoan canoes introduced Samoan traits into prehistoric Anuta. The dialects of Tikopia, Pukapuka, Uvea, Tuvalu, Nukuoro, Kapingamarangi, Nukumanu, and Sikaina are all considered Samoic languages because they originated from or were heavily influenced by Samoa in prehistory. (SEE BELOW)


* East Uvean-Niuafo’ou
o Niuafo’ou (Nuiafo’ou , in Tonga)
o Wallisian or Uvean (Wallis (Uvea) in Wallis and Futuna)
* Ellicean
o Tuvaluan (Tuvalu)
o Kapingamarangi (Kapingamarangi in the Federated States of Micronesia)
o Nukuoro (Nukuoro in the Federated States of Micronesia)
o Ontong Java (Ontong Java in the Solomon Islands)
o Sikaiana (Sikaiana in the Solomon Islands)
o Takuu (Takuu in the eastern islands of Papua New Guinea)
o Nukumanu (Nukumanu in the eastern islands of Papua New Guinea)
o Nuguria (Nuguria in the eastern islands of Papua New Guinea)
* Futunic
o Anuta (Anuta in the Solomon Islands)
o East Futunan (Futuna in Wallis and Futuna)
o West Futunan or Futuna-Aniwa (Futuna and Aniwa in Melanesian New Caledonia)
o Emae (Emae in Vanuatu)
o Rennell (Rennell in the Solomon Islands)
o Mele-Fila (Mele in Vanuatu)
o Pileni (Pileni in the Solomon Islands)
o Tikopia (Tikopia in the Solomon Islands)
o West Uvean (Western Uvea , New Caledonia)
* Pukapukan
o Pukapukan (Pukapuka in the Cook Islands)
* Samoan
o Samoan (Samoa and American Samoa)
* Tokelauan
o Tokelauan (Tokelau, a dependency of New Zealand)
* Niuatoputapu
o Niuatoputapu (Niuatoputapu in Tonga)

* The Manu’a Islands were the original HEADQUARTERS of the SA TAGALOA Clan hence Manu’a were considered sacred islands (MOTU SA) to all Samoa and Tonga. The sacred Chant, “TUI MANU’A LOU ALI’I E”, was once chanted in Tonga, Tahiti and other islands of Polynesia to honor the mysticism of royalty to the title. Still today the Tui Manu’a Chant can be heard in Samoa but only on special occasions.

“O ou paia ia Samoa e afua mai ile taisamasama ole Tui Manu’a seia paia le fafa o saualii”.


SOURCE: (Tui Manu’a Salofi Son) (Misilao Moliga) (Galea’i Lilomaiava) (Taule’ale’a Moliga)

NOTE: The Family Lineage of Tui Manu’a Kings starts with the ancient Tagaloa and Moa Clans. In Manu’a, the ‘Moa’ title became synonymous with the Tui Manu’a title because the Moa family along with the Tagaloa Family were the ancestors of the Tui Manu’a Line.

* There may be more Tui Manu’a Kings then listed below

01) Tui Manu’a Satiailemoa

02) Tui Manu’a Tele or Fitiaumua

03) Tui Manu’a Maugaotele

04) Tui Manu’a Tae O Tagaloa or Folasa

05) Tui Manu’a Fa’aeanu’u or Fa’atutupunu’u

06) Tui Manu’a Saoioiomanu

07) Tui Manu’a Saopu’u

08)  Tui Manu’a Saoloa

09) Tui Manu’a Tu’ufesoa

10) Tui Manu’a Letupua

11) Tui Manu’a Saofolau

12) Tui Manu’a Saoluaga

13) Tui Manu’a Lelologatele

14) Tui Manu’a Alia Matua

15) Tui Manu’a Alia Tama

16) Tui Manu’a Ti’aligo

17) Tui Manu’a Fa’aeanu’u II

18) Tui Manu’a Puipuipo

19) Tui Manu’a Siliaivao

20) Tui Manu’a Manufili

21) Tui Manu’a Fa’atoalia Manu-O-Le-Fale-Tolu

22) Tui Manu’a Segisegi

23) Tui Manu’a Siliave

24) Tui Manu’a Pomelea

25) Tui Manu’a Lite or Tui Aitu

26) Tui Manu’a Toalepa’i

27) Tui Manu’a Seuea

28) Tui Manu’a Salofi

29) Tui Manu’a Levaomana or Lemamana

30) Tui Manu’a Taliutafa Pule

31) Tui Manu’a Ta’alolomanu Moaatoa

32) Tui Manu’a Tupalo

33) Tui Manu’a Seiuli

34) Tui Manu’a U’uolelaoa

35) Tui Manu’a Fagaese

36) Tui Manu’a Tauveve

37) Tui Manu’a Tauilima

38) Tui Manu’a Alalamua

39) Tui Manu’a Makerita

40) Tui Manu’a Elisala – Officially the last Tui Manu’a who died in 1909

41) Tui Manu’a Kilisi Taliutafa – Revived the Tui Manu’a title in 1924 but never fully took office.


(Augustin Kramer),  (Weisler & Kirch), (John Enright),  (Okusitino Mahina), (F. Leach), (David Hatcher Childress), (Moarerei T.  Kirion), (Bureieta Karaiti), (Richard Feinberg), (Irwin Howard), (Morgan A. Tuimalealiʻifano), (Peter Leiataua Ahching), (Misilugi Tulifau Tofaeono Tuʻuʻu), (Asofou So’o), (Malama Meleisea), (Elizabeth Bott), (Miloali’i Si’ilata), (Tongan culture and history papers from the 1st Tongan History Conference, held in Canberra, 14-17 January 1987), (Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Taisi Tupuola Tufuga Efi), (Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition),  (Pasilika ‘o Sangato ‘Atonio Patua – Nuku’alofa, Tonga), (Opeti Taliai of the Tongan History Association)