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American Samoa Travel Guide

Massacre Bay Monument


Monument at Aasu to la Pérouse's massacred crew members.

The Northwest Coast

Buses run fairly frequently between Pavaiai and Aoloaufou, high in the center of the island.

It's a short walk up a paved road from Aoloaufou to the radio towers on Mt. Olotele (493 meters) for the view.

From beside the Congregational Church in Aoloaufou, a concrete road which deteriorates into a muddy, slippery trail leads down to Aasu village on Massacre Bay, about an hour each way.

No one lives here, and in front of one of the abandoned houses is a monument erected in 1883 and surmounted by a cross. This memorializes 11 French sailors from the ships Astrolabe and Boussole of the ill-fated La Pérouse expedition, who were killed here in an encounter with the Samoans on 11 December 1787.

The French had come ashore to fill their casks with water, but as they were returning to their ships the two longboats became stranded on the reef due to a miscalculation of the tide, and the Samoans attacked.

A Chinese member of the expedition and the 39 Samoans who also died are not mentioned on the monument. A year later, La Pérouse and all of his ships were lost when a storm drove them onto a reef in the Solomon Islands.