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|Part of the First Samoan Civil War|
A sketch featuring the locations of the wrecked German and American ships.
|United States||German Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
1 gunboat 200 marines
|3 gunboats 150 marines|
|Casualties and losses|
1 sloop-of-war sunk
1 steamer sunk
1 gunboat grounded
1 gunboat sunk
2 gunboats grounded
The Samoan Crisis was a standoff between the United States, Imperial Germany, and Great Britain from 1887–1889 over control of the Samoan Islands during the Samoan Civil War. The incident involved three United States Navy warships (the sloop-of-war USS Vandalia, the screw steamer USS Trenton, and the gunboat USS Nipsic) and three Imperial German Navy warships (the gunboats SMS Adler and SMS Eber and the corvette SMS Olga), keeping each other at bay over several months in Apia harbour, which was monitored by the British corvette HMS Calliope.
The standoff ended when a cyclone on 15 and 16 March wrecked all six warships in the harbour. Calliope was able to escape the harbour and survived the storm. Robert Louis Stevenson did not witness the storm and its aftermath at Apia but did, after his arrival in Samoa (December 1889) write about the event. The Samoan Civil War continued, involving Germany, United States and Britain, eventually resulting, via the Tripartite Convention of 1899, in the partition of the Samoan Islands into American Samoa and German Samoa.
Wrecked vessels at Apia Harbor, Upolu, Samoa, during salvage efforts soon after the storm. The view looks about northward, with USS Trenton and the sunken USS Vandalia to the left and the beached German corvette Olga at right.Wreckage just off Trenton's stern may be from the German gunboat Eber, which was destroyed when she struck the harbor reef during the hurricane.
Illustrated London News for 27 April 1889; artist’s conception of HMS Calliope being cheered on by the crew of USS Trenton as Calliope escapes from Apia Harbour. Calliope actually passed to Trenton´s port..