The giant of German agriculture in 19th century Samoa, Mr Theodor Weber (pictured), was the driving force behind the purchase and planting of the Vailele land. He was also responsible for negotiating Godeffroy’s/DH & PG land purchases elsewhere on Upolu and Savai’i after his arrival in the islands as a teenage prodigy in the 1860’s. Weber’s business style was reportedly a mix of sledgehammer, velvet glove, cunning, immense tact and charm. But it got results. By the time he died on a trip back to Hamburg in 1889 at the young age of 44 the DH & PG owned massive swathes of Samoa, perhaps as much as a quarter of Upolu, much of it on the mountainous central spine which the company hoped to subdivide for settlers.
Only a small proportion of company land was put under cultivation. On Savai’i, a large block of land was purchased on the south east corner, inland from Vailoa and Sapapali’i, but this holding was not developed to any extent.
Credit: “Einhundert Jahre Australienfahrt 1886-1986,” Otto J. Seiler, Hapag-Lloyd.
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