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Peter Tali Coleman (December 8, 1919 – April 28, 1997) was the first person of Samoan descent to be appointed Governor of American Samoa and later became the territory's first popularly elected governor. A member of the Republican Party, he is the only U.S. governor whose service spanned five decades (1956–1961, 1978–1985 and 1989–1993) and one of the longest-serving governors of any jurisdiction in American history.

Peter Coleman
Peter Tali Coleman.jpg
43rd, 51st, and 53rd Governor of American Samoa
In office
January 2, 1989 – January 3, 1993
LieutenantGalea'i Poumele
Gaioi Galeai
Preceded byA. P. Lutali
Succeeded byA. P. Lutali
In office
January 3, 1978 – January 3, 1985
LieutenantTufele Liamatua
Preceded byRex Lee
Succeeded byA. P. Lutali
In office
October 15, 1956 – May 24, 1961
Preceded byRichard Lowe
Succeeded byRex Lee
High Commissioner of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
In office
July 1, 1976 – July 9, 1977
Preceded byEdward E. Johnston
Succeeded byAdrian P. Winkel
Personal details
Born(1919-12-08)December 8, 1919
Pago Pago, American Samoa, U.S.
DiedApril 28, 1997(1997-04-28) (aged 77)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Nora Stewart (1941–1997)
EducationGeorgetown University (BA, LLB)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
RankUS-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Battles/warsWorld War II



Early life and careerEdit

Born in Pago Pago, American Samoa, Coleman graduated from Saint Louis School in Honolulu, Hawaii. He later joined the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of captain during World War II. He received his law degree from Georgetown University, and served in American Samoa both as a public defender and as the territory's attorney general.

Coleman was appointed governor of American Samoa in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower. At the conclusion of his term, he served a variety of positions in the Pacific Islands, including:

In 1977, Coleman became the first popularly elected governor of American Samoa. He was subsequently elected in 1980 and 1988.

Death and legacyEdit

Coleman died in 1997 in Honolulu after a two-year struggle with liver cancer.[1]

In 2014, his daughter Aumua Amata Radewagen, was elected Delegate to represent American Samoa in the United States House of Representatives.[2]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Fili Sagapolutele (November 5, 2014). "1st woman elected as American Samoa delegate". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 9, 2014.

External linksEdit