Date of Birth: 4 January 1913
House: Sa Malietoa
Spouse: Lili Tunu
Spouse: Lili Tunu
Predecessor: Tanumafili I
Reign: 1940 – 2007
Summary: Tanumafili was raised by his two parents and educated at government-run school in Samoa. He travelled to New Zealand to attend St. Stephen's School and then Wesley College for his higher education. During his youth, Tanumafili was an active athlete, playing cricket, rugby, and boxing. He remained a fan of sports his entirely life and was still an avid golfer through the 1990s. He adopted the Bahá'í faith when he was young and remained loyal to it throughout his life. In 1940, he formally became the malietoa—paramount chief—after his father died.
Almost immediately after his coronation, Tanumafili II was appointed special advisor to the New Zealand administration and governor of Samoa. He retained this position until Samoa obtained independence from the United Kingdom in 1962. When that occurred, he became joint head-of-state with Tapua Tamasese Mea'ole, another paramount chief. Mea'ole died in 1963 and Tanumafili became the sole ruler of Samoa until his death forty years later. Tanumafili maintained a stable government and economy, and he travelled across the world promoting Samoan interests. At the time of his death in 2007, he was the oldest chief of state in the world at the age of 94. When Tanumafili died, his dynasty ended in the male line as well. The government of Samoa has been working for five years now to try and establish a legitimate leader of the dynasty, which recorded its genealogy solely through oral tradition until the 20th century. It is likely that the title will be passed on to a grandson of Tanumafili, that that will mean the dynasty would have a new start.
Date of Death: 11 May 2007
Other Monarch Deaths:
Leo VI, emperor of Constantinople (912)
Mahmud Ghazan, khan of Persia (1304)
Alaungpaya, king of Burma (1760)