The Samoan volcanic lineament has many features that are consistent with a plume-driven hotspot model, including the currently active submarine volcano Vailulu'u that anchors the eastern extremity. Proximity to the northern end of the Tonga trench, and the presence of voluminous young volcanism on what should be the oldest (̃5 my) western island (Savai'i) has induced controversy regarding a simple plume/hotspot model. In an effort to further constrain this debate, we have carried out geochronological, geochemical and isotopic studies of dredge basalts from four seamounts and submarine banks that extend the Samoan lineament 1300 km further west from Savai'i. 40Ar/ 39Ar plateau ages from Combe and Alexa Banks (11.1 my—940 km, and 23.4 my—1690 km from Vailulu'u, respectively) fit a Pacific age progression very well. The oldest volcanism (9.8 my) on Lalla Rookh (725 km from Vailulu'u) also fits this age progression, but a new age is much younger (1.6 my). Isotopically, these three seamounts, along with Pasco Bank (590 km from Vailulu'u), all lie within, or closely along extensions of, the Sr-Nd-Pb fields for shield basalts from the Eastern Samoan Province (Savai'i to Vailulu'u); this clearly establishes a Samoan pedigree for this western extension of the Samoan hotspot chain, and pushes the inception of Samoan volcanism back to at least 23 my. From geodetic reconstructions of the Fiji-Tonga-Samoa region, we show that the northern terminus of the Tonga arc was too far west of the Samoa hotspot up until 1-2 my ago to have been a factor in its volcanism. Young rejuvenated volcanism on Lalla Rookh and Savai'i may be related to the rapid eastward encroachment of the Trench corner. The Vitiaz Lineament, previously thought to mark a proto-Tongan subduction zone, was more likely created by the eastward propagation of the tear in the Pacific Plate at the northern end of the arc.