The Port of Pago Pago (pronounced pango-pango) is the de facto capital of American Samoa and the island. In 2001, about 15,000 people lived in the town that rests on Pago Pago Harbor on the island of Tutuila. Today’s islands are made up of the independent Kingdom of Samoa and the U.S. territory of American Samoa.
The Port of Pago Pago rests on an inlet so large that it almost bisects the island, forming a large natural deepwater harbor.
People have lived on the Samoan islands since around 800 BC when ancient Polynesians landed there. It was 1722 before Europeans discovered the islands.
From 1878 until 1951, the U.S. Navy used the Port of Pago Pago as a coaling and repair station. Pago Pago is one of several villages that make up the larger metropolitan area.
The site for the Port of Pago Pago was selected by Commander R.W. Meade as he negotiated for the coaling station with the Samoan high chief Mauga. An active naval base until 1951, the Port of Pago Pago is now a regular port of call for all types of ocean-going vessels. The island’s major export is canned tuna.
In 1942, a Japanese submarine bombed the Harbor. Thankfully, this was the only World War II action American Samoa experienced.
Pago Pago International Airport was opened in 1964, stimulating tourism and supporting the economy.