Aviva Directory » Local & Global » Australia » American Samoa » Cities & Towns » Pago Pago

Pago Pago is the territorial capital of American Samoa and one of the deepest natural harbors on the South Pacific Ocean. Situated on the main island of Tutuila, Pago Pago borders on the National Park of American Samoa to the north and northeast. Pago Pago is the primary entry point for visits to the National Park of American Samoa. The region commonly known as Pago Pago includes several smaller villages along the harbor, each with its own village council. These include Anua, Atu'u, Autapini, Fagatogo, Fangataufa, Fusi, Lalopua, Malaloa, Satala, Utulei, and a village that is itself named Pago Pago. Other nearby towns and villages include Aua, Leloaloa, Fagale'a, Fagatele, Lepua, and Onesosopo.

Given its harbor, the chief industries of Pago Pago include tuna canning, hosting Chicken of the Sea and StarKist tuna processing facilities. Pago Pago was the world's largest tuna processor in 1983. The city is a modern urban center and, as such, tourism, entertainment and food are important to the city's economy. The city includes several shopping areas, restaurants, shops, bars, and venues for live entertainment and music. The Sadie Thompson Inn, featured in a popular short story by W. Somerset Maugham, is on the US National Register of Historic Places. Several subsequent Sadie Thompson films were shot there.

Situated in Pago Pago is Rainmaker Mountain, which traps rain clouds. Pago Pago has the highest rainfall of any harbor in the world. Rainmaker Mountain is one of several large volcanic mountains that created the island of Tutuila. Other mountains surrounding Pago Pago are Mount Alava and Mount Matafao. Pago Pago is in the Eastern District of American Samoa, in Maoputasi County.

The area of Pago Pago was first settled around four thousand years ago, but its Polynesian population first came into contact with Europeans in the early 1700s. American interest in the harbor began in 1839 when the United States surveyed the harbor and island. Rumors of annexation by Britain or Germany spurred U.S. interest and a treaty was signed between Mauga, the chief of Pago Pago, and the United States government in 1872, giving the United States more influence on the island, and the East Samoan islands were acquired by the United States in 1877.

Construction of US Naval Station Tutuila was begun in 1898 and completed in 1902. The Station commander served as the governor of American Samoa from 1899 to 1905, when the Fono was established to serve as the American Samoan legislature, providing advice to the governor. Pago Pago was named the administrative capital of American Samoa in 1899.

US Naval Station Tutuila was an important base for the United States and its Allies during World War II, and a Marine airfield was established at Tafuna in 1940. The First Samoan Battalion of the United States Marine Corps Reserve was mobilized after the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor and remained active until 1944. Pago Pago Harbor was shelled by a Japanese submarine in January of 1942, but that was the only actual battle action that occurred on American Samoa.

Today, as with the rest of American Samoa, the majority of the residents of Palo Palo are ethnic Polynesians and identify as Christian. Most businesses are closed on Sunday, and church activities play a significant role in the lives of its people.



Recommended Resources

Search for Pago Pago on Google or Bing