Pago Pago (pronounced /ˈpɑːŋɡoʊˈpɑːŋɡoʊ/ in English, [ˈpaŋo ˈpaŋo] in Samoan), also spelled Pango Pango, is the capital of American Samoa. In 2000, its population was 11,500. The city is served by Pago Pago International Airport. Tourism, entertainment, food, and tuna canning are the primary industries here. From 1878 to 1951, this was a coaling and repair station for the U.S. Navy.
On September 29, 2009, an earthquake struck in the South Pacific, near Samoa and American Samoa, sending a tsunami into Pago Pago and surrounding areas. The tsunami caused moderate to severe damage to villages, buildings and vehicles and caused an unknown number of deaths.
The village is located in Pago Pago Harbor, on the island of Tutuila. Pago Pago is one of the several villages in the Urban agglomeration of Pago Pago along the shore of Pago Pago Harbor located at the very eastern part (inside) of the embayment. The area includes a number of villages, among them Fagatogo, the legislative and judicial area, and Utulei, the executive area.
However, because the name Pago Pago is associated with the harbor itself—the only significant port of call in American Samoa—Pago Pago is now generally applied not only to the village itself, but to the whole harbor area and to the villages in it. It is in this sense that Pago Pago becomes the de facto capital town of American Samoa.
Pago Pago is a mixture of colorful semi-urban communities, a small town, tuna canneries (which provide employment for a third of the population of Tutuila) and a harbor surrounded by dramatic cliffs, which plunge almost straight into the sea. A climb to the summit of Mt. Alava provides a bird's-eye view of the harbor and town.
In January 1942 Pago Pago Harbor was shelled by a Japanese submarine, but this remained the only action on the islands during World War II.
Until 1980, one could experience the view from the peak by taking an aerial tramway over the harbor, but on April 17 of that year a U.S. Navy plane, flying overhead as part of the Flag Day celebrations, struck the cable; the plane crashed into a wing of the Rainmaker Hotel. The tramway was repaired, but closed not long after. The tram remains unusable, although according to Lonely Planet, plans have been put forth to reopen it. Another noted view is that from the top of the pass above Aua Village on the road to Afono.
Both the port itself and the legislature of American Samoa—known as the "Fono" (/ˈfono/)—are in Fagatogo, a village adjacent to Pago Pago. Similarly, the once famous Rainmaker Hotel (now closed) is in the village of Utule‘i, adjacent to Fagatogo along the south shore of the long harbor. The canneries are in Atu‘u, on the harbor's north shore. It is suggested that one must avoid eating any fish or invertebrate caught in Pago Pago Harbor because they are contaminated with heavy metals and other pollutants.