History of Honolulu
It is believed that the first settlement in the area of present-day Honolulu was built in the 11th century. The first European in Honolulu was the British captain William Brown in 1794. He brought news of the island and the settlement and soon more and more ships came as the Honolulu Harbor was ideal as a stop on the trading routes between North America and Asia.
In 1804, when the King Kamehameha I conquered the island of Oahu, he moved his capital to Waikiki, which is now a neighborhood in Honolulu. Later he moved it again to the area of the present-day Downtown Honolulu, but in 1812 he decided to move back to Kailua-Kona. The capital was moved again to Honolulu, this time permanently, in 1845, by the orders of King Kamehameha III. He and the kings who came after him transformed Honolulu into a modern and thriving city, with buildings such as Iolani Palace, Ali’Iolani Hale and St. Andrew’s Cathedral. The city was also becoming a large trade center for the Pacific islands and for routes to and from Asia.
The Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893 by the opponents of the Queen Lili’uokalani, who were mostly Americans. In 1898 Hawaii was annexed to the United States as the Territory of Hawaii. In 1900, there was an epidemic of bubonic plague in Chinatown neighborhood of Honolulu. The health authorities started several localized fires to destroy the infected structures, but the fires got out of control, burned for seventeen days and scorched 38 acres of Honolulu.
The most important event in the territorial period of Honolulu (and also one of the pivotal moments in American and world history) was certainly the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a U.S. naval base located west of Honolulu, which caused the USA to declare war on Japan and also caused Italy and Germany to declare war on USA.
Honolulu managed to overcome these difficult moments in history and grew to become a large, modern city, a major tourist destination and, according to the consulting company Mercer from UK, one of the best places in the world to live.
Geography and Climate of Honolulu
The city is located on the southeastern shore of the island of Oahu, the third largest and the most populous one of the Hawaii islands. The closest mainland location is Port Arena, California, at 2,045 nautical miles. Honolulu has a tropical savanna climate, with a dry and a wet season, although the two are almost unnoticeable. The summers are usually dry and warm, although the temperatures rarely exceed 95 °F. Honolulu is very sunny, with an average of 278 sunny days.
The administrative, commercial and financial center of the city is Downtown Honolulu. State capitol, Honolulu Hale and Iolani Palace are located in the Capitol District. The Chinatown Historic District is located near Downtown and it contains the Arts District Honolulu. Ala Moana is a district that hosts the world’s largest open air shopping center. The most famous district of Honolulu is certainly Waikiki, the tourist district with hundreds of hotels, resorts, restaurants and nightclubs, and, of course, the famous Waikiki Beach.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the urban Honolulu census-designated place had 337,256 inhabitants. The median age was 40 for males and 43 for females. As for the race and ethnicity, 54.8% were Asian, 17.9% were White, 8.4% were Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 5.4% were Hispanic or Latino, 1.5% was Black or African American, 0.2% were Native American and 16.3% were of two or more races. Clearly, Asian Americans are the majority population in Honolulu. Most of them are Japanese, followed by Filipino and Chinese.
Tourism is the most important source of revenue for Honolulu. Major tourist destinations in the city include Waikiki Beach, Waikiki Aquarium, Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Aloha Tower, Iolani Palace, USS Arizona Memorial, Lyon Arboretum, Ala Moana Center and Bishop Museum. The city also serves as a gateway to other Hawaiian islands. It is also a large business and commercial hub, especially for trade between East and West. Manufacturing, defense industry, research and development are also important economic sectors in Honolulu. Some of the largest companies in the city include Bank of Hawaii, Central Pacific Bank, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaii Pacific Health and Hawaiian Electric Industries.
Culture and Education
Notable cultural institutions in Honolulu include the Bishop Museum, Honolulu Symphony, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Diamond Head Theatre, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Contemporary Museum and Hawaii State Museum. Honolulu is the center for the Hawaiian music, with many clubs and larger venues, such as Waikiki Shell, Neal Blaisdell Center and the Hawaii Theatre. The city also hosts the annual Hawaii International Film Festival.
Institutions of higher education in Honolulu include Honolulu Community College, Kapiolani Community College, University of Hawaii at Maona and Hawaii Pacific University.
Transportation in Honolulu
The largest and the busiest Hawaiian airport is Honolulu International Airport. The major freeways in Honolulu include the Interstate H-1 and the Interstate H-201, as well as Likelike Highway, Pali Highway and Kamehameha Highway. The city currently does not have an urban rail transit system. Bus transportation in the city is provided by the system called TheBus, which was twice named the America’s Best Transit System.
Honolulu does not have any professional sports teams. However, because of its highly favorable climate, it hosts a number of sports events throughout the year, including the NFL’s Pro Ball game each February.