City of Honolulu
Hawaii's Capital City
Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and the most populous city in the state. The name Honolulu means ‘sheltered bay’ in the Hawaiian language, and with its natural harbor it has become a major gateway into the United States, as well as a primary tourist attraction, a hub for international business and for military defense.
The city extends from Pearl Harbor in the west to Makapu’u Point on Oahu’s southeastern shore, encompassing the world-famous area of Waikiki.
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Today Honolulu is home to over 390,000 people and has been the capital since 1845 when King Kamehameha III officially moved the capital from Maui to Oahu. Previously, King Kamehameha, I had conquered Oahu in 1809, moving his royal court from the Island of Hawaii to what is now Downtown Honolulu, to unite the Hawaiian Islands under the Kingdom of Hawaii. There, he and the kings that followed, erected buildings such as St. Andrew’s Cathedral, ‘Iolani Palace and Ali’iolani Hale.
Oral histories and artifacts indicate that the original Polynesian settlement of Honolulu occurred in the 11th century. In 1794, Great Britain sent the first ships into Honolulu Harbor, after which it became a port for merchant ships traveling between North America and Asia. Today it is the main airport and seaport of the Hawaiian Islands. The city has experienced a turbulent history, such as the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 by the United States and Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, which gained the city's historical recognition. Under American rule, Honolulu saw the rise of tourism and the first hotels were built in Waikiki.
This place is a multicultural epicenter with many historical landmarks and an array of global culinary choices, as well as a buzzing cosmopolitan city with world-class shopping and a lively arts, cultural and entertainment scene. Honolulu has it all – from the art galleries and international cuisine of the Chinatown district to the fine dining, live music and nightlife of Waikiki. Today, 7.6 million visitors frequent the islands every year, with the main gateway into Hawaii being Honolulu.