Oahu
Nickname: Gathering Place
Oblique satellite photo of Oahu
Geography
Location21°30′N 158°00′W / 21.5°N 158.0°W / 21.5; -158.0
Area596.7 sq mi (1,545 km2)
Area rank3rd largest Hawaiian Island
Highest elevation4,025 ft (1226.8 m)
Highest pointKaʻala
Administration
United States
Symbols
Flowerʻilima
ColorMelemele (yellow)
Largest settlementHonolulu
Demographics
Population1,016,508 (2020)
Pop. density1,704/sq mi (657.9/km2)
Aerial view of Oahu with freeways and highways; 3D computer-generated image
Fly-around tour of the island

Oahu (/ˈɑːh/ oh-AH-hoo) (Hawaiian: Oʻahu (pronounced [oˈʔɐhu])) is the most populated and third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands.[1] The island of Oahu and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands constitute the City and County of Honolulu. The state capital, Honolulu, is on Oahu's southeast coast. In 2021 Oahu had a population of 995,638,[2] up from 953,207 in 2010 (approximately 70% of the total 1,455,271 population of the U.S. state of Hawaii,[3] with approximately 81% of those living in or near the Honolulu urban area).

Name

The Island of Oahu in Hawaii is often nicknamed, (or translated as) "The Gathering Place". The translation of "gathering place" was suggested as recently as 1922 by Hawaiian Almanac author Thomas Thrum. Thrum possibly ignored or misplaced the ʻokina because the Hawaiian phrase "ʻo ahu" could be translated as "gathering of objects" (ʻo is a subject marker and ahu means "to gather"). The term Oʻahu has no other confirmed meaning in Hawaiian.[4][5]

History

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Oahu" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (November 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Pearl Harbor is the home of the largest U.S. Navy fleet in the Pacific. The harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, by the Japanese Empire, bringing the United States into World War II.
USS Arizona Memorial (right); USS Missouri (left) in Pearl Harbor

The island has been inhabited since at least the 3rd century A.D.[6] The 304-year-old Kingdom of Oahu was once ruled by the most ancient aliʻi in the Islands. The first great king of Oahu was Maʻilikūkahi, the lawmaker, who was followed by generations of monarchs. Kualiʻi was the first of the warlike kings and was succeeded by his sons. In 1773, the throne fell upon Kahahana, the son of Elani of Ewa. In 1783, Kahekili II, King of Maui, conquered Oahu, deposed the reigning family, and made his son, Kalanikūpule, king of Oahu, turning Oahu into a puppet state. Kamehameha the Great conquered Kalanikūpule's forces in the Battle of Nuʻuanu. Kamehameha founded the Kingdom of Hawaii with the conquest of Oahu in 1795. Hawaii was not unified until King Kaumualiʻi surrendered the islands of Kauai and Niihau in 1810. Kamehameha III moved his capital from Lahaina, Maui to Honolulu, Oahu in 1845. ʻIolani Palace, built later by other members of the royal family, still stands, and is the only royal palace on American soil.

Oahu was apparently the first of the Hawaiian Islands sighted by the crew of HMS Resolution on January 19, 1778, during Captain James Cook's third Pacific expedition. Escorted by HMS Discovery, the expedition was surprised to find tall islands this far north in the central Pacific. Oahu was not actually visited by Europeans until February 28, 1779, when Captain Charles Clerke aboard HMS Resolution stepped ashore at Waimea Bay. Clerke took command of the ship after James Cook was killed at Kealakekua Bay (island of Hawaiʻi) on February 14, and was leaving the islands for the North Pacific. With the discovery of the Hawaiian Islands came the introduction of disease, mosquitoes, and aggressive animals. Although indirect, simple exposure to these foreign species caused permanent damage to the Native Hawaiian people and environment.

The Imperial Japanese Navy's attack on Pearl Harbor, Oahu on the morning of December 7, 1941, brought the United States into World War II. The surprise attack was aimed at destroying the American will to fight and forcing the US to sue for peace. They attacked the Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy and its defending Army Air Forces and Marine Air Forces. The attack damaged or destroyed 12 American warships, destroyed 188 aircraft, and killed 2,335 American servicemen and 68 civilians (of those, 1,177 were the result of the destruction of the USS Arizona alone).[7][8]

Oahu then became a tourism and shopping haven. Over five million visitors (mainly from the contiguous United States and Japan) flock there every year.[9]

Climate

Enlargeable, detailed map of Oahu
O‘ahu
Climate chart (explanation)
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
 
 
14
 
 
27
18
 
 
27
 
 
27
19
 
 
105
 
 
27
17
 
 
2
 
 
30
19
 
 
6
 
 
29
18
 
 
2
 
 
31
21
 
 
8
 
 
30
22
 
 
10
 
 
28
18
 
 
2
 
 
28
23
 
 
95
 
 
28
21
 
 
21
 
 
28
21
 
 
25
 
 
25
20
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: [10]
Imperial conversion
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
0.6
 
 
81
64
 
 
1.1
 
 
81
66
 
 
4.1
 
 
81
63
 
 
0.1
 
 
86
66
 
 
0.2
 
 
84
64
 
 
0.1
 
 
88
70
 
 
0.3
 
 
86
72
 
 
0.4
 
 
82
64
 
 
0.1
 
 
82
73
 
 
3.7
 
 
82
70
 
 
0.8
 
 
82
70
 
 
1
 
 
77
68
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches

Oahu is known for having the longest rain shower in recorded history. Kāneʻohe Ranch reported 247 straight days of rain from August 27, 1993, to April 30, 1994. The average temperature in Oahu is around 70–85 °F (21–29 °C). The island is the warmest from June through October. The winter is cooler, but still warm, with an average temperature of 68–78 °F (20–26 °C).

Geography

Oahu is 44 miles (71 km) long and 30 miles (48 km) across. Its shoreline is 227 miles (365 km) long. Including small associated islands such as Ford Island plus those in Kāneʻohe Bay and off the eastern (windward) coast, its area is 596.7 square miles (1,545.4 km2), making it the 20th-largest island in the United States.[11]

The city of Honolulu—the state's capital and largest city is located on the island. As a jurisdictional unit, all of Oahu is in Honolulu County, although Honolulu occupies only part of its southeastern end.

Well-known features of Oahu include Waikiki, Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Hanauma, Kāneʻohe Bay, Kailua Bay, North Shore, and the resort destination Ko Olina.

The island is composed of two separate shield volcanoes: the Waiʻanae and Koʻolau Ranges, with a broad valley or saddle (the central Oahu Plain) between them. The highest point is Kaʻala in the Waiʻanae Range, rising to 4,003 feet (1,220 m) above sea level.[12]

Tourism

Lanikai Beach
Downtown Honolulu
Waikiki Beach is one of the most well-known beaches in the world
Valley of the Temples Memorial Park near the island's eastern shore
Jellyfish swim in a tank at Waikiki Aquarium
Mokoliʻi island, also known as Chinaman's Hat, offshore of Kualoa Valley
Nuʻuanu Pali of the Koʻolau mountain

Oahu, along with the rest of the State of Hawaii, relies on tourism as a driving force of the local economy.[13] Popular tourists attractions include beaches such as Ala Moana Beach, Hanauma Bay, Kāneʻohe Bay, Ko Olina Beach Park, Waikiki Beach, among others. Other tourist attractions include Ala Moana Center, Bishop Museum, the Honolulu Museum of Art, ʻIolani Palace, and Kualoa Ranch.

Helicopter view of Oahu
Ko'Olina white sand lagoon

Notable people

See also: Category:People from Oahu

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ Nichols, William D.; Shade, Patricia J.; Hunt, Charles D. (1996). Professional Paper (Report). doi:10.3133/pp1412a. hdl:2027/mdp.39015040694906.
  2. ^ "US Census Bureau". Archived from the original on October 24, 2021. Retrieved December 9, 2021.
  3. ^ "US Census Bureau". census.gov.
  4. ^ Pukui, et al., 1976
  5. ^ Pukui, Mary Kawena (December 1976). Place Names of Hawaii. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-0524-0.
  6. ^ Van, James (2010). Ancient Sites of Oahu: A Guide to Archaeological Places of Interest. Bishop Museum Pr. Page 5. ISBN 978-1581780956.
  7. ^ "Pearl Harbor Fact Sheet" (PDF).
  8. ^ "The Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941 - Overview". NHHC. Retrieved November 30, 2023.
  9. ^ "YTD Visitors by Country By Month by MMA" (PDF).
  10. ^ "NASA Earth Observations Data Set Index". NASA. Archived from the original on August 6, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  11. ^ "Table 5.08 – Land Area of Islands: 2000" (PDF). State of Hawaii. 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 9, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2007.
  12. ^ "Table 5.11 – Elevations of Major Summits" (PDF). State of Hawaii. 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 9, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2007.
  13. ^ "Fact Sheet: Benefits of Hawai'i's Tourism Economy" (PDF). >Hawaii Tourism Authority. December 2019.

Sources