Honolulu History, Hawaii
Honolulu History – The Beginnings
Honolulu, like the rest of the Hawaiian State, has seen some sort of habitation since the time that the Polynesian migrants made their way into these volcanic islands. Nevertheless, the beginning of Honolulu history dates back to the reign of Kamehameha I (of the House of Kamehameha) who established the Kingdom of Hawaii. Following the capture of Oahu in the Battle of Nuuanu, Kamehameha I founded the Hawaiian Kingdom; by 1809, he chose Honolulu as the site of his royal court. Before he could do so, however, another important episode of Honolulu history has already taken place – Captain William Brown of Great Britain had reached Honolulu Harbor in 1795.
Honolulu History – The 19th Century
An outcome of these two very dissimilar yet significant happenings was that Honolulu became a settled community at the very begining of the 19th century. As the 19th century advanced, a great number of American and European vessels (mostly merchant ships) started anchoring in Honolulu harbor and it became an important commercial hub of northern and central Pacific region.
In 1845, another important year in Honolulu history, the thriving business community was declared the permanent capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the then ruler, Kamehameha III. Kamehameha III was the first Christian ruler of the House of Kamehameha. He and his next two House of Kamehameha successors, Kamehameha IV and Kamehameha V, turned Honolulu into a modern capital.
The second half of the 19th century did not prove very favorable for Honolulu (rather, for Hawaii as a whole) politically, although it continued to develop in other areas. The century ended with the abolition of the Hawaiian Monarchy (1893) and eventual annexation of Hawaii by the United States (1898) following a short period when it was an independent republic. (Hawaii was as a US-territory and remained so for 60 years).
Honolulu History – 20th Century to Present Times
Honolulu’s history in the 20th century was quite interesting – the US-takeover proved quite positive for Honolulu becoming an important US military-base. Of course, things did not begin really well – a controlled burning of plague-hit Chinatown buildings in 1900 went haywire, leaving a considerable part of Honolulu scorched and scathed. The next year, the luxury-inn Moana Surfrider began its activity in the Waikiki-neighborhood. If this was only the beginning of Honolulu’s tourism, the following decades sealed its image as Hawaii’s tourism and entertainment hub.
The bombing of Pearl Harbor by Imperial Japan in 1941 is a must-mention episode in US’s history (as US entered the WWII only after this attack), but it did not affect Honolulu in particular.
1959 saw Hawaii become the 50th State of the USA and Honolulu became the capital of the newly named state. In the following years Honolulu developed much more than other Hawaiian cities and towns like Hilo, Kahului, Lihue, Pearl City, etc. Present-day Honolulu is not only the hub of Hawaiian tourism, it is a full-grown modern city characterized by its multiple high-rises, its excellent transportation network, its business opportunities and its standard of living. (In fact, Honolulu was top-rated in 2009 by Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey).
Things about Honolulu you may be interested in1 1 1 157
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