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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).

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  • lindamuraWhat to know about Hawaii
    review by lindamura posted more then 30 days ago
    Population: 1,211,537 Major Airports: Honolulu International Airport - Oahu (HNL), Kahului Airport - Maui (OGG), Kona International Airport - Big Island/Hawaii (KOA), Hilo International Airport - Big Island/Hawaii (ITO), Lihue Airport - Kauai (LIH), Kaunakakai Airport - Molokai (MKK), Lanai...
  • lindamuraMaui is the best
    review by lindamura posted more then 30 days ago
    Maui the magical island that has been named 'Best Island in the World' time and time again. Crystal waters, golden beaches, beautiful scenery, tropical breezes, swaying palms, award-winning cuisine and world class resorts just to name a few. Maui's diversity will amaze and delight you....
  • lindamuraWelcome to Hawaii!
    review by lindamura posted more then 30 days ago
    Your Pacific Paradise. Aloha! Hawai'i. Hawaii, everyone first thinks of it as the island of paradise and it is! The warmth of the islands invites you to start off by taking in a deep breathe of the fresh air, admire the cascading waterfalls, crystal clear waters, lush mountains, beautiful...
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Read our members' travel tips about Honolulu


  • SandroPearl Harbour
    travel tip by Sandro posted more then 30 days ago
    Pearl Harbour is an absolute must see in Honolulu. First you arrive to the Visitor Center and from there boats take you to the actual memorial. Visitor Center is also amazing, there are a lot of things to see from pictures to the objects...
  • papillonIolani Palace in Honolulu
    travel tip by papillon posted more then 30 days ago
    Iolani Palace is one of the landmarks of Hawaii. Built in 1882, the palace is the only place in the whole USA that was the residence of a reigning monarch. Hawaii's last two royal rulers, King David Kalakaua and his sister and successor,...
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Honolulu City Ratings

  • Rating81%
    City Rank131
     
  • History & Culture: rated for 67%
  • Night Life & Entertainment: rated for 83%
  • Family & Fun: rated for 90%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 87%
  • Food: rated for 83%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 80%
  • Shopping: rated for 75%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 85%
  • Must visit this place: rated for 90%
  
 

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Recent Honolulu flights found by Travelgrove users

  • $496Alaska Airlines flight Alaska Airlines 
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    San Jose, CA (SJC)Honolulu, HI (HNL)05/30/201408:55 am
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  • $571Multiple Airlines flight Multiple Airlines 
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    San Diego, CA (SAN)Honolulu, HI (HNL)05/17/201407:00 am
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  • $581Hawaiian Airlines flight Hawaiian Airlines 
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    Portland, OR (PDX)Honolulu, HI (HNL)08/19/201410:15 am
    Honolulu, HI (HNL)Portland, OR (PDX)08/30/201402:45 pm
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