Oahu History

In Oahu, a cultural experience isn't complete without a look into island history. Though many of the historical facts about Oahu correspond to the history of the other islands, each island does have its own distinct past. The original settlers arrived on Maui, Kauai, the Big Island, and Oahu around the same time. The ancient Hawaiian people canoed across the Pacific Ocean, but it isn't known exactly who the first settlers were. Many say that in Oahu history, the Tahitians were the first to arrive while others conclude they were Polynesians.

Thick with royal tradition, Hawaii's monarchy also plays a vital role in Oahu history. From Pearl Harbor and the many historic areas and monuments left behind as reminders of a violent past, through to Oahu facts about official statehood, the history of Oahu takes you on an intriguing journey into many significant time periods in the island's past, uncovering the unfolding story of Oahu.

The first on the scene in Oahu Hawaii history are the initial island settlers, who arrived on Oahu around the turn of the first millennium A.D. Tightly interwoven into Hawaiian culture, Polynesian and Tahitian tradition and heritage are vastly evident throughout Hawaii today. The later eighteenth century saw European explorers become aware of Oahu and examine it thoroughly. In 1794, Captain W. Brown famously arrived on Oahu's mainland, naming it Brown's Harbor. Today, this area is known as Honolulu Harbor, home to the Falls of Clyde and other city attractions.

The famous King Kamehameha I conquered the island of Oahu and the other Hawaiian islands in the early nineteenth century. Known also as Kamehameha the Great, he was born on the Big Island of Hawaii. Oahu facts show numerous rival chiefs fighting over the control of the island chain, and in fact Oahu was the last island overpowered by Kamehameha during the legendary battle in the Nuuanu Valley. His biggest ambition, and today one of the proudest Oahu facts, was to keep the islands unified under one rule. Once he conquered Oahu, he spent much of his time living in and exploring different island areas until he settled in Honolulu in 1810, setting up a grand palace for himself and his wives and children.

In the 1820s, the history of Oahu saw the arrival of missionaries added to its time line. The missionaries brought to the islands many prevalent Western influences. As Oahu gained much popularity for colonization, seamen and merchants sought out the islands looking for new homes. Around this time in Oahu history, whaling declined and exporting became very popular with pineapples and sugar becoming top export goods. The roots of the Dole Plantation were planted about this time as well, when the island experienced a major economic boom and supplied sugar to America throughout the Civil War. In 1898, Hawaii was annexed by the United States, eight years after a group of Americans took control from Queen Liliuokalani and declared Hawaii their own nation. Hawaii became the 50th state of America in 1959.

Exports had to share the stage with tourism by the middle of the nineteenth century. Hawaii became well-known as an excellent sun destination, and people flocked from all over the world. Oahu vacations have only become more popular since those times. Midway through the twentieth century, tourism came to a halt because of WWII. At this time Hawaii became the United States' most important Pacific command post, an important time in the history of Oahu, and the area was considered a dangerous one. Historic WWII attractions are all around Honolulu and include Pearl Harbor, the Pacific Aviation Museum, and the USS Arizona Memorial.

Today residents of Oahu enjoy a laid-back lifestyle, a stable economy, and an excellent standard of living. The island is full of tourist attractions such as stunning beaches, great surfing, a prominent whale watching season, and an incredible breadth of other natural attractions. It remains one of the most popular islands and maintains a stable and sustainable environment while tourism remains a steadfast industry.

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