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Honolulu

Honolulu is my favorite city in the entire world.

Yep, I have visited and very much like London, Singapore, Taipei, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Sydney and a bunch of others, but as I am quick to tell people, “my heart and soul will always be in Honolulu.”  It was truly love at first sight during my first visit in 1969, and my love of the city has only grown since then.  I guess it is “all the above” that makes Honolulu so wonderful—the location, the weather, the tropical ambience, the beaches, the blue skies…I could go on and on.  But I have saved the best reason for loving Honolulu for last:  its people.  I have never met and interacted with a kinder, gentler, more gracious “people” than those that live on O’ahu in general and in Honolulu in particular.  This is known worldwide as “the spirit of Aloha,” and is so very alive and well in Honolulu.

Demographics

Let’s talk a little about Honolulu.  Honolulu is the state capital city, and had a population of about 372,000 at the 2000 census.  It is the most densely populated “census designated place” in the United States.  Together with the County, the population is almost 910,000.  “Honolulu” means “sheltered bay” or “place of shelter” in Hawaiian.

History

Evidence of the first settlement of Honolulu by the original Polynesian migrants to the archipelago comes from oral histories and artifacts. These indicate that there was a settlement where Honolulu now stands in the 12th century. However, afterKamehameha I conquered Oʻahu in the Battle of Nuʻuanu at Nuʻuanu Pali, he moved his royal court from the Island of Hawaiʻi to Waikīkī in 1804. His court later relocated, in 1809, to what is now downtown Honolulu.

In 1795, Captain William Brown of Great Britain was the first foreigner to sail into what is now Honolulu Harbor. More foreign ships would follow, making the port of Honolulu a focal point for merchant ships traveling between North America and Asia.

In 1845, Kamehameha III moved the permanent capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom from Lahaina on Maui to Honolulu. He and the kings that followed him transformed Honolulu into a modern capital, erecting buildings such as St. Andrew’s Cathedral, ʻIolani Palace, and Aliʻiōlani Hale. At the same time, Honolulu became the center of commerce in the Islands, with descendants of American missionaries establishing major businesses in downtown Honolulu.

Despite the turbulent history of the late 19th century and early 20th century, which saw the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, Hawaiʻi’s subsequent annexation by the United States in 1898, followed by a large fire in 1900, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Honolulu would remain the capital, largest city, and main airport and seaport of the Hawaiian Islands.

Today

An economic and tourism boom following statehood brought rapid economic growth to Honolulu and Hawaiʻi. Modern air travel would bring thousands and, as of 2007, 7.6 million visitors annually to the Islands. Of these, about 62.3% in 2007entered the state at Honolulu International Airport. Today, Honolulu is a modern city with numerous high-rise buildings, and Waikīkī is the center of the tourism industry in Hawaiʻi, with thousands of hotel rooms. The UK consulting firm Mercer, in a 2009 assessment “conducted to help governments and major companies place employees on international assignments”, ranked Honolulu 29th worldwide in quality of living; the survey factored in political stability, personal freedom, sanitation, crime, housing, the natural environment, recreation, banking facilities, availability of consumer goods, education, and public services including transportation.

The municipal offices of the City and County of Honolulu, including Honolulu Hale, the seat of the city and county, are located in the census-designated place. The Hawaii state government buildings are also located in the CDP.

The Honolulu District is located on the southeast coast of Oahu between Makapuu and Halawa. The district boundary follows the Koolau crestline, so Makapuu Beach is in the Koolaupoko District. On the west, the district boundary follows Halawa Stream, then crosses Red Hill and runs just west of Aliamanu Crater, so that Aloha Stadium, Pearl Harbor (with the USS ARIZONA Memorial), and Hickam Air Force Base are actually all located in the island’s Ewa District.

Several countries have diplomatic facilities in Honolulu CDP in the City and County of Honolulu. The Consulate-General of Japan in Honolulu is located at 1742 Nuuanu Avenue. The Consulate-General of South Korea in Honolulu is located at 2756 Pali Highway. The Consulate-General of the Philippines in Honolulu is located at 2433 Pali Highway. The Consulate-General of the Federated States of Micronesia in Honolulu is located in Suite 908 at 3049 Ualena Street. The Consulate-General of Australia in Honolulu is located in the penthouse of 1000 Bishop Street. The Consulate-General of the Marshall Islands in Honolulu is located in Suite 301 at 1888 Lusitana Street.

Learn About Honolulu’s Neighborhoods

Learn About Getting Around In Honolulu




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