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O’ahu History


The old Kingdom of O’ahu was once ruled by the most ancient Ali’i in all of the Hawaiian Islands. The first great king of O’ahu was Mailikukahi, the law maker, who was followed by many generation of monarchs. Kualii was the first of the warlike kings and so were his sons. In 1773, the throne fell upon Kahahana, the son of Elani of Ewa. In 1783 Kahekili II, King of Maui, conquered O’ahu and deposed the reigning family and then made his son Kalanikupule king of O’ahu.


Kamehameha the Great would conquer in the mountain Kalanikupule’s force in the Battle of Nu’uanu. Kamehameha founded the Kingdom of Hawai’i with the conquest of O’ahu in 1795. Hawai’i would not be unified until the islands of Kaua’i and Ni’ihau surrendered under King Kaumualii in 1810. Kamehameha III moved his capital from Lāhainā, on Maui to Honolulu, O’ahu in 1845. ‘Iolani Palace, built later by other members of the royal family, is still standing, and is the only royal palace on American soil.


Oʻahu was apparently the first of the Hawaiian Islands sighted by the crew of HMS Resolution on 18 January 1778 during Captain James Cook’s third Pacific expedition. Escorted by HMS Discovery, the expedition was surprised to find high islands this far north in the central Pacific. Oʻahu was not actually visited by Europeans until 28 February 1779 when Captain Charles Clerke aboard HMS Resolution stepped ashore at Waimea Bay. Clerke had taken command of the ship after Capt. Cook was killed at Kealakekua Bay (island of Hawai’i) on February 14, and was leaving the islands for the North Pacific.

World War 2

The opening battle of World War II in the Pacific for the United States was the Imperial Japanese Navy attack on Pearl Harbor, Oʻahu on the morning of December 7, 1941. The surprise attack was aimed at the Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy and its defending Army Air Corps and Marine Air Forces. The attack damaged or destroyed twelve American warships, destroyed 188 aircraft, and resulted in the deaths of 2,403 American servicemen and 68 civilians (of those, 1,177 were the result of the destruction of the USS Arizona alone).


Today, Oʻahu has become a tourism and shopping haven as over five million visitors (mainly from the American mainland and Japan) flock there every year to enjoy the quintessential island holiday experience that the Hawaiian Islands and their multicultural people now personify.

An earthquake, measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale, struck the Island Of Hawai’i and the surrounding islands at 07:07:49 HST on 15 October 2006, causing an Islandwide power outage and over $200 million in damages.

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