From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Honolulu is the capital of and the most populous census-designated place
(CDP) in the U.S. state of Hawaii. Although Honolulu refers to the urban
area on the southeastern shore of the island of Oahu, the city and the
county are consolidated, known as the City and County of Honolulu, and the
city and county is designated as the entire island. The City and County of
Honolulu is the only incorporated city in Hawaii, as all other local
government entities are administered at the county level. The population of
the CDP was 371,657 at the 2000 census, while the population of the City and
County was 909,863. In the Hawaiian language, Honolulu means "sheltered bay"
or "place of shelter."
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, after Kamehameha I conquered Oahu in the Battle of Nuuanu
at Nuuanu Pali, he moved his royal court from the Island of Hawaii to
Waikīkī in 1804. His court later relocated, in 1809, to what is now downtown
In 1795, Captain William Brown of England 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, Iolani Palace, and Aliiōlani 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, Hawaii's
subsequent annexation by the United States, and the Japanese attack on Pearl
Harbor, Honolulu would remain the capital, largest city, and main airport
and seaport of the Hawaiian Islands.
An economic and tourism boom following statehood brought rapid economic
growth to Honolulu and Hawaii. Modern air travel would bring thousands and,
as of 2007, 7.6 million visitors annually to the Islands. Of these, about 62
3% in 2007 entered 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 Hawaii, 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.
Great Chinatown Fire of 1900
Witnesses said that a batch of bubonic plague was introduced to Honolulu on
October 20, 1899 by an off loaded shipment of rice which had been carrying
rats from the America Maru. At that time, Chinatown's residences were in
close proximity to each other in addition to poor living standards and
sewage disposal. Plague infected 11 people. The response by the Board of
Health included incinerating garbage, renovating the sewer system, putting
Chinatown under quarantine, and most of all burning infected buildings. 41
fires were set, but on January 20, 1900 winds picked up and the fire spread
to other buildings which was undesired. The runaway fire burned for
seventeen days and scorched 38 acres of Honolulu. The fire campaign
continued for another 31 controlled burns after the incident. The 7,000
homeless residences were moved to detention camps to house them and maintain
the quarantine until April 30. A total of 40 people died of the plague.
Wo Fat Building is an example of post-fire architecture, built 1900 after
Critics accused the government of being driven by Sinophobia, regardless of
the fire most likely being an accident, an exodus occurred. While the people
rebuilt, they began to live in suburbs while continue to work in Chinatown,
to avoid going homeless if another disaster occurred. In addition the
post-fire architecture began using masonry rather than wood seeing that the
stone and brick buildings proved much more fire resistant during the fire.
Geography and climate
Honolulu is located at 21°18′32″N 157°49′34″W / 21.30889°N 157.82611°W /
21.30889; -157.82611 (21.308950, -157.826182).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of
105.1 sq mi (272 km2). 85.7 sq mi (222 km2) of it is land and 19.4 sq mi (50
km2) of it (18.42%) is water.
The closest location on the mainland to Honolulu is the Point Arena,
California Lighthouse, at 2,045 nautical miles (2,353 statute miles) or 3
787 kilometers. (Nautical vessels require some additional distance to
circumnavigate Makapu'u Point.) However, part of the Aleutian Islands of
Alaska are slightly closer than California.
Honolulu has a warm semiarid (BSh) climate according to Köppen
classification, and enjoys warm weather and plenty of sunshine throughout
the year. Despite its location in the tropics, the climate (temperature,
precipitation and humidity) is moderated by Hawaii's mid-ocean location.
Temperatures vary little throughout the months, with average high
temperatures of 80-89°F (27-32°C) and lows of 65-75°F (19-24°C) throughout
the year. Temperatures rarely exceed 90's°F (32°C), and with lows in the
upper-50's°F (~15°C) occurring once or twice a year. Waters off the coast of
Honolulu averages 82°F (27°C) in the summer months and 77°F (25°C) in the
Annual average precipitation is 18.3 inches (464.82 mm), which mainly occurs
during the winter months of October through March, and very little rainfall
during the summer. Honolulu has an average of 270 sunshine days and 98 wet
days a year.
Located on the western end of the CDP, Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is the principal aviation gateway to the state of Hawaii. Kalaeloa Airport is primarily a commuter facility used by unscheduled air taxis, general aviation and transient and locally-based military aircraft.