Honolulu, Hawaii

As the capital of the U.S. State of Hawaii, Honolulu is also the most populous Hawaiian city. In Hawaiian language, Honolulu means a place of shelter or sheltered bay.

Located on the southern shore of the island of Oahu, Honolulu is referred synonymously to the whole island itself. The city and country government are combined into one entity - the City and County of Honolulu, which spans the entire island of Oahu.

Honolulu was highlighted during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941. Honolulu is also well known given that Barrack Obama, the 44th president of the United States was born on the island.

Honolulu's initial settlements came in the 14th century by way of Polynesian migrants. However, Honolulu soon received foreign visitors on its shores when Captain William Brown of Great Britain landed at the Honolulu Harbor in 1794.

This event held a lot of positive significance for Honolulu, which then became a center-point for harboring merchant ships travelling between Asia and North America. Honolulu has had turbulent times. In 1893, the monarchy was overthrown. Subsequently, Hawaii was annexed by the United States, based on the Newlands Resolution. This was followed by a large fire which destroyed a majority of the city. Later came the Pearl Harbor attack. Despite this painful past, the modern-day Honolulu is an economically stable region and a touristic centerpiece.

Welcome to the city of Honolulu, where you will be able to make just about anything happen. The city also has a bustling nightlife, various places to eat, places to see and can also offer you a great shopping experience. The city is known for its ambient social atmosphere and its lively residents.

Honolulu History

Honolulu has a unique history from other US cities. It remains a mystery as to when Honolulu was founded. However, the popular belief is that Honolulu was founded around 1100 AD. However, considering that Polynesian immigrants came to the place more than 2000 years ago, Honolulu might have been founded earlier.

In 1804, King Kamehameha I setup his kingdom in Waikiki. This was after he successfully conquered Oahu. Later, he moved the people's court from Waikiki to Honolulu. This fact is portrayed courtesy of the royal residences on Honolulu's Nimitz Highway and Bethel streets.

It is unclear as to why Honolulu was given its name. Local historians say that Honolulu's original name was Kou. In 1794, Honolulu harbor witnessed the first foreign visitor - Captain William Brown. The harbor was initially named Fair Haven by Captain William. Subsequently, the harbor was renamed to Brown's Harbor by other foreign visitors. Later, Honolulu was recognized for its strategic trading locale. Honolulu's port witnessed a lot of trade and commerce. It was used extensively for sandalwood and whale exports. Soon, sugar and pineapples became chief exports of Honolulu. And so were defense equipment. People started pouring into the place after hearing about the beauty of Honolulu. In due course of time, tourism became an even bigger export of Honolulu, and still is.

Honolulu grabbed American and European attention. Soon colonizers wanted to set-up their settlement here. Honolulu started having a steady influx of foreign visitors. The local people were not adverse to such an ongoing development.

In 1820, a group of missionaries from New England visited Honolulu, and left doing something that created a permanent impact on the direction which Honolulu would eventually take. They completely changed the way the people of Honolulu prayed, educated and administered themselves.

Asians then came to Honolulu. Asian culture was imbibed into the collective consciousness of the local people. The unique blend of Asian and western culture is what makes Honolulu a culturally unique place.

From the time King Kamehameha III made Honolulu the kingdom's capital city, Honolulu remained the capital of Hawaii and an economically dominant place. Honolulu is a place that effortlessly carries Asian and western culture hand in hand. The people have learned to adopt the best of both the cultures. It can be concluded that western and Asian culture can co-exist in harmony. 

About Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu has a unique culture, which mainlanders might find difficult to comprehend on their first visit. Unlike other U.S. states, Hawaii and Honolulu in general have a majority of Polynesian, and Polynesian-American population. Life is slow but steady in Honolulu. Honolulu is vacation/holiday spot as well as a business place.

Honolulu's cultural sites are located in the downtown areas. In the Kapahulu area, around Waikiki's Diamond, you will find plenty of cultural sites. Kapahulu Avenue is the place to go to sample Honolulu's ethnic cuisine. A range of Asian foods are offered in the variety of ethnic restaurants. Get the best of cheap and tasty food in Chinatown.

A lot of places of art are on display here as well. Iolani Palace, which reflects the times when Hawaii was a kingdom before its annexure in also present here. Hawaiian culture and art is on vivid display in Bishop Museum. As the largest Hawaiian museum, the Bishop Museum has a world-recognized collection of artifacts, books, and archives.

There are more than 95 beaches in Honolulu. Considering the influx of visitors, the number is justified. Among them Kahala Beach is most popular for hosting wedding parties. It is also an extremely photogenic place and a photographer's muse.

Honolulu is the land of craters. Popular among them is the Punchbowl crater. Dated to around 75,000 years ago, the crater was formed due to ejection of lava. The crater has an infamous history attached to it, for it was here that human sacrifices to Gods were done.

The lifestyle of the people in Honolulu reverberates with the vitality of life. You will find a mix of contemporary homes co-existing with historic structures, and museums.

People celebrate festivals as much as they celebrate life. Kokua festival is a popular festival started by Jack Johnson to raise funds for Kokua Hawai'i Foundation programs. In this festival, environmentalists, go-green businesses, performing artists, singers, musicians, and other environment lovers congregate to celebrate a common theme - save Mother Earth. Apart from spreading awareness of the environment, various performances from well-known artists are performed in this festival.

Another popular summer festival is Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival. It is celebrated to acknowledge Hawaiians deep love for playing the guitar. Playing the guitar is an integral lifestyle aspect of a majority of Hawaiians.

About Honolulu County, Hawaii

The year 1905 witnessed a significant turn of events for Hawaii. The U.S. ruling party at that time, the Congress, passed the Territorial Legislation. Five counties were established as part of this legislation - Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Hawaii and Kalawao. Hawaii was defined as a U.S. state with the most centralized form of government. The state government has still retained some traditional county governance systems.

For the County of Oahu, a consolidated city-council approach was adopted in 1907 under the city charter. Honolulu became the basis of the renaming of the county. The County of Oahu was renamed to The County of Honolulu. Honolulu is administered by a mayor led council type of government. The mayor, along with a council-elected managing director, controls administrative functions of the County of Honolulu.

The mayor led governance form of the County of Honolulu is worthy of replication. This type of governance became a model of governance for American metropolitan areas. Since suburban municipalities in the U.S. had their own governance complications, they could be left untouched with this type of governance.

The mayor has a nominal role at certain times. Meetings of council members may be conducted without the presence of the mayor. The mayor presides over the Honolulu City Council. This is the legislative entity overseeing the general administration of the County of Honolulu.

Regular meetings are conducted at the Honolulu City Council. The council members meet often informally and officially. The Honolulu City Council controls the Office of the City Clerk, Office of Council Services, and Office of the City Auditor.

Nine administrative jurisdictions constitute the City and County of Honolulu (County of Honolulu). The council is comprised of elected members from these jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction is again demarcated into urban areas like towns and cities. Towns and cities are referred to rather informally, as they are not officially incorporated as such. Once in ten years, all demarcations separating the jurisdictions are reviewed.