Oahu, the third largest Hawaiian Island, has an area of 608 square miles and a coastline of 112 miles ( 180km). It reaches from sea level to 4,003-foot ( 1,220m) at Mt. Ka’ala.
While Oahu was populated before 1000 A.D., it was added to the Island kingdom in 1794 when King Kamehameha I, from the island of Hawaii, fought the Oahu king’s forces to surrender at the famous Battle of Nu’uanu Pali. With it’s fine harbors, Oahu gradually became the state’s political , economic, military, educational, and cultural center. Honolulu harbor, discovered before 1800, became a key pacific port for whale, sandalwood, and fur traders. Pearl Harbor became famous when the nation set about to establish strategic military bases. By 1850, the Hawaiian royal court had moved permanently to Honolulu which has since been the seat of the government for the monarchy, republic, territory, and state.
- Iolani Palace is the only royal palace in the United States
- More than 14,000 coral blocks were taken from offshore reef to build Kawaiaha’o Church in 1836.
- Aloha Tower, today dwarfed by Honolulu highrises, was the tallest structure on the island when it was built in 1926.