More than its pristine beaches, incredible food, and hospitable people, there is more to Oahu than what meets the eye. Did you know that it had its fair share of historical events, which paved way to its amazing culture and traditions today?
Back in the day, Oahu was the home of the Hawaiian monarchy. King Kamehameha I led his forces and conquered the Battle of Nuuanu, which resulted to his claim to Oahu in 1795. That event marked the unification of all the Hawaiian Islands under one rule by 1810.
After his successful reign, seven monarchs followed the then Kamehameha the Great. His kin, King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) permanently established the Hawaiian Kingdom’s government on Oahu. Queen Liliuokalani was Hawaii’s last reigning monarch after American colonists overthrew the Hawaiian Kingdom in a controversial coup in 1893.
The monarchy era ended in 1898, as Hawaii became a territory of the United States.
Agriculture boomed across the island region in the late 19th century. This caused labor shortage affecting plantation owners. Simultaneously, immigrants from Japan, China, Korea, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Russia and the Philippines arrived to work on the plantations, somewhat bringing resolution to the problem. This is the start of Hawaii’s visitor and tourism industry growth in the early 1900s.
Visitors to Hawaii are not only interested in water sports and activities, many are also captivated by Oahu’s rich history. Throughout the island, there are many heritage sites to be found. Each serve as destinations that showcase significant historical, cultural and environmental contributions and encapsulate Native Hawaiian customs, beliefs and practices.
If you want to know more about the identity of Hawaii and Oahu as molded by its centuries of history, visit these places to know more and experience it first hand:
Diamond Head (Leahi) State Monument
This heritage site is one of Hawaii’s most recognized natural landmarks and tourist destinations too. Travelers often hike to the top of the crater for panoramic views of Waikiki and Honolulu.
If you’re travelling to Oahu Island, Hawaii, you can not forget to visit one of the most historical places not only in the island region, but in the whole of the United States of America: The Pearl Harbor. Yearly, over 1.8 million travelers visit this heritage site which features sunken war ships, a museum, and a memorial for the fallen soldiers of World War II.
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Located at Punchbowl Crater, this is one of the island’s and the whole of America’s most prominent national cemeteries, with more than 49,000 internments — including more than 13,000 soldiers and sailors who died during World War II. Over 5 million visitors come to pay their respects here each year.
Iolani Palace State Monument
King Kalakaua, also known as the Merrie Monarch, built this majestic palace in 1882. It served as his official residence, as well as the official state residence of royalty in the United States. The palace’s grounds and galleries are now open to the public as a museum. The iconic King Kamehameha I statue stands just across the street.
Nuuanu Pali State Wayside (Pali Lookout)
The Nuuanu Pali Lookout was the site of the Battle of Nuuanu, which paved way to the unification of Hawaii under the reign of King Kamehameha I. It is one of the most historic places in Hawaii, located high atop these sheer cliffs.
Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline (Makapuu Trail)
Hike the one-mile Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail to this scenic point on Oahu’s eastern-most tip for incredible views and whale watching during the winter.
Queen Emma Summer Palace
Known as Hanaiakamalama, this serves as one of the few summer retreats in the Nuuanu Valley of Queen Emma, the wife of King Kamehameha IV. Today, it homes artifacts, previous belongings, furnishings, and other adornments the monarch owned during her time.
The premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific region, Bishop Museum is known through the world for its research projects, public education programs and cultural exhibits — including a unique and unparalleled collection of Hawaii cultural artifacts.
Most commonly known as the home of Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, this storied mansion sits in Downtown Honolulu in the heart of the Hawaii Capital Historic District and is a registered National Historic Landmark.
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Eddie Keliinohomoku is the Director of sales and marketing and co-founder of Go Hawaii Tours and Aloha Trikke, With Direct Ties to the Hawaiian islands, Eddie's passion is sharing the islands and spirit of aloha with the world. "E Komo Mai"