The island is home to about 953,207 people (approximately 75% of the resident population of the state, with approximately 75% of those living on the "city" side of the island). OÊ»ahu has for a long time been known as "The Gathering Place". However, the term OÊ»ahu has no confirmed meaning in Hawaiian, other than that of the place itself. Ancient Hawaiian tradition attributes the name's origin in the legend of HawaiÊ»iloa, the Polynesian navigator credited with discovery of the Hawaiian Islands. The story relates that he named the island after a son.
Residents of OÊ»ahu refer to themselves as "locals" (as done throughout HawaiÊ»i), no matter their ancestry.
The city of Honoluluâ€”largest city, state capital, and main deepwater marine port for the State of HawaiÊ»iâ€”is located here. As a jurisdictional unit, the entire island of OÊ»ahu is in the City & County of Honolulu, although as a place name, Honolulu occupies only a portion of the southeast end of the island.
Being roughly diamond-shaped, surrounded by ocean and divided by mountain ranges, directions on OÊ»ahu are not generally described with the compass directions found throughout the world. Locals instead use "ewa" (pronounced "eh-va") to mean toward the western tip of the island, "Diamond Head" to be toward the eastern tip, "mauka" is toward the mountains and "makai" toward the sea.
Locals consider the island to be divided into various areas, which may overlap. The most commonly-accepted areas are the "City", "Town" or "Town side", which is the metropolitan area from Halawa to the area below Diamond Head (residents of the island north of the KoÊ»olau Mountains consider the Town Side to be the entire southern half); "West OÊ»ahu," which goes from Pearl Harbor to Kapolei and Ewa and may include the Makaha and Waianae areas; the "North Shore" (northwestern coast); the "Windward Side" (northeastern coast); the "East Side" (the eastern portion of the island, including both the Windward Side and the area east of Diamond Head; and "The Valley" or "Central Oahu" which runs northeast from Pearl Harbor toward Haleiwa. These terms are somewhat flexible, depending on the area in which the user lives, and are used in a mostly general way.
The old Kingdom of OÊ»ahu was once ruled by the most ancient AliÊ»i in all of the Hawaiian Islands. The first great king of OÊ»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 OÊ»ahu and deposed the reigning family and then made his son Kalanikupule king of OÊ»ahu. Kamehameha the Great would conquer in the mountain Kalanikupule's force in the Battle of NuÊ»uanu. Kamehameha founded the Kingdom of HawaiÊ»i with the conquest of OÊ»ahu in 1795. HawaiÊ»i would not be unified until the islands of KauaÊ»i and NiÊ»ihau surrendered under King Kaumualii in 1810. Kamehameha III moved his capital from LÄhainÄ, on Maui to Honolulu, OÊ»ahu in 1845. Ê»Iolani Palace, built later by other members of the royal family, is still standing, and is the only royal palace on American soil.
OÊ»ahu 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. OÊ»ahu 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 HawaiÊ»i) on February 14, and was leaving the islands for the North Pacific.
MÄkua Valley Military Testing Area, OÊ»ahu, HawaiÊ»i
Today, OÊ»ahu has become a tourism and shopping haven. Over five million visitors (mainly from the American mainland and Japan) flock there every year to enjoy the quintessential island holiday experience.
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 island-wide power outage and over $200 million in damage.
Due to its beauty, easy access from Hollywood and incentives by the state and local governments, OÊ»ahu has been featured in many movies and television shows. There is great financial incentive on the part of the State to promote filming on location in Hawaii as the local economy benefits. The notable films and shows to shoot scenes on OÊ»ahu include, but not limited to: