Although Hawaii’s largest city is Honolulu, the most populous island is Oahu. The largest amount of population is concentrated in the southeastern part of this territory. In addition, it has emblematic and very touristic places such as Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head and Waikiki, among others.
Regarding its geography, Oahu has two volcanoes, Koʻolau and Waiʻanae, with altitudes that exceed 1,225 meters above sea level. These formations are separated by a gigantic valley.
The island occupies an area of 1545 square kilometers, and is the third largest in the Hawaiian archipelago. Oahu concentrates more than 75% of the total population of Hawaii, that is, it has more than one million inhabitants.
Some general information about Oahu
The first settlers present on the island were the result of several Polynesian migrations. Later, Oahu was invaded by the English led by James Cook in 1778, and later by American missionaries in 1820.
Nowadays, Oahu is a tourist destination frequented by more than 5 million travelers every year. Of this number, the majority is made up of American and Japanese visitors.
Likewise, Oahu has established itself in the cinematographic field as the perfect setting for a large number of films and television series. Even this island is the protagonist of several video games.
The most touristic places in Oahu
Waikiki is located in the southern coastal area of Oahu, a place that gathers 90% of all hotels of the island. This beach stands out for being one of the most valued on the planet for surfing.
In the past, there were a lot of wetlands here that were drained to make way for mass tourism. It is precisely from this circumstance that its name derives, which literally means ‘drained water’.
Pearl Harbor is located west of Honolulu and is part of a bay occupied mostly by a US naval base. This place went down in history when it was attacked by the Japanese in 1941, during World War II.
As a result of this fact, and in its commemoration, the remains of the battleships USS Missouri and USS Arizona are preserved, which were destroyed during the onslaught. Both were part of the United States Navy fleet.
Diamondhead, or as it is also known Lē’there, is part of a volcano that is located east of Waikiki. This site has become an Oahu tourist icon.
The origin of its name in English has to do with the navigators of England in the 19th century. These they mistook the flashes of the volcano in the distance for diamondswhen in fact it was calcite crystals.
Oahu’s Cultural Diversity
The islands that make up the Hawaiian archipelago are lushly beautiful, not to mention the welcoming spirit of its people. In addition, the enormous diversity of cultures that inhabit them make these islands true social melting pots.
This cultural mix is largely the result of the permanent pilgrimage of people who work in the sugar cane and pineapple crops. These workers have come from all over the world since the mid-19th century.
More than 43% of the population currently residing in this territory were born outside of it, but have made it their permanent home. Undoubtedly, Oahu is the Hawaiian island with the largest population of residents and visitors.
The population growth of the island
Among the many cultural groups present on Oahu are Samoans, Hawaiians, Tongans, Chinese, Maori, Japanese, Tahitians, and Canadians. In addition there are Spanish, Vietnamese, Irish, Scottish, Italian, Puerto Rican and Portuguese, among others. That’s why, it is very common to find a fascinating meeting of languages and customs diverse living in small areas.
Since the late fifties, the islands experienced exponential growth in the tourism industry. By the year 2000, Hawaii received nearly 7 million tourists.
As a result of the 2003 US Census, Hawaii was found to be ranked 10th in population growth. This is an aspect associated to a great extent with the intense migration towards these islands, the low unemployment and its stable economy.
Censuses and cultures
It is estimated that the current population exceeds 1,300,000 peoplewith a large military presence. Most are concentrated in metropolitan areas, where they can enjoy a diversity of sporting and cultural events.
On this island you can find everything, from an extensive catalog of dishes that make up its rich gastronomy to exotic places, such as Buddhist temples. There are also museums, natural parks and idyllic beaches, everything you need for a pleasant stay.
For the 2010 census, the population was found to be 38% Asian and 24% of families made up of at least two races. In addition, there is 23% Caucasian, 10% Native American and Pacific Islander, 9% Hispanic, 2% African American, and 0.5% American Indian. Without a doubt, a very diverse and interesting region to visit!