Although the largest city in Hawaii is Honolulu, the most populous island is Oahu. Most of the population is concentrated in the southeastern part of this territory. In addition, it has emblematic and highly 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 1,545 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 generalities about Oahu
The first settlers present on the island were the result of several Polynesian migrations. Later, Oahu was invaded by the English under James Cook in 1778, and later by North American missionaries, in 1820.
Today, Oahu is a tourist destination frequented by more than 5 million travelers each year. Of this number, the majority is made up of American and Japanese visitors.
Also, Oahu has established itself in the film field as the perfect setting for a large number of movies 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 the hotels on the island. This beach stands out for being one of the most valued on the planet for surfing.
In the past, a large number of wetlands were found here, which were drained to make way for mass tourism. It is precisely from this circumstance that it derives its name, which literally means ‘drained water’.
Pearl Harbor is located west of Honolulu and is part of a bay mostly occupied by a North American 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 event, and in commemoration, the remains of the battleships USS Missouri and USS Arizona are preserved, which were destroyed during the attack. Both were part of the United States Navy fleet.
Diamond Head, or as it is also known Lē’ahí , 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. They mistook the flashes of the volcano in the distance for diamonds, when in fact they were calcite crystals.
The cultural diversity of Oahu
The islands that make up the Hawaiian archipelago have an exuberant beauty, not to mention the welcoming spirit of their people. In addition, the enormous diversity of cultures that inhabit them make these islands true social crucibles.
This cultural mix is largely the result of the permanent pilgrimage of people who work in the sugar cane and pineapple crops. These workers come from all over the world since the middle of the 19th century.
More than 43% of the population that currently resides in this territory was born outside of it, but has made it their permanent home. Oahu is undoubtedly the Hawaiian island with the largest population of residents and visitors.
The island’s population growth
Among the many cultural groups present on Oahu are Samoans, Hawaiians, Tongans, Chinese, Maori, Japanese, Tahitians, and Canadians. There are also Spanish, Vietnamese, Irish, Scots, Italians, Puerto Ricans and Portuguese, among others. For this reason, it is very common to find a fascinating meeting of languages and diverse customs coexisting in small areas.
Since the late 1950s, the islands have experienced exponential growth in the tourism industry. By the year 2000, Hawaii received about 7 million tourists.
As a result of the census conducted by the United States in 2003, Hawaii was found to be 10th in population growth. This is an aspect associated to a great extent with the intense migration to these islands, the low unemployment and their stable economy.
Censuses and cultures
It is estimated that the current population exceeds 1,300,000 people, with 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, it was determined that the population was distributed in 38% Asian and 24% of families composed of at least two races. In addition, there are 23% Caucasian, 10% Native and Pacific Islander, 9% Hispanic, 2% African-American, and 0.5% Indian-American. Without a doubt, a very diverse and interesting region to visit!