What Is the Capital of Hawaii?

The state flag of Hawaii.

Honolulu is the state capital of Hawaii, and is also the county seat of the County of Honolulu. Honolulu is classified as a modern city by international standards, with its skyline featuring many skyscrapers, including the tallest building in the state, which is the 429-foot tall First Hawaiian Center. Honolulu is also the financial and economic hub of the state, and includes the headquarters of many large Hawaiian companies.


According to archeologists, human settlement on the site of Honolulu can be traced back to the 11th century, when ancient Polynesians migrated from neighboring islands. In the late 18th century, King Kamehameha I managed to unify the Hawaii islands after the victory in the Battle of Nu’uanu, and in 1804 he established his seat of government in Waikiki, and later in Honolulu in 1809. The royal court was later moved from Honolulu to Kailua-Kona in 1812. Kamehameha III established Honolulu as his kingdom’s capital in 1845, after moving the royal court from Lahaina. It was during the reign of Kamehameha III and that of his successors that the city was modernized. The city went through several devastating incidents in the 20th century, including The Great Honolulu Chinatown Fire of 1900, which destroyed 38 acres of the city, as well as the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which caused the United States to officially enter World War II.


The entire city of Honolulu covers an area of 68.4 square miles, 60.5 square miles of which is land, and 7.9 square miles of water. Honolulu is the westernmost major city in the United States, as it is located at 157 degrees west longitude. The city lies on the island’s coastline and borders the Pacific Ocean. The nearest mainland location to Honolulu is located 2,045 nautical miles away, making the city the most remote major city in the world.

Administrative Regions

Downtown Honolulu is home to the seat of government of Hawaii and is the commercial and economic center of the city. Waikiki is the tourist hub of Honolulu and is located between the Pacific Ocean and the Ala Wai Canal. Waikiki is home to many major hotels in the city and hosts millions of tourists each year. The Kahala and Waialae districts are home to Honolulu’s upper-class residents, which is reflected in the districts' highly priced homes. Other administrative regions include Ala Moana, Maona, Makiki, Palolo, Kaimuki, Moanalua, and Salt Lake.


Honolulu’s total population is estimated to be over 351,000, making it the most populous city in Hawaii. About 50.7% of the population is female, while 49.3% of the city’s population is male. Data from the 2010 US Census established that Honolulu’s urban area has the fourth highest population density in the country, with a population density of 5,791 persons per square mile. Honolulu is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United States. People of Asian descent constitute 54.8% of Honolulu’s population, while the Caucasians constitutes 17.9%. Only 8.4% of Honolulu residents identify as Native Hawaiian.


Honolulu is home to all main airports in the state of Hawaii, including Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, the largest airport in the island and the principal gateway of Hawaii. All international flights to and from Hawaii pass through the airport. The airport has six runways, four of which are asphalt surfaced, whereas the other two are water runways. Transport within the city is facilitated by a network of roads, which also connect to other parts of Hawaii.


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