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After gaining control of the Hawaiian Islands to the east, island of Hawaii chief Kamehameha invaded Oahu in 1795 with an army of thousands. The fight culminated at the Nuuanu Pali, a cliff with a 1,000-foot drop where 800 warriors were driven to their deaths by Kamehameha’s advancing army. The Battle of Nuuanu was a pivotal turning point in the unification of the Hawaiian Islands, and Oahu played a central role in the unified kingdom for the next century.
"Nuuanu Pali State Wayside: The lookout atop these steep cliffs offers panoramic views of the Koolau mountain range and the east side of the island. This was the site of the Battle of Nuuanu, where Kamehameha the Great defeated Oahu forces and brought the island under his rule."More
Hawaii was also an early adopter of technology. At King Kalakaua’s request, a renovation of Iolani Palace was completed in 1882 with the most up-to-date innovations. The official residence of the Hawaiian monarchs and seat of the government until the kingdom was overthrown in 1893, the Palace was ahead of its time, with Hawaii’s first electric lights, indoor plumbing and even a telephone – well before the White House or Buckingham Palace installed those amenities.
"Iolani Palace: Built by King Kalakaua, Iolani Palace was home to Hawaii’s last reigning monarchs and is registered as a National Historic Landmark. The public is welcome to visit on guided tours."More
At the center of the Pacific, Hawaii’s strategic location placed it in the middle of World War II. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Oahu, killing 2,403 and wounding 1,178. The attack would precipitate the United States’ entry into the war. Four years later, in 1945, Japan signed its unconditional surrender on the USS Battleship Missouri. Although the signing didn’t take place in Pearl Harbor, the ship is now part of a museum and memorial complex at Pearl Harbor, offering activities and tours to visitors from all over the world.
"Pearl Harbor: On Dec. 7, 1941, Oahu was struck by a surprise Japanese military attack that pulled America into World War II. Most of the destruction was centered at Pearl Harbor. Today, visitors can learn about that pivotal point in world history at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, which includes the USS Arizona Memorial."More
Significant Oahu Heritage Sites
Founded in 1889, the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum is the premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific region, housing more than 24 million cultural and natural treasures from Hawaii and Polynesia.
Hanaiakamalama – Queen Emma Summer Palace
The summer retreat of Queen Emma, wife of King Kamehameha IV, Hanaiakamalama houses a collection of the Queen’s personal belongings and furnishings.
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
The history of the United States military in Hawaii reaches back to the late 1800s. Also called “Punchbowl” for its location inside a crater, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific was established in 1949 as a final resting place for those who served in the armed forces.
This historic home named for President George Washington was the center of critical events that changed the course of Hawaii – it was the home and prison of Queen Liliuokalani, and later served as the residence of Hawaii’s governors
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