Coordinates: 21°22′04″N 157°58′38″W / 21.3679°N
157.9771°W / 21.3679; -157.9771
Harbor is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of
Honolulu. It has been long visited by the Naval fleet of the United
States, before it was acquired from the
Hawaiian Kingdom by the U.S.
with the signing of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875. Much of the harbor
and surrounding lands is now a
United States Navy
United States Navy deep-water naval
base. It is also the headquarters of the
United States Pacific Fleet.
The U.S. government first obtained exclusive use of the inlet and the
right to maintain a repair and coaling station for ships here in
1887. The attack on Pearl
Harbor by the
Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan on December
7, 1941, was the immediate cause of the United States' entry into
World War II.
1.1 19th century
1.2 Naval presence (1899–present)
1.2.1 Post-World War II
2 See also
4 External links
See also: History of Hawaii
Harbor was originally an extensive shallow embayment called Wai
Momi (meaning, “Waters of Pearl”) or Puʻuloa (meaning, “long
hill”) by the Hawaiians. Puʻuloa was regarded as the home of the
shark goddess, Kaʻahupahau, and her brother (or son), Kahiʻuka, in
Hawaiian legends. According to tradition, Keaunui, the head of the
powerful Ewa chiefs, is credited with cutting a navigable channel near
the present Puʻuloa saltworks, by which he made the estuary, known as
"Pearl River," accessible to navigation. Making due allowance for
legendary amplification, the estuary already had an outlet for its
waters where the present gap is; but
Keaunui is typically given the
credit for widening and deepening it.
See also: Kingdom of Hawaii
Harbor in the 1880s.
During the early 19th century, Pearl
Harbor was not used for large
ships due to its shallow entrance. The interest of
United States in
Hawaiian Islands grew as a result of its whaling, shipping and
trading activity in the Pacific. As early as 1820, an "Agent of the
United States for Commerce and Seamen" was appointed to look after
American business in the Port of Honolulu. These commercial ties to
the American continent were accompanied by the work of the American
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. American missionaries and
their families became an integral part of the Hawaiian political body.
Throughout the 1820s and 1830s, many American warships visited
Honolulu. In most cases, the commanding officers carried letters from
the U.S. Government giving advice on governmental affairs and of the
relations of the island nation with foreign powers. In 1841, the
newspaper Polynesian, printed in Honolulu, advocated that the U.S.
establish a naval base in
Hawaii for protection of American citizens
engaged in the whaling industry. The British Hawaiian Minister of
Foreign Affairs Robert Crichton Wyllie, remarked in 1840 that
"... my opinion is that the tide of events rushes on to
annexation to the United States."
From the conclusion of the Civil War, to the purchase of Alaska, to
the increased importance of the Pacific states, the projected trade
with countries in Asia and the desire for a duty-free market for
Hawaiian staples, Hawaiian trade expanded. In 1865, the North Pacific
Squadron was formed to embrace the western coast and Hawaii.
Lackawanna in the following year was assigned to cruise among the
islands, "a locality of great and increasing interest and importance."
This vessel surveyed the Northwestern
Hawaiian Islands toward Japan.
As a result, the
United States claimed Midway Island. The Secretary of
the Navy was able to write in his annual report of 1868, that in
November 1867, 42 American flags flew over whaleships and merchant
vessels in Honolulu to only six of other nations. This increased
activity caused the permanent assignment of at least one warship to
Hawaiian waters. It also praised Midway Island as possessing a harbor
surpassing Honolulu's. In the following year, Congress approved an
appropriation of $50,000 on March 1, 1869, to deepen the approaches to
Astronaut photograph of Pearl
Harbor from October 2009
After 1868, when the Commander of the Pacific Fleet visited the
islands to look after American interests, naval officers played an
important role in internal affairs. They served as arbitrators in
business disputes, negotiators of trade agreements and defenders of
law and order. Periodic voyages among the islands and to the mainland
aboard U.S. warships were arranged for members of the Hawaiian royal
family and important island government officials. When King Lunalilo
died in 1873, negotiations were underway for the cession of Pearl
Harbor as a port for the duty-free export of sugar to the
U.S. With the election of King
Kalākaua in March
1874, riots prompted landing of sailors from USS Tuscarora and
Portsmouth. The British warship, HMS Tenedos, also landed a token
force. During the reign of King
United States was
granted exclusive rights to enter Pearl
Harbor and to establish "a
coaling and repair station."
Although this treaty continued in force until August 1898, the U.S.
did not fortify Pearl
Harbor as a naval base. The shallow entrance
constituted a formidable barrier against the use of the deep protected
waters of the inner harbor as it had for 60 years.
United States and the
Hawaiian Kingdom signed the Reciprocity
Treaty of 1875 as supplemented by Convention on December 6, 1884, the
Reciprocity Treaty was made by James Carter and ratified it in 1887.
On January 20, 1887, the
United States Senate allowed the Navy to
exclusive right to maintain a coaling and repair station at Pearl
Harbor. (The US took possession on November 9 that year). The
Spanish–American War of 1898 and the desire for the
United States to
have a permanent presence in the Pacific both contributed to the
Naval presence (1899–present)
Main article: Naval Station Pearl Harbor
USS Arizona, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December
Following the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the United States
Navy established a base on the island in 1899. On December 7, 1941,
the base was attacked by the
Imperial Japanese Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy airplanes and
midget submarines, causing the American entry into World War II. One
of the main reasons that Pearl
Harbor happened was because the United
States had major communication breakdowns among several branches of
the U.S. armed services and departments of the U.S. government. This
led to the surprise Japanese attack at the Hawaiian air base. There
was no meaningful plan for the air defense of Hawaii, for American
commanders had no understanding of the capabilities and proper
employment of air power. As it was, had the Pacific Fleet acted on the
war warnings it undoubtedly would have sortied and been at sea on
December 7, where the major ships would have been sunk in deep water,
making salvage impossible. Shortly after the devastating Japanese
surprise attack at Pearl
Harbor two American military commanders, Lt.
Walter Short and Adm. Husband Kimmel were demoted of their full
ranks. The two American commanders later sought to restore their
reputations and full ranks.
Post-World War II
Over the years, Pearl
Harbor remained a main base for the US Pacific
World War II
World War II along with Naval Base San Diego. In 2010, the
Navy and the Air Force merged their two nearby bases; Pearl Harbor
joined with Hickam Air Force Base to create Joint Base Pearl
On February 18, 2016, a tourist helicopter fell into Pearl Harbor,
injuring four people; one person was missing.
In December 2016, Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe made a joint
visit to Pearl
Harbor with US President Barack Obama. This trip marked
the 75 year anniversary of the attack, and was the first official
visit by a sitting Japanese leader.
Admiral Clarey Bridge
Harbor National Wildlife Refuge
^ http://www.history.navy.mil: The U.S. Navy in Hawaii, 1826-1945: An
^ FDR Pearl
Harbor Speech. December 8, 1941. Retrieved 2011-02-05.
December 7th, 1941, a day that will live in infamy.
^ Apple, Russell A.; Benjamin Levy (February 8, 1974). "Pearl Harbor"
(pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and
Inventory. National Park Service. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
^ "Pearl Harbor" (pdf). Photographs. National Park Service. Retrieved
25 May 2012.
^ "Places - The History of Pearl Harbor". National Park Service, U.S.
Department of the Interior. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
^ "Cold Spots - Pearl
Harbor - Dread Central". Dread Central.
^ Burtness, Paul; Warren, Ober (2013). "Communication Lapses Leading
to the Pearl
Harbor Disaster". 75 (4): 20.
^ Smith, Dale (1997). "Pearl Harbor: A lesson in air power". Air Power
History. 44 (1): 46–53.
^ "Remember Pearl Harbor". Christian Science Monitor: 2. January 6,
^ Molly Roecker. "Honolulu Tourist Helicopter Crashes in Pearl
Harbor". NBC News.
^ Steve Almasy, CNN (19 February 2016). "Pearl
crash: 1 critically injured". CNN.
^ Ito, Shingo (5 December 2016). "We did our jobs: Japanese
participant remembers Pearl Harbor". www.atimes.com. Retrieved 7
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Wikisource has the text of the 1921
Collier's Encyclopedia article
British Pathé Online archive of Pearl
Harbor and related footage
Harbor at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
Harbor on The History Channel
BNF: cb126501610 (d