Pearl Harbor

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Seen in 1986 with Ford Island in center. The Arizona memorial is the small white dot on the left side above Ford Island Ford Island aerial photo RIMPAC 1986.JPEG
Seen in 1986 with Ford Island in center. The Arizona memorial is the small white dot on the left side above Ford Island

Pearl 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 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. [1] The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan on December 7, 1941, was the immediate cause of the United States' entry into World War II. [2] [3] [4]

Lagoon A shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by barrier islands or reefs

A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by barrier islands or reefs. Lagoons are commonly divided into coastal lagoons and atoll lagoons. They have also been identified as occurring on mixed-sand and gravel coastlines. There is an overlap between bodies of water classified as coastal lagoons and bodies of water classified as estuaries. Lagoons are common coastal features around many parts of the world.

Harbor Sheltered body of water where ships may shelter

A harbor or harbour is a sheltered body of water where ships, boats, and barges can be docked. The term harbor is often used interchangeably with port, which is a man-made facility built for loading and unloading vessels and dropping off and picking up passengers. Ports usually include one or more harbors. Alexandria Port in Egypt is an example of a port with two harbors.

Oahu The third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands and site of the state capital Honolulu

Oʻahu, known as "The Gathering Place", is the third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It is home to roughly one million people—about two-thirds of the population of the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi. The state capital, Honolulu, is on Oʻahu's southeast coast. Including small associated islands such as Ford Island and the islands in Kāneʻohe Bay and off the eastern (windward) coast, its area is 596.7 square miles (1,545.4 km2), making it the 20th-largest island in the United States.

Contents

History

Pearl Harbor was originally an extensive shallow embayment called Wai Momi (meaning, “Waters of Pearl”) [5] 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. [6]

Keaunui was a High Chief of ʻEwa, Waiʻanae and Waialua in ancient Hawaii. He was a member of the Nanaulu line and is also known as Keaunui-a-Maweke.

19th century

Pearl Harbor in the 1880s. Pu`uloa in the 1880s.jpg
Pearl 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 the 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.

Hawaiian Islands An archipelago in the North Pacific Ocean, currently administered by the US state of Hawaii

The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, numerous smaller islets, and seamounts in the North Pacific Ocean, extending some 1,500 miles from the island of Hawaiʻi in the south to northernmost Kure Atoll. Formerly the group was known to Europeans and Americans as the Sandwich Islands, a name chosen by James Cook in honor of the then First Lord of the Admiralty John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. The contemporary name is derived from the name of the largest island, Hawaii Island.

American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions

The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) was among the first American Christian missionary organizations. It was created in 1810 by recent graduates of Williams College. In the 19th century it was the largest and most important of American missionary organizations and consisted of participants from Reformed traditions such as Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and German Reformed churches.

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."

Robert Crichton Wyllie Hawaiian politician

Robert Crichton Wyllie was a Scottish physician and businessman. He also served two decades as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Kingdom of Hawaii.

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 this harbor.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Alaska State of the United States of America

Alaska is a U.S. state in the northwest extremity of North America, just across the Bering Strait from Asia. The Canadian province of British Columbia and territory of Yukon border the state to the east and southeast. Its most extreme western part is Attu Island, and it has a maritime border with Russia to the west across the Bering Strait. To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas—southern parts of the Arctic Ocean. The Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest. It is the largest U.S. state by area and the seventh largest subnational division in the world. In addition, it is the 3rd least populous and the most sparsely populated of the 50 United States; nevertheless, it is by far the most populous territory located mostly north of the 60th parallel in North America: its population—estimated at 738,432 by the United States Census Bureau in 2015— is more than quadruple the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland. Approximately half of Alaska's residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska's economy is dominated by the fishing, natural gas, and oil industries, resources which it has in abundance. Military bases and tourism are also a significant part of the economy.

USS <i>Lackawanna</i> (1862)

The first USS Lackawanna was a screw sloop-of-war in the Union Navy during the American Civil War.

Astronaut photograph of Pearl Harbor from October 2009 ISS021-E-15710 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.jpg
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.[ citation needed ] 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 Kalākaua the United States was granted exclusive rights to enter Pearl Harbor and to establish "a coaling and repair station."

Lunalilo Sixth monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii

Lunalilo, born William Charles Lunalilo, was the sixth monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii from January 8, 1873 until February 3, 1874. Due to his popularity and status as Hawaii's first elected monarch, he became known as "The People's King".

Kalākaua Last reigning king of the Kingdom of Hawaii

Kalākaua, born David Laʻamea Kamananakapu Mahinulani Naloiaehuokalani Lumialani Kalākaua and sometimes called The Merrie Monarch, was the last king and penultimate monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. Succeeding Lunalilo, he was elected to the vacant throne of Hawaiʻi against Queen Emma. He reigned from February 12, 1874, until his death in San Francisco, California, on January 20, 1891. Kalākaua had a convivial personality and enjoyed entertaining guests with his singing and ukulele playing. At his coronation and his birthday jubilee, the hula that had been banned from public in the kingdom became a celebration of Hawaiian culture.

Although this treaty continued in force until August 1898, the U.S. did not fortify Pearl Harbor as a naval base. As it had for 60 years, the shallow entrance constituted a formidable barrier against the use of the deep protected waters of the inner harbor.

The 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 decision.

USS Arizona, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 The USS Arizona (BB-39) burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor - NARA 195617 - Edit.jpg
USS Arizona, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

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 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. [7] 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. [8] Shortly after the devastating Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor two American military commanders, Lt. Gen. 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. [9]

Post-World War II

Over the years, Pearl Harbor remained a main base for the US Pacific Fleet after 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 Harbor-Hickam.

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. [10]

See also

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References

  1. "Pearl Harbor: Its Origin and Administrative History Through World War II". Naval History and Heritage Command. April 23, 2015.
  2. FDR Pearl Harbor Speech. December 8, 1941. Retrieved 2011-02-05. December 7th, 1941, a day that will live in infamy.
  3. 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.
  4. "Pearl Harbor" (pdf). Photographs. National Park Service . Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  5. "Places - The History of Pearl Harbor". National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  6. "Cold Spots - Pearl Harbor - Dread Central". Dread Central.
  7. Burtness, Paul; Warren, Ober (2013). "Communication Lapses Leading to the Pearl Harbor Disaster". 75 (4): 20.
  8. Smith, Dale (1997). "Pearl Harbor: A lesson in air power". Air Power History. 44 (1): 46–53.
  9. "Remember Pearl Harbor". Christian Science Monitor: 2. January 6, 1996.
  10. Ito, Shingo (5 December 2016). "We did our jobs: Japanese participant remembers Pearl Harbor". www.atimes.com. Retrieved 7 December 2016.

Coordinates: 21°22′04″N157°58′38″W / 21.3679°N 157.9771°W / 21.3679; -157.9771