Honolulu is the capital and most populous city in the state of Hawaii, which is in the Pacific Ocean. Honolulu is Hawaii's main gateway to the world. It is also a major hub for business, finance, hospitality, and military defense in both the state and Oceania. The city is characterized by a mix of various Asian, Western, and Pacific cultures, reflected in its diverse demography, cuisine, and traditions.
Honolulu means "sheltered harbor" or "calm port" in Hawaiian. The city's desirability as a port accounts for its historical growth and importance in the Hawaiian archipelago and the broader Pacific region. Honolulu has been the capital of the Hawaiian Islands since 1845, first of the independent Hawaiian Kingdom, and after 1898 of the U.S. territory and state of Hawaii. Hawaii became the Aloha State in 1959 when it was formally admitted to the Union as the 50th state. The city gained worldwide recognition following Japan's attack on nearby Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, which prompted the entry of the U.S. into World War II; the harbor remains a major naval base, hosting the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the world's largest naval command.
Honolulu's favorable tropical climate, rich natural scenery, and extensive beaches make it a popular global destination for tourists. As of May 2021, the city receives the bulk of visitors to Hawaii, between 7,000 and 11,000 daily.