OAHU, "The Gathering Place," is the third largest Hawaiian island and home to Honolulu, the state capitol. Honolulu was proclaimed the state capitol by King Kamehameha III in 1850 and began operating in 1905 as the County of Oahu before being renamed the City and County of Honolulu in 1907. It is the only American city founded by a monarch or ruler and is the site of the only palace in the United States.
The city and county of Honolulu encompasses all of Oahu and is governed by an elected mayor and nine city council members each representing a specific geographic district on the island. These districts are grouped together under larger regions commonly referred to as: Honolulu, East Oahu, Windward, North Shore, Leeward and Central. Real estate in Honolulu is some of the most popular in Oahu. Waikiki real estate is also highly sought after. Within these regions are various towns, communities and neighborhoods each with their own distinctive characteristics.
According to the 2000 census Oahu had a population of 876,156, which at the time represented approximately 72 percent of the people of the state. The 2000 census also shows there was a total of 460,542 housing units in the state. The Oahu real estate market is very robust. The state's median resale value for a single family home was $265,000 and $139,000 for a condominium.
When planning a trip around the island it can be useful to know that residents and the local media have a special language for indicating direction. For example, "mauka" is toward the mountains, "makai" is toward the sea, "Ewa" is in the direction of Ewa town, "Diamond Head" is toward that famous Waikiki landmark, and "Koko Head" is toward the location of that crater. Familiar phrases are, "passing showers in the windward mauka area" or "heavy traffic on the H-1 in the Ewa direction."