Oahu (or Oʻahu) is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands, in the United States. It means "the gathering place" (a place where people meet) in the Hawaiian language. Most of the people of Hawaii live there (1.2 million of the state's 1.7 million in the mid-1990s). The total land area is 608 square miles (1,570 km2). Honolulu, the capital city of Hawaii, is on this island. Other well-known places on Oahu are Waikiki, Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Kaneohe Bay, and both the North Shore and Makaha (which are famous for very big ocean waves).
Oahu was perhaps the first of the Hawaiian Islands which the crew of HMS Resolution saw on 18 January 1778. This was during Captain James Cook's third Pacific Ocean trip. Europeans did not land on Oahu until 28 February 1779 when Captain Clerke of the HMS Resolution stepped ashore at Waimea Bay. Clerke took command of the ship after Captain Cook was killed at Kealakekua Bay on February 14.
Today, Oahu has become a tourism and shopping center. Almost 7 million visitors (mainly from the American mainland and Japan) go there every year to enjoy the special island holiday found only in Hawaii.