Pearl Harbor is a US Navy deep water naval base, headquarters of the Pacific Fleet on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, near Honolulu.
The island was originally called "Wai Momi," meaning "Water of Pearl", or "Pu'uloa", by the native Hawaiians. Pearl Harbor was supposedly the home of the shark goddess Ka'ahupahau and her brother Kahi'uka.
The harbour was teeming with pearl-producing oysters until the late 1800's. In the early days following the arrival of Captain James Cook, Pearl Harbor was not considered a suitable port due to a coral bar obstructing the harbour entrance.
The United States of America and the Hawaiian Kingdom signed the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875 as Supplemented by Convention on December 6, 1884 and ratified in 1887. On January 20, 1887, the United States Senate allowed the Navy to lease Pearl Harbor as a naval base. As a result, US obtained exclusive rights to allow Hawaiian sugar to enter the United States duty free. The Spanish-American War of 1898 and the need for the United States to have a permanent presence in the Pacific both contributed to the decision to annex Hawaii.
After annexation, Pearl Harbor was refitted to allow for more navy ships. Schofield Barracks, constructed in 1909 to house artillery, cavalry and infantry units, became the largest Army post of its day.
In 1917 Ford Island in the middle of Pearl Harbor was purchased for joint Army and Navy use in the development of military aviation. As Japanese presence increased in the Pacific, the Union increased the ships presence there.
With Japanese aggression rising towards the US in 1940, the US began training ops at the island. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan on 7 December 1941 brought the United States into World War II.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pearl Harbor".