See also: Pearl Harbor (homonymy)
Pearl Harbor is a naval Base the United States of America, and the general headquarter of the fleet of the Pacific on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, close to Honolulu. The port and the base are established around a not very deep Rade with the center of which the island of Ford is. The entry of these roads is done by a very narrow channel.
History of Pearl Harbor
In the beginning, it was about a not very deep bay called Wai Momi by Hawaiiens, which means “water with pearl”. They called it also Pu' uloa. Pearl Harbor was then regarded as the residence of the goddess shark Ka' ahupahau, and of her brother Kahi' uka. In English, Pearl Harbor means the “port of the pearls”.
The port was mainly used for the production of pearl-bearing oysters until the end of the 19th century. In the years which followed the arrival of the captain James Cook (1778), Europeans considered that the roads could not accommodate a port because the low depth of water. The the United States of America and the Royaume of Hawaii signed a treaty of reciprocity in 1875, supplemented by the convention of the December 6th 1884 and ratified in 1887. The January 20th the 1887 Senate of the United States authorized the navy to rent Pearl Harbor as bases naval. In exchange Hawaïens obtained the exclusive right be able to export in the United States of sugar without customs duty. The War Spanish-American of 1898 and the need for the United States to have a permanent presence in the Pacifique led to the annexation of Hawaii.
The shipyards of Pearl Harbor were inaugurated in 1908 and the island of Ford was bought by the army to develop the military aviation in the Pacific. In the context of the Japanese Expansionism, the general Harry Yarnell anticipated an invasion of Hawaii. During a military exercise on February 7th, 1932, this last had highlighted the vulnerability of Oahu in the event of air attack by the North-West. Simulation had shown that enemy planes could inflict serious damage and that the enemy fleet, remained with the variation of the coasts, would be undetectable during 24 hours.
The day before the Japanese attack of December 7th, 1941, the fleet of American war of the Pacific, stationed in Pearl Harbor, included/understood 86 units then: 28 destroyers, 9 cruisers, 8 battleships, 5 submarines, a battleship-target (the US Utah) and about thirty auxiliary buildings. One counted finally 25 000 men on the basis and approximately 300 planes in the island. The general Walter Short was the commander of the terrestrial forces, while the fleet of the Pacific was under the orders of the admiral Husband Kimmel. The defense of the installations and the repair shops was ensured by 35 B-17, littoral DCA and defenses.
The Japanese attack of December 7th, 1941
See also: Attack on Pearl Harbor
Source and notes
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