Honolulu, on the island of Oahu’s south shore, is capital of Hawaii and gateway to the island chain. Honolulu means "sheltered harbor" and the heart of the city - the business and financial district, the capitol district, and the Chinatown district - surrounds Honolulu harbor. The old name is said to be Kou, a district roughly encompassing the area from Nuuanu Avenue to Alakea Street and from Hotel Street to Queen Street which is the heart of the present downtown district. The city has been the capital of the Hawaiian Islands since 1845.
Today, Honolulu proper extends from the end of Hawaii Kai in the East all the way along the southern shore of Oahu until Aiea in the West. However, the urban corridor continues past Aiea through Pearl City, Waipahu and Ewa until Kapolei on the western end of the southern shore, creating one continuous city that incorporates the majority of the state's population.