Honolulu, the capital of the Hawaii or Sandwich Islands, is situated on the southern coast of the island of Oahu. The convenience of the harbour - a lagoon about a mile in length, enclosed by a coral reef, which lies on one side an opening about 300 feet wide - caused it to be visited in the first instance by whalers, and subsequently by ocean steamers and traders, who here have the opportunity of obtaining water and stores. It has now become a commercial centre of some importance, the trade being mainly carried on by foreigners, especially Americans. The town is situated above the harbour, on a plain formed of coral, at the opening of a valley which descends from the mountains in the interior. It contains some handsome public buildings and many private houses in the European style, interspersed with gardens and orchards. The climate is dry, but very pleasant.