Land-locked harbor on the southern coast of Oahu island, Hawaii. One of the largest and best natural harbors in the eastern Pacific Ocean. On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese carrier-based planes swept in over Oahu and attacked the bulk of the U.S. Pacific fleet, moored in Pearl Harbor. Nineteen naval vessels, including eight battleships, were sunk or severely damaged. On Dec. 8, the United States declared war on Japan. Pearl Harbor is now a U.S. national historic landmark; a memorial has been built over the sunken hulk of the USS Arizona. The battleship Missouri, site of Japan’s surrender, is also preserved there as a memorial. (The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2001-05 Columbia University Press)
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