Hawaii

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Hawaii (or Hawai`i) is a state of the United States, consisting of an archipelago of islands in the northern Pacific Ocean.

Hawai`i is the only island state and is the southernmost state in the U.S. It was also the last state (the 50th) to join the Union; it became a state on August 21, 1959. Honolulu is the state capital.

The state motto is ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono ("the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness").

Hawai`i has two official languages, English and Hawaiian. The state flower is the yellow hibiscus [hibiscus brackenridgei] (pua ma‘o hau hele) and the state bird is the nene (Hawaiian goose). The state fish is the humuhumunukunukuapua`a.

The population of Hawaii is approximately 1.2 million, while the de facto population is over 1.3 million due to military presence and tourists. O`ahu is the most populous island, with a population of just under one million. The largest city is the capital, Honolulu, located on O`ahu.

Tourism is the state's largest industry.

Geography

Hawaii consists of 137 islands comprising a total of 16,636 km2 (6,423.4 square miles). The main Hawaiian islands are;

Hawaii
/Kahoolawe
/Kauai
/Lanai
Maui
/Molokai
/Niihau
/Oahu

Hawaii is a chain of volcanic islands. Recent volcanic activity has been limited to the Big Island.

The islands receive most rainfall on their north and east coasts. These are the windward coasts, as they are exposed to the northeasterly tradewinds. The the south and west, or leeward, coasts, tend to be much drier. Because of this, most tourist areas have been built on the leeward coasts.

The chain of islands were formed as the Pacific plate move northwest over a hot spot in the magma. Hence the islands on the northwest side are older. Hawai`i (the Big Island) is the largest and youngest island in the chain. Ni`ihau is privately owned. Kaho`olawe was formerly a military bombing site, and is uninhabited.

Mauna Kea is considered by some the highest mountain in the world, since its base is 3,280 fathoms low and top is 13,796 feet high (33,476 feet total).

History

The islands were first settled by Polynesians between 200-600AD, and remained relatively isolated and unknown until Capt. James Cook landed in 1778.

Hawaii was united under a single ruler, Kamehameha I, for the first time in 1795. The Hawaiian monarchy that was so founded lasted until 1893, when the monarchy was overthrown and the island was conquered by the United States.

A large proportion of Hawaii's population is of Asian (and especially Japanese) descent, that came to the island in the nineteenth century to work sugar plantations.


Miscellanea

Hawaii, being part of the United States, is included in the North American Numbering Plan. Its area code within that plan is 808.

Hawai`i Standard Time is -1000 UTC. Hawai`i does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

See also: Hawaiian alphabet


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