|Nickname||The Aloha State||List|
|Population||1.4 million (rank: 40)||List|
|Population density||222 per mile2(rank: 14)||List|
|Life expectancy||81.3 (rank: 1)||List|
|Median age||37.7 years (rank: 20)||List|
|Area||10,931 mile2 (rank: 43)||List|
|Median household income||$64,514 (rank: 11)||List|
|Statehood||August 21, 1959 (50th state)||List|
|Mean elevation||3,030 ft. (924 m)||List|
|Highest point||Mauna Kea 13,796 ft (4205 m)||List|
|Governor||David Ige (D)||List|
The state of Hawaii is the southernmost state in the United States. The state is composed of 132 islands and islets out of which only eight islands are inhabited. They located near the center of the northern Pacific Ocean. The largest of these islands is called Hawaii. As the state's name is also Hawaii, many call the Hawaii island as 'The Big Island'. Honolulu on Oahu island is the capital and largest city of the Hawaii state
The Hawaiian Islands were originally settled by Polynesian immigrants more than 1,000 years ago but probably remained unknown beyond Polynesia until Captain James Cook landed at Waimea, Kauai Island, on Jan. 20, 1778. He named the islands 'Sandwich Islands' in honor of John Montagu, the fourth earl of Sandwich. In 1796 King Kamehameha I united the islands into a single independent kingdom. In 1893, a group of American and European businessmen deposed Queen Liliuokalani and wanted the United States to annex Hawaii. But President Grover Cleveland refused as the 'coup' was illegal. The group founded the Republic of Hawaii in 1894 with Sanford B. Dole as the first and only president of the republic. Cleveland's successor, William McKinley made Hawaii a U.S. possession in 1898, and a U.S. territory in 1900. Pearl Harbor in Hawaii was attacked on December 7, 1941 by Japan dragging the United States’ into World War II. USA retaliated by dropping two atomic bombs on Japan, bringing a quick end to the World War II. Hawaii was officially nicknamed 'The Aloha State' as it joined the Union as the 50th state on August 21, 1959
The state of Hawaii is made up of an island chain that extends for about 2,600 km (about 1,600 mi) between the island of Hawaii in the southeast and Kure Island in the northwest. Nearly all of the state’s total area is accounted for by eight main islands, which are from east to west Hawaii, Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, and Niihau.
Introduction to Hawaii - Video
The Hawaiian Islands and the many seamounts to the northwest represent the exposed peaks and submerged mountains of a great chain of extinct, dormant, or active volcanoes. These active volcanoes include one on the island of Maui, three on the island of Hawaii, and a submarine volcano, Loihi, about 35 km (about 20 mi) southeast of the island of Hawaii. The volcanoes of the Hawaiian Islands are all so-called shield volcanoes, or lava domes. Formed mostly by lava flows, they are great rounded mountain masses, rather than steep-sided cones. Mauna Kea, dormant for centuries, is the highest mountain in the state. It rises to 4,205 m (13,796 ft) above sea level, and its summit is dotted with cinder cones formed by fire fountains ejecting millions of small pieces of volcanic cinder and ash. The state’s two main active volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kilauea, are both on the island of Hawaii. Mauna Loa has a summit 4,170 m (13,680 ft) above sea level. Its chief crater, Mokuaweoweo, erupted several times during the 20th century, but the lava that sometimes cascades down its slopes issues from openings on the flanks of the mountain. Kilauea lies on the southeastern slope of Mauna Loa. Halemaumau, a crater in the summit caldera of Kilauea, erupts occasionally and fire fountains near the summit or along the rift zones sometimes eject volcanic particles far into the air. Lava occurs on all the main islands in either of two basic forms, pahoehoe and aa. Pahoehoe is a smooth, ropelike form of lava with small holes formed by gas escaping as it cooled. Aa is a rougher and more pitted kind of lava, formed when the flow of escaping gas is less regular and of greater intensity. Among the lava features associated with volcanic eruptions are Pele’s hair and Pele’s tears, which are named for the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes. Pele’s hair is formed when small particles of molten material are thrown into the air and spun out by the wind into long hair-like strands. Pele’s tears are formed when the particles fuse into tearlike drops of volcanic glass.
Hawaii (Big Island)
Hawaii, often called the Big Island, is almost twice as large as the rest of the islands combined. Roughly triangular in shape, it extends 150 km (93 mi) from north to south and 122 km (76 mi) from east to west. The island is a huge mountainous mass dominated by two great volcanic peaks, Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. In addition to its great bare lava beds and barren ash-covered slopes, which cover much of the island, Hawaii has large areas of tropical rain forests, numerous waterfalls, and great stretches of rolling grasslands.
Maui, the second largest island, is sometimes called the Valley Isle because it consists of two mountain masses separated by a low, narrow valley-like isthmus. Haleakala, a huge dormant volcano 3,055 m (10,023 ft) high, forms the largest of these mountain masses. Its summit depression is huge, with a circumference of 34 km (21 mi). The lowland isthmus forms a fertile agricultural area.
Molokai is called the Friendly Island because of the hospitality its inhabitants extend to visitors. Its eastern half is a mountainous area that rises to 1,512 m (4,961 ft) at Mount Kamakou. Along the northeastern coast steep cliffs tower as high as 1,100 m (3,600 ft) above the sea. The western half consists of a smaller volcano that rises to 503 m (1,381 ft). Much of this mountain is a generally low plateau, which was formerly used for pineapple growing, and now for cattle ranching and some tourism. On the northern side lies Kalaupapa, a settlement for people with leprosy, or Hansen’s disease. There, Father Damien, a Belgian Roman Catholic priest, labored among the lepers until he died of the disease in 1889.
Lanai was known as the Pineapple Island for the many years it was a prosperous pineapple plantation. Its years of private ownership by the Dole Food Company and reputation today as a place where visitors can find seclusion has bestowed upon it a new nickname as the Private Island. It is a generally hilly island that rises gradually to 1,027 m (3,369 ft) above sea level at Lanaihale, or Mount Palawai. Cut off in part from the northeast trade winds by Maui and Molokai, the island of Lanai receives very little rainfall except in the summit region surrounding Lanaihale. For a time the land was used mainly for cattle raising. In 1922 98 percent of the island was purchased by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now the Dole Company) In 2012, billionaire software magnate Larry Ellison purchased 97 percent of the island. The rest of the island is owned by the state of Hawaii.
Oahu, called the Gathering Place, is the home of 870,000 people, or about three-quarters of the state’s total population, and the site of Honolulu, the state capital. The island is made up of two parallel mountain ranges, which are separated by a low rolling plateau and fringed by narrow coastal plains. The ranges, which run from northwest to southeast, are the Waianae Range on the west and the Koolau Range on the east. Mount Kaala, the highest point on Oahu, rises to 1,227 m (4,025 ft) in the Waianae Range. The Koolau Range reaches a maximum height of 946 m (3,105 ft). On the windward, or northeast, side this range forms a series of spectacular cliffs. Honolulu, by far the largest city in Hawaii, lies on a narrow leeward coastal plain at the foot of the Koolau Range. Nearby are three famous landmarks, Punchbowl, Diamond Head, and Koko Head, all of them the remnant deposits of extinct volcanic vents. At its southern end the plateau merges with a broad coastal plain that encloses Pearl Harbor, Hawaii’s finest harbor.
Kauai, the wettest and greenest of the islands, is often called the Garden Isle. Perhaps the most scenic island of Hawaii, it is an area of luxuriant vegetation, multihued canyons, and numerous streams and waterfalls. The mountain’s highest peak, Kawaikini, rises to 1,598 m (5,243 ft). The windward summit region of the extinct Kauai volcano is one of the wettest areas on earth. Through the centuries the erosive action of torrential streams has produced steep canyons, such as Waimea Canyon. The island’s most popular scenic attraction, this great canyon is 16 km (10 mi) in length and has multicolored walls more than 800 m (2,600 ft) high. On the northwest coast the land drops in a series of huge craggy cliffs called Na Pali. Along other parts of the coast, sugarcane and cattle are raised on narrow lowlands. Kauai has served as the backdrop for a number of movies, including King Kong (1976), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), and Jurassic Park (1993).
Niihau is the private property of the Robinson family, the descendants of Mrs. Elizabeth Sinclair and family, who purchased the island from the Hawaiian government in 1864. Elizabeth Sinclair, a Scottish-born plantation owner from New Zealand, bought most of the island from King Kamehameha V in 1864 for $10,000. She had been returning to New Zealand from British Columbia, but Kamehameha persuaded her to remain in Hawaii. The Robinson family, descendants of Sinclair's, still owns the island. The family runs a cattle ranch that almost covers the island. Only invited guests of the residents or of the owners are welcome there, and Niihau is frequently called the Aloof Island or Forbidden Island. Some 230 native Hawaiians live and work on Niihau. They speak the old Hawaiian language and follow some of the customs and traditions of their ancestors.
Kahoolowe, the smallest of the main islands, is rocky and sparsely vegetated, especially in the upper region of the island. It has a maximum elevation of only 450 m (1,477 ft). Kahoolawe was used by the U.S. Navy as a target site from 1941 until 1994, when it was ceded to Hawaii.
The state of Hawaii has numerous perennial streams and rivers, the largest of which is the Wailuku River on Hawaii island. Other major Hawaiian rivers include the Wailua (Hawaiian: “Two Waters”) and Waimea rivers, on Kauai, the Wailuku River, on Hawaii, and Kaukonahua Stream, on Oahu. Koloa Reservoir, a body of water that covers 171 hectares (422 acres) on Kauai, is the largest inland lake.
List of major rivers and streams of the state of Hawaii:
List of major rivers and streams of the state of Hawaii:
Wailuku River – 28.0 miles (45.1 km)
South Fork Kaukonahua Stream - 18.1 miles (29.1 km)
North Fork Kaukonahua Stream - 16.3 miles (26.2 km)
Hanalei River – 15.7 miles (25.3 km)
Kolekole Stream – 12.4 miles (20.0 km)
North Fork Wailua River - 12.2 miles (19.6 km)
Waimea River – 12.1 miles (19.5 km)
Kaukonahua Stream – 9.9 miles (15.9 km)
Anahulu River – 7.1 miles (11.4 km)
Average temperatures of the state of Hawaii range between 22° and 26° C (72° and 79° F) throughout the year at low elevations. The highest recorded temperature in Hawaii, 100 °F (38 °C), was recorded at Pahala on April 27, 1931. The lowest recorded temperature was 12 °F (–11 °C), at Mauna Kea on May 17, 1979. Traditional Hawaiian seasons may are classified into two seasons: Kau, or the summer period (May through October) and ho‘oilo, or the winter season (November to April) Rainfall varies from over 400 inches (1,020 centimeters) a year on the mountaintops to less than 10 inches (25 centimeters) in the lowlands. Mount Waialeale, on the island of Kauai, is the wettest spot in the United States, with an annual average rainfall of about 450 inches (11,430 mm). The driest area of the state is at Kawaihae, on the island of Hawaii, where the average annual rainfall is only about 9 inches (220 mm).
The traditional dance of the islands is the hula, a Hawaiian word meaning dance. Originally it was both a religious exercise in honor of the goddess Laka and a form of entertainment. In the traditional hula, prayers, poems, and stories were interpreted by highly stylized gestures of the dancers’ arms and hands. The sacred dances of old Hawaii (kahiko) almost disappeared but have become popular once again. They bear little resemblance to the modern forms of the hula (awana). The popular song Aloha Oe, which is usually translated as “Farewell to Thee,” was composed in 1878 by Queen Liliuokalani. Hawaiian music features the ukulele and the Hawaiian steel guitar. The ukulele was developed from a small guitar brought to the islands by Portuguese laborers in the late 1800's. The word ukulele means leaping flea. The Hawaiian steel guitar was invented by Joseph Kekuku, a Hawaiian musician, about 1895.
Popular Hawaiian feast called the luau is a traditional celebration of birthdays or graduation parties. Hukilau is a community fishing festival on the shore where participant help draw in the huge fishing net and share in the catch.
Hawaii National parks
The largest of the five national parks in Hawaii is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It covers 130,888 hectares (323,431 acres) on the island of Hawaii. It contains the active volcanoes of Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Haleakala National Park, on the island of Maui, includes Haleakala, a volcano that last erupted around 1790 and has a huge summit depression, sometimes incorrectly referred to as a volcanic crater. Geologists refer to this massive basin as an eroded coalescence of two valley systems. Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park on the island of Hawaii is the site of an ancient Hawaiian sacred place of refuge for islanders who broke taboos and for defeated warriors in time of war. Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, also on Hawaii, preserves native culture at the site of a Hawaiian settlement important before the arrival of Europeans. The famous leper colony on Molokai is the site of the Kalaupapa National Historical Park. The Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, on Hawaii Island, contains the ruins of the “temple on the hill of the whale” (a translation of the park’s name), built by King Kamehameha I. The USS Arizona Memorial on Oahu straddles the remains of the battleship sunk during the December 7, 1941, attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor and which became a symbol of United States resolve during the ensuing war. In June 2006 President George W. Bush established the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. The new marine conservation area is about 160 km (about 100 mi) wide, 1,930 km (1,200 mi) long, and covers nearly 362,600 sq km (140,000 sq mi) of tropical ocean with coral reefs and uninhabited islands. Home to thousands of species of animals, including the endangered monk seal, the national monument is the largest such marine conservation area in the world and will be open by permit to scientific research. Some tourism may be allowed on the Midway Islands, which lie at the western end of the archipelago.
Diamond Head, Hawaii’s most famous landmark, rises on Oahu to the east of Honolulu. Another well-known landmark, Punchbowl, also overlooks Honolulu. The crater of Punchbowl contains the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. A scenic road winds from Honolulu and through the Nuuanu Valley to Nuuanu Pali, a 370 m (1,200 ft) high cliff and mountain pass with a view of the windward side of Oahu. Among the numerous places of interest in Honolulu are Waikiki Aquarium; Foster Botanical Garden; Iolani Palace, which once was the royal palace; and the State Capitol. The Polynesian Cultural Center, at Laie on Oahu, includes replica villages of seven Polynesian peoples. Also near Honolulu is Sea Life Park, one of the largest exhibits of marine life in the world.
Introduction to Hawaii - Video
Starting in January/February is the Chinese New Year celebration, called the Narcissus Festival, in Honolulu. March marks the start of the Cherry Blossom Festival, also in Honolulu. March 26 is Kuhio Day, a state holiday created in honor of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, the second delegate to the Congress of the United States from Hawaii. Buddhists in Hawaii observe Wesak Day, the first Sunday in April, as the birthday of the Buddha. Lei Day, the first day of May, is dedicated to the lei as a symbol of Hawaii. The 50th State Fair is held in Honolulu for about two weeks late in spring. Kamehameha Day, on June 11, is observed throughout the state in honor of Kamehameha I, the king who united the islands. In July and August, Bon dances are performed by Buddhists to honor their dead ancestors. On August 21, Hawaii celebrates Admission Day, the anniversary of becoming a U.S. state. The chief celebration in the fall is Aloha Festivals, which is held during September and October and features pageants, parades, boat races, hula festivals, and balls. Bodhi Day, the day the Buddha attained supreme enlightenment and solved the riddle of life, is celebrated in December.
Hawaii’s state constitution was drafted by a convention held in Honolulu in 1950. It was approved by the voters in the same year and went into effect when Hawaii became a state in 1959. Amendments to the constitution may be proposed by a constitutional convention or by the state legislature. To become law, all proposed amendments must be approved by a popular majority constituting at least 35 percent of the total number of registered voters in Hawaii. The governor, the chief executive of the state, is elected for a four-year term. Although the governor may veto legislation, the legislature can override a veto by a two-thirds majority vote of the full membership of each house. The only other popularly elected official in the executive branch is the lieutenant governor, who also holds office for four years. By law the lieutenant governor must be a member of the same political party as the governor. A state auditor is chosen by a majority vote at a joint session of the state legislature, and the governor appoints an administrative director, whose duties are assigned by the governor. The state constitution limits the number of principal executive departments to 20. The heads of the executive departments are appointed by the governor with the consent of the state senate. Their terms of office expire with that of the governor, unless they are replaced before then by the governor. The state legislature is made up of a 25-member Senate and a 51-member House of Representatives. State senators are elected for four years and state representatives for two years. The state legislature convenes annually at Honolulu for a 60-day session. The governor may extend sessions for 30 days and may also convene 30-day special sessions. The legislature may extend sessions for up to 15 days. In 1969 Hawaii installed the first ombudsman in the United States elected by any state legislature. The ombudsman (a Swedish word meaning “agent,””representative,” or “deputy”) is authorized to receive and publicize citizen complaints against state and county government agencies. The ombudsman has no power to change decisions made by a governor or mayor, but may criticize publicly any decision considered discriminatory or otherwise unfair. The ombudsman, who may serve a maximum of three six-year terms, can be removed from office only by a two-thirds vote of the legislature in joint session, and only for neglect of duty, misconduct, or disability. The highest state court in Hawaii is the supreme court. It consists of five justices, including a chief justice, who serve ten-year terms. Judges of the state circuit courts, the principle trial courts, also serve ten-year terms. There are also district courts and other lower courts. District court magistrates are appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court. All other judges are appointed by the governor with the approval of the state senate. Compared with the other states, Hawaii has a unique system of local government. There are no incorporated municipalities, and all local governmental functions are divided among four administrative counties and the state department of health. The four administrative counties are the County of Hawaii; the City and County of Honolulu, which includes Oahu and several small islets in the island chain to the northwest; the County of Kauai, which includes Kauai and Niihau; and the County of Maui, which includes Maui, Lanai, Kahoolawe, and most of Molokai. The counties of Hawaii and Maui are each governed by a mayor and council elected for four-year terms; the County of Kauai has a mayor and council elected for two-year terms. The County of Kalawao, which is the site of the famous Kalaupapa leper settlement on Molokai, is designated as a county by the United States Bureau of the Census. However, it is administered by the state department of health.
Hawaii elects two members to the U.S. House of Representatives and two members to the U.S. Senate. The state has four electoral votes in presidential elections.
The Hawaiian alphabet has only 12 letters: A E H I K L M N O P U W. Every Hawaiian word and syllable ends with a vowel. Two consonants never occur without a vowel between them. The accent of most words falls on the next to last syllable
A muumuu is a loose, floor-length dress that was introduced in Hawaii by early missionaries. On formal occasions, women in Hawaii sometimes wear the holoku, a fitted muumuu with a train. Another Hawaiian fashion that became widespread is the aloha shirt, a sport shirt with brightly colored tropical designs.
Some people in Hawaii eat poi, a starchy food made by pounding the cooked underground stem of the taro plant until it becomes a paste. Islanders also enjoy laulau, a package of spinachlike chopped taro leaf, fish, pork, and sometimes chicken, wrapped in ti plant leaves and steamed. A luau (feast) features kalua pig—a whole young pig wrapped in leaves and roasted in a pit called an imu. Luaus also feature dancing and singing.
The Bishop Museum in Honolulu, established in 1889, is the oldest museum in Hawaii. Scholars there do research on the Pacific Islands, mainly in anthropology, archaeology, botany, entomology, and zoology. Displays include animals, archaeological discoveries, fish, plants, and shells from many islands. The Honolulu Academy of Arts has exhibits of Western and Asian art. The Mission Houses Museum in Honolulu includes the oldest house in Hawaii, built in 1821. Other museums include the Kauai Museum in Lihue, the Lyman Museum in Hilo, the Baldwin House in Lahaina, Hawaii’s Plantation Village in Waipahu, and the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor.
Population by race
Median Household Income (2015 est.)
Governor: David Ige (Democrat)
Current Hawaii time
Area of Hawaii
Highest point: Mauna Kea