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  Wikipedia: Hawaii

Wikipedia: Hawaii
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

(In Detail) (Full size)
State nickname: The Aloha State

In Detail
Other U.S. States
Capital Honolulu
Largest City Honolulu
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water
 - % water
Ranked 43rd
28,337 km²
16,649 km²
11,672 km²
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 42nd
Admittance into Union
 - Order
 - Date

August 21, 1959
Time zone Hawaii: UTC-10/ (no daylight savings time)
16°55'N to 23°N
154°40'W to 162°W


2450 km
4,205 meters
925 meters
0 meters
ISO 3166-2:US-HI

Hawaii (Hawai'i in Hawaiian spelling), is an archipelago of islands (the Hawaiian Islands) in the North Pacific Ocean, constituting the most recent (50th) U.S. state. Hawaii is the only island state, the southernmost of all the U.S. states, and, along with Alaska, one of two non-contiguous states in the U.S. Hawaii is also the the newest state, being admitted to the union on August 21, 1959. As of the 2000 Census, the population of Hawaii was 1,211,537. Honolulu is the state capital.

State Symbols

The state motto is ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono ("the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness"). The state flag combines elements of the Union Jack, French tricolor, and United States flag in recognition of the great powers in the Pacific at the time of the consolidation of the Hawaiian monarchy. The eight horizontal stripes represent the eight major islands. The state song is Hawai'i pono'i.

Hawaii has two official languages, English and Hawaiian. Although one will just as often see place names spelled in English as in Hawaiian, within the State the idea that correct Hawaiian spelling should be used has gained widespread support in the last decade or so. Because the written Hawaiian language was developed by U.S. missionaries in the early part of the 19th century, the spelling of Hawaiian words and their English equivalents are virtually identical, with the exception that Hawaiian uses two diacritical marks (the 'okina and kahakō; see Hawaiian language). Just as some knowledge of pronunciation is needed to correctly pronounce Hawaiian place names, these marks are necessary to establish both correct pronunciation and meaning of Hawaiian place names.

The state flower is the yellow hibiscus (Hibiscus brackenridgei or ma'o hau hele) and the state bird is the nene (Hawaiian goose). The state fish is the humuhumunukunukuapua'a (Picasso trigger). USS Hawaii was named in honor of this state.


Main article: History of Hawaii

The Hawaiian islands were first populated by Polynesians some 1500-2000 years ago. These original settlers were thought to be voyagers from the Marquesas Islands. For most of its early history, the islands of Hawaii were independently governed by locally-based monarchs. In 1795 the islands were, for the first time, united under a single ruler: King Kamehameha I.

Because of its strategic location, the islands became a popular base for the American military, and soon underwent a massive influx of American-born, as well as Asian-born settlers. A ruling elite of Americans, made up mostly of wealthy sugar-plantation owners, soon gained much political control over the country. In 1893, the Hawaiian monarchy was deposed in a revolution representing their interests, assisted by unauthorized actions by American diplomatic and military personnel; Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown and her government replaced by a republic led by President Sanford Dole, an American settler.

On July 7, 1898 the republic's government and the US Congress agreed for Hawaii to be annexed to the United States as a United States territory, with self-government beginning shortly thereafter. On March 18, 1959 Hawaii formally became an state of the US.

The manner in which Hawaii became a U.S. possession remains today a source of considerable controversy. In January 1993, a resolution was passed by the United States Congress apologizing for participation in the illegal overthrow of the sitting government in 1896. Today, Hawaii is an integrated member of the United States and a popular tourist destination—but discussions of sovereignty for the Hawaiian people continue, and are taken seriously by Hawaiian residents and their politicians.

Geology and Geography

''Main article: Hawaiian Islands

In grey: County name ~ Within parenthesis in blue: Individual island name

The State of Hawaii is spread over 19 islands and atolls in the central Pacific. The inhabited islands are those from the Big Island to Ni'ihau (see map), but the island chain extends another 1000 miles to the northwest.

The main Hawaiian Islands and the counties of the state are shown on the map to the right.

Law and Government

The Hawaii state government is modeled after that of the U.S. federal government. It has three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. The executive branch is headed by the Governor of the state, and all state agencies belong to this branch. The legislative body consists of the 25-member Senate and the 51-member House of Representatives. The highest state court is the Hawaii Supreme Court.

The current Governor of the state is Linda Lingle (Republican). The U.S. Senators are Daniel K. Akaka (Democrat) and Daniel K. Inouye (Democrat). U.S Representatives are Neil Abercrombie (1st district, (Honolulu) Democrat) and Ed Case (2nd district, (all other areas of Hawaii) Democrat)


The total gross output for the state in 1999 was $41 billion placing Hawaii 40th compared to the other states. The Per Capita Income for Hawaiian residents was $28,221. Tourism is now the state's largest industry. Industrial product outputs are minimal because of the considerable shipping distance to markets on the U.S West Coast or Japan, but would include food processing and apparel. The main agricultural outputs are nursey stock and flowers, coffee, macadamia nuts, pineapple, livestock, and sugar cane. Agricultural sales for 2002 (according to Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service) were $370.9 M from diversified agriculture, $100.6 M from pineapple, and $64.3 M from sugarcane.


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.

According to the 2000 Census, 41.6% of Hawaii's population identifies themselves as Asian, and 9.4% are Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. 21.4% describe themselves as mixed (two or more races). A large proportion of Hawaii's population is of Asian (especially Japanese) descent, from those early immigrants who came to the islands in the nineteenth century to work on sugar plantations. The first Japanese arrived in Hawaii on February 9, 1885.

The largest city is the capital, Honolulu, located along the southeast coast of the island of O'ahu. Other populous cities include Hilo, Kāne'ohe, Kailua, Pearl City, and Kahului.


Hawaii is currently the only state in the union with a statewide unified school system. Policy decisions are made by the eleven-member state Board of Education. The Board of Education sets statewide educational policy and hires the state superintendent of schools, which oversees the operations of the state Department of Education. The Department of Education is also divided into seven districts, four on O'ahu and one for each of the other counties.

The structure of the state Department of Education has been a subject of discussion and controversy in recent years. The main rationale for the current centralized model is equity in school funding and distribution of resources: leveling out inequalities that would exist between highly populated O'ahu and the other, more rural main islands. However, policy initiatives have been made in recent years to move more decision-making power to the school level, and current Governor Linda Lingle is a proponent of decentralization, replacing the current Board with seven elected district boards. This discussion is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Colleges and Universities

  • Brigham Young University Hawaii
  • Chaminade University
  • Hawaii Pacific University
  • University of the Nations

Famous People From Hawaii

  • Akebono (born Chad Rowan), sumo wrestler
  • George Ariyoshi, first Japanese-American elected governor
  • Salevaa Atisanoe (Konishiki), sumo wrestler
  • Hiram Bingham, missionary, Honolulu
  • Charles R. Bishop, banker, philanthropist
  • Tia Carrere, singer, actress
  • Samuel N. Castle, missionary
  • Amos S. Cooke, missionary, educator
  • Father Damien, leper-colony worker
  • Sanford B. Dole, territorial governor, Honolulu
  • Jean Erdman, dancer, choreographer
  • Hiram L. Fong, first Chinese-American senator
  • Don Ho, entertainer
  • Daniel K. Inouye, senator
  • Gerrit P. Judd, advisor
  • Kaahumanu, Hawaiian queen
  • Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, Olympic swimmer
  • Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, entertainer and singer
  • Kamehameha I, monarch that united the Hawaiian islands
  • Kaahumanu, Queen
  • Kamehameha V, last of the dynasty
  • George Parsons Lathrop, journalist, poet
  • Liliuokalani, Queen, last Hawaiian monarch
  • Ellison Onizuka, astronaut
  • Kawaipuna Prejean, Hawaiian activist
  • Harold Sakata, actor
  • James Shigeta, actor
  • Claus Spreckels, developer
  • Don Stroud, actor
  • Merlin Tuttle, mammalogist, Honolulu
  • Michelle Wie, golf prodigy

Miscellaneous Information

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

Hawaii Standard Time is UTC-10. Hawaii does not observe a Daylight Saving Time.

Hawaii has the only royal residence in the United States: 'Iolani Palace was once the home of King Kalakaua and Queen Lili`uokalani, the last monarchs of Hawaii. It is open to visitors.

Hawaii has been the setting for many television shows including Hawaii Five-O and Magnum P.I

Pele is the well-known goddess of Hawaii's volcanoes.

Punahou was the first college founded in the islands, and now serves as a private school (all grades up through high school).

Local directions in Hawaii are not expressed in terms of compass points (i.e., north-south-east-west) but by a radial system that uses local landmarks. For example, mauka means inland (literally, "towards the mountain"), while makai means the opposite ("towards the sea"). In Honolulu "Diamond Head" is equivalent to "east," because that's the main landmark on the coast east of downtown Honolulu, and "Ewa" is equivalent to "west," because that place is on the coast west of Honolulu. So instead of saying something was on the north-west corner of an intersection in Honolulu, it might be described as the "mauka and ewa" corner of that intersection.

See also: Hawaiian alphabet; Music of Hawaii; Tourism in Hawaii; Polynesian mythology.

External Links



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona