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For the 1959 novel and 1966 movie, see Hawaii (novel).

Hawaii (Hawaiian/Hawaiian English: Hawai‘i, with the ‘okina) is the archipelago of the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Hawaii constitutes the 50th state of the United States, and as of the 2000 U.S. Census had a population of 1,211,537 people. Honolulu is the largest city and the state capital.

Hawaii, the state most recently admitted into the Union, has many distinctions. In addition to having the southernmost point in the United States, it is the only state that lies completely in the tropics. As one of two states outside the contiguous United States (the other being Alaska), it is the only one without territory on the mainland of any continent and is the only state that continues to grow due to active lava flows, most notably from Kīlauea. Ethnically, it is the only state that does not have a white majority (and one of only three in which non-Hispanic whites do not form a majority) and has the largest percentage of Asian Americans. Ecologically and agriculturally, it is the endangered species capital of the world and is the only industrial producer of coffee in the nation.



Main article: Hawaiian Islands

The state is comprised of nineteen major islands and atolls in the Central Pacific Ocean. The state government, in its "official" count of 137 islands, includes all of the minor offshore islands and individual islets found in each atoll. The inhabited islands are seven of the southernmost lying between Ni‘ihau and the Big Island of Hawai‘i, but the island chain extends another 1000 miles (1600 kilometers) to the northwest. All of the islands were originally formed by volcanic activity. Current volcanic activity is limited to the Island of Hawai‘i (see: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Loihi). The last volcanic eruption elsewhere in the archipelago was on the southwest flank of Haleakala (East Maui Volcano), near the end of the 18th Century.

Cities and towns include the largest, Honolulu on O‘ahu, as well as Hilo on Hawai‘i, Līhu‘e on Kaua‘i, and Kahului on Maui.

The main Hawaiian Islands and the counties of the state are shown on the map above. The larger islands are listed below.


Main article: History of Hawai‘i

Hawaiian history can be divided into the following episodes:

Hawaiian antiquity

Main article: Ancient Hawai‘i, Hawaiian mythology, Polynesian mythology

Anthropologists believe that Polynesians from the Marquesas and Society Islands first populated the Hawaiian Islands approximately 1500 years ago. These first peoples preserved memories of the early migrations orally through genealogies and folk tales, like the stories of Hawai‘iloa and Pa‘ao. Relations with other Polynesian groups were sporadic during the early migratory periods, and Hawai‘i grew from small settlements to a complex society in near isolation. Local chiefs called ali‘i ruled their settlements and fought to extend their sway and defend their communities from predatory rivals. Warfare was endemic. The general trend was towards chiefdoms of increasing size, even encompassing whole islands.

Vague reports by various European explorers suggest that Hawai‘i was visited by foreigners well before the 1778 arrival of British explorer Captain James Cook. Historians credited Cook with the discovery after he was the first to plot and publish the geographical coordinates of the Hawaiian Islands. Cook named his discovery the Sandwich Islands in honor of one of his sponsors, John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich.

Hawaiian kingdom

Main article: Kingdom of Hawai‘i

After a series of battles that ended in 1795 and peaceful cession of the island of Kaua‘i in 1810, the Hawaiian Islands were united for the first time under a single ruler who would become known as King Kamehameha the Great. He established the House of Kamehameha, a dynasty that ruled over the kingdom until 1872. That year, bachelor King Kamehameha V died without naming a formal heir. After the election and death of King Lunalilo, governance was passed on to the House of Kalākaua. However, American interests effectively rendered the monarchy powerless by enacting the Bayonet Constitution. Among other things, it stripped the king of his administrative authorities and deprived native Hawaiians of the right to vote in elections. King Kalākaua reigned until his death in 1891. His sister, Lili'uokalani, succeeded him to the throne and ruled until her dethronement in 1893, a coup d'ťtat orchestrated by American plantation owners with the help of an armed militia and the United States Marine Corps. Governance was again passed, this time into the hands of a provisional government and then to an independent Republic of Hawaii.

Hawaiian territory

Main article: Territory of Hawai‘i

The Newlands Resolution was passed on July 7, 1898, formally annexing Hawai‘i as a United States territory. In 1900, it was granted self-governance. Though several attempts were made to achieve statehood, Hawai‘i remained a territory for sixty years. Plantation owners, like those that comprised the so-called Big Five, found territorial status convenient, enabling them to continue importing cheap foreign labor; such immigration was prohibited in various other states of the Union.

The power of the plantation owners was finally broken by activist descendants of original immigrant laborers. Because they were born in a United States territory, they were legal American citizens. Expecting to gain full voting rights, they actively campaigned for statehood for the Hawaiian Islands. On March 18, 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Admission Act which made Hawai‘i the 50th state of the Union, a law that became effective on August 21, 1959.

Hawaiian statehood

After statehood, Hawai‘i quickly became a modern state with a construction boom and rapidly growing economy. The Hawai‘i Republican Party, which was strongly supported by the plantation owners, was voted out of office. In its place, the Hawai‘i Democratic Party dominated state politics for forty years. The state also worked toward restoring the native Hawaiian culture that was suppressed after the overthrow. The Hawai‘i State Constitutional Convention of 1978 heralded what some called a Hawaiian renaissance. Its delegates created programs that sought to revive the indigenous Hawaiian language and culture. In addition, they sought to promote native control over Hawaiian issues by creating the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Prevalent in post-statehood Hawai‘i was an increase in combative attitudes by some native Hawaiians towards the federal government, which is seen by some as an occupying power. Regrets over the demise of the Hawaiian monarchy produced several political organizations that are collectively known as the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. The movement's most prominent success was the passage of the Apology Resolution of 1993 that made redress for American actions leading to the overthrow of the kingdom. The resolution was passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton.


Through its constitution and acts of its state leadership, Hawai‘i recognizes Hawaiian as one of its official languages.
Through its constitution and acts of its state leadership, Hawai‘i recognizes Hawaiian as one of its official languages.

Main article: Hawaiian language

The state of Hawai‘i has two official languages as prescribed by the Constitution of Hawai‘i adopted at the 1978 constitutional convention: Hawaiian and English. Article XV, Section 4 requires the use of Hawaiian in official state business such as public acts, documents, laws and transactions. Standard Hawaiian English, a subset of American English, is also commonly used for other formal business.


Before the arrival of Captain James Cook, the Hawaiian language was purely a spoken language. The first written form of Hawaiian was developed by American Protestant missionaries in Hawai‘i during the early 19th century. The missionaries assigned letters from the English alphabet that roughly correspond to the Hawaiian sounds. Later, additional characters were added to clarify pronunciation. The ‘okina indicates a glottal stop while the macron called kahakō signifies a long vowel sound. When a Hawaiian word is spelled without any necessary ‘okina and kahakō, it is impossible for someone who does not already know the word to guess at the proper pronunciation. Omission of the ‘okina and kahakō in printed texts can even obscure the meaning of the word. For example, the word lanai means stiff-necked. However, when spelled as lānai it means veranda while Lāna‘i refers to an island. This can be a problem in interpreting 19th century Hawaiian texts recorded in the older orthography. For these reasons, careful writers use the modern Hawaiian orthography.


As a result of the constitutional provision, interest in the Hawaiian language was revived in the late 20th century. Public and independent schools throughout the state began teaching Hawaiian language standards as part of the regular curricula beginning with preschool. With the help of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, also created by the 1978 constitutional convention, specially designated Hawaiian language immersion schools were established where students would be taught in all subjects using Hawaiian. Also, the University of Hawai‘i System developed the only Hawaiian language graduate studies program in the world. Municipal codes were altered in favor of Hawaiian place and street names for new civic developments.


Over the course of Hawaiian history, a third language was developed that is in common use throughout the state today. Originally considered a mere dialect of Hawaiian English, cultural anthropologists have recently reached consensus that Hawaiian Pidgin is a distinct language on its own. Hawaiian Pidgin finds its origins in the sugarcane and pineapple plantations as laborers from different cultures were forced to find their own ways of communicating and understanding each other. Laborer emigrants from different countries — China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Portugal — began composing their own words and phrases based on their own language traditions merged with Hawaiian and Hawaiian English.


A somewhat divisive political issue that has arisen since the Constitution of Hawai‘i adopted Hawaiian as an official state language is the exact spelling of the state's name. As prescribed in the Admission Act of 1959 that granted Hawaiian statehood, the federal government recognizes Hawaii to be the official state name. However, many state and municipal entities and officials have recognized Hawai‘i to be the correct state name. Official government publications, as well as department and office titles, use the traditional Hawaiian spelling. Private entities, including local mass media, also have shown a preference for the use of the ‘okina. While in local Hawaiian society the spelling and pronunciation of Hawai‘i is preferred in nearly all cases, even by standard English speakers, the federal spelling is used for purposes of interpolitical relations between other states and foreign governments.

The nuances in the Hawaiian language debate are often not obvious or well-appreciated outside Hawai‘i. The issue has often been a source of friction in situations where correct naming conventions are mandated, as people frequently disagree over which spelling is correct or incorrect, and where it is correctly or incorrectly applied.

See also


The state government of Hawai‘i is modeled after the federal government with adaptations originating from the kingdom era of Hawaiian history. As codified in the Constitution of Hawai‘i, there are three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The executive branch is led by the state governor who oversees the major agencies and departments. The legislative body consists of the 25-member Hawai‘i State Senate and the 51-member Hawai‘i State House of Representatives. The judicial branch is led by the highest state court, the Hawai‘i State Supreme Court. Lower courts are organized as the Hawai‘i State Judiciary.

Unique to Hawai‘i is the way it has organized its municipal governments. There are no incorporated cities in Hawai‘i except the City & County of Honolulu. All other municipal governments are administered at the county level.

Hawaii is the only state that does not have a Department of Motor Vehicles or a Registry of Motor Vehicles. Vehicle registration and driver licensing are performed by county governments.

See: List of Hawaiian counties, U.S. Congressional Delegations from Hawai‘i, List of Hawai‘i politicians


The total gross output for the state in 1999 was USD $41 billion, placing Hawaii 40th compared to the other states. Per capita income for Hawaii residents was USD $28,221.

Historically, the history of modern Hawaii can be traced through a succession of dominating industries: sandalwood, whaling, sugarcane, pineapple, military, tourism and education. Tourism is currently the state's largest industry while efforts are being made toward the diversification of the economy. Industrial exports include food processing and apparel. However, because of the considerable shipping distance to markets on the West Coast United States or Japan, they play a small role in the island economy. The main agricultural exports are nursery stock and flowers, coffee, macadamia nuts, pineapple, livestock, and sugar cane. Agricultural sales for 2002 (according to the Hawai‘i Agricultural Statistics Service) were USD $370.9 million from diversified agriculture, USD $100.6 million from pineapple, and USD $64.3 million from sugarcane.

Hawaii is known for having a high amount of state taxes per capita. In 2002 and 2003, it had the highest amount of state taxes per capita, with $2,757 and $2,838 in state taxes per capita respectively. This can partly be explained by the fact that some services such as education, health care, and social services, are rendered at the state level, as opposed to the local level as in many states. Also, hundreds of thousands of tourists contribute to the figure by paying Hawaii's general excise and hotel room taxes. Therefore, not all the taxes are directly paid by each resident. However, many business leaders in the state still consider Hawaii's tax burden to be too high, leading to high prices and an unfriendly business climate.[1]


Main article: Culture of Hawaii

The aboriginal culture of Hawai‘i is Polynesian. Hawai‘i represents the northernmost extension of the vast Polynesian triangle of the south and central Pacific Ocean. While traditional Hawaiian culture remains only as vestiges influencing modern Hawaiian society, there are reŽnactments of ancient ceremonies and traditions throughout the islands. Some of these cultural influences are strong enough to have impacted the culture of the United States at large, including the popularity (in greatly modified form) of luaus and hula.



Two major competing Honolulu-based newspapers serve all of Hawai‘i. The Honolulu Advertiser is owned by Gannett Pacific Corporation while the Honolulu Star-Bulletin is owned by Black Press of British Columbia in Canada. Both are two of the largest newspapers in the United States, in terms of circulation. Other locally published newspapers are available to residents of the various islands. The Hawai‘i business community is served by the Pacific Business News and Hawai‘i Business Magazine. The largest religious community in Hawai‘i is served by the Hawai‘i Catholic Herald. Honolulu Magazine is a popular magazine that offers local interest news and feature articles. Apart from the mainstream press, the state also enjoys a vibrant ethnic publication presence with newspapers for the Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Native Hawaiian communities. In addition, there is an alternative weekly, the Honolulu_Weekly.


All the major television networks are represented in Hawai‘i through KFVE (WB network affiliate), KGMB (CBS network affiliate), KHET (PBS network affiliate), KHNL (NBC network affiliate), KHON (FOX network affiliate) and KITV (ABC network affiliate), among others. From Honolulu, programming at these stations are rebroadcast to the various other islands via networks of satellite transmitters. Until the advent of satellite, most network programming was broadcast a week behind mainland scheduling. The various production companies that work with the major networks have produced television series and other projects in Hawai‘i. Most notable were police dramas like Magnum P.I. and Hawaii Five-O. A comprehensive list of such projects can be seen at the list of Hawai‘i television series.


Hawai‘i has a growing film industry administered by the state through the Hawai‘i Film Office. Several television shows, movies and various other media projects were produced in the Hawaiian Islands taking advantage of the natural scenic landscapes as backdrops. Notable films produced in Hawai‘i or were inspired by Hawai‘i include Jurassic Park, Waterworld, From Here to Eternity, George of the Jungle, 50 First Dates, Pearl Harbor, Blue Crush and Lilo & Stitch.

Hawai'i is home to a prominant film festival known as the Hawaii International Film Festival.


The Constitution of Hawaii and various other measures of the Hawaii State Legislature established official state symbols. Such symbols are meant to embody the distinctive culture and heritage of Hawaii:


Main article: Hawai‘i State Department of Education

Hawaii is currently the only state in the union with a unified school system statewide. It is also the oldest public education system west of the Mississippi River. Policy decisions are made by the fourteen-member state Board of Education, with thirteen members elected for four-year terms and one non-voting student member. The Board of Education sets statewide educational policy and hires the state superintendent of schools, who 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 more rural Neighbor Islands, and between lower-income and more affluent areas of the state. This system of school funding differs from many localities in the United States where schools are funded from local property taxes.

However, policy initiatives have been made in recent years toward decentralization. Current Governor Linda Lingle is a proponent of replacing the current statewide board with seven elected district boards. The Democrat-controlled state legislature opposed her proposal, instead favoring expansion of decision-making power to the schools and giving schools more discretion over budgeting. Political debate of structural reform is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Colleges and universities

The following are some of the most notable, colleges and universities in Hawai‘i. The list of colleges and universities in Hawai‘i is more comprehensive.

Academies and secondary schools

The following are some of the most notable academies and secondary schools in Hawai‘i. The list of public schools and independent schools in Hawai‘i is more comprehensive.


Photograph of Hawai‘i from , looking southeast by south from over Kauai.
Photograph of Hawai‘i from Space Shuttle Discovery, looking southeast by south from over Kauai.

The population of Hawaii (Hawai‘i) 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, 6.6% of Hawaii's population identified themselves as Native Hawaiian, 24.3% were White or Caucasian, including Portuguese and 41.6% were Asian, including 0.1% Asian Indian, 4.7% Chinese, 14.1% Filipino , 16.7% Japanese, Okinawan, 1.9% Korean and 0.6% Vietnamese. 1.3% were other Pacific Islander which includes Tongan, Tahitian, Maori and Micronesian, and 21.4% described themselves as mixed (two or more races/ethnic groups). 1.8% were Black or African American and 0.3% were American Indian and Alaska Native.

The second group of foreigners to arrive upon Hawaii's shores, after the Europeans, were the Chinese who jumped off of trading ships in 1789. In 1820 the first American missionaries arrived in Hawaii to preach Christianity and teach the Hawaiians what the missionaries considered "civilized" ways. A large proportion of Hawaii's population has become a people of Asian ancestry (especially Chinese, Japanese and Filipino), many of whom are descendants from those waves of early foreign immigrants brought to the islands in the nineteenth century, beginning in the 1850's, to work on the 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, Kahului, and Kailua-Kona.

25 Richest Places in Hawai'i

Ranked by per capita income

1 Kapalua, Hawaii $75,992
2 Puako, Hawaii $63,857
3 Kaanapali, Hawaii $48,506
4 Maalaea, Hawaii $43,571
5 Princeville, Hawaii $37,971
6 Kalihiwai, Hawaii $37,062
7 Poipu, Hawaii $35,800
8 Haiku-Pauwela, Hawaii $35,737
9 Heeia, Hawaii $33,990
10 Kahaluu-Keauhou, Hawaii $33,067
11 Maunawili, Hawaii $30,551
12 Kailua, Hawaii $29,299
13 Kawela Bay, Hawaii $28,481
14 Waimalu, Hawaii $25,913
15 Pūpūkea, Hawaii $25,682
16 Ahuimanu, Hawaii $25,381
17 Holualoa, Hawaii $25,222
18 Aiea, Hawaii $25,111
19 Napili-Honokowai, Hawaii $24,814
20 Mokulē’ia, Hawaii $24,643
21 Waikapu, Hawaii $24,564
22 Waipio, Hawaii $24,451
23 Mililani Town, Hawaii $24,427
24 Honolulu, Hawaii $24,191
25 Kalaoa, Hawaii $24,179
See complete list of Hawai'i places

Famous people from Hawai‘i

The following are some of the most notable, nationally-renowned people from Hawai‘i. Wikipedia's list of famous people from Hawaii is more comprehensive. A separate register of members of the Hawaiian royal family and Hawaii politicians is also available.


  • Hawaii, being one of the United States, is included in the North American Numbering Plan; its area code within that plan is 808. It is also one of only three U.S. states that do not observe Daylight Saving Time, and the only one of those three that does not use DST anywhere in its territory.
  • ‘Iolani Palace, the only royal residence in the United States, was once the home of King Kalākaua and Queen Lili‘uokalani, the last monarchs of Hawai‘i. It is open to visitors.
  • Hawai‘i is the only U.S. state without a state police force.
  • Hawai'i is the only state which has no state DMV. Vehicle registration and driver licensing in Hawaii have been delegated to county governments.
  • Hawai‘i is home to two of the largest independent schools in the United States: Punahou School and the Kamehameha Schools.
  • Pele is the well-known goddess of Hawaiian volcanoes. Local legends and ghost stories often revolve around her visits, as well as sightings of Menehune and Nightmarchers.
  • Local directions in Hawai‘i are not normally 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" or "Koko Head" are equivalent to "east," because those are the main landmarks 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.
  • Hawai‘i is home to a number of endemic plant and animal species that are vulnerable to outside threats. Among the rarest is the Po‘ouli, a Hawaiian honeycreeper with only two known surviving members, both on the island of Maui.
  • Hawai‘i is known for its many people of multiracial and multiethnic heritage, or hapa ancestry.
  • Mount Wai‘ale‘ale on Kaua‘i is one of the wettest spots on earth, averaging 460 inches (11.7 m) of rain a year.
  • Hawai‘i has an array of colorful beaches, with sand colors of white, black, red, grey, brown-black and green.
  • Famous Crimes and superstitions Diane Suzuki, Morgan's Corner , Seven Bridges of Manoa , The Kahala Graveyard

External links

Last updated: 10-11-2005 18:45:48
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