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The neutrality of this article's point of view is disputed. Use of Hawaiian spelling in English, notably the use of the ‘okina; and kahakō, has been challenged. See talk page.
(In Detail) (Full size)
State nickname: The Aloha State

Other U.S. States
Capital Honolulu
Largest City Honolulu
Governor Linda Lingle
 - 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 saving time)
16°55'N to 23°N
154°40'W to 162°W
 - Highest
 - Mean
 - Lowest
2,450 km
4,205 meters
925 meters
0 meters
ISO 3166-2: US-HI

Hawaii (in the Hawaiian language and as used increasingly in that place, spelled Hawai‘i with the ‘okina;) is the North Central Pacific Ocean archipelago of the Hawaiian Islands, constituting the 50th state of the United States. As of the 2000 Census, the population of the state was 1,211,537. Honolulu is the largest city and the state capital.

Hawaii (Hawai‘i) has many distinctions as a state of the Union. For example, it is the territory that was most recently annexed to the United States and the most recently admitted into statehood. In addition to having the southernmost point, it is the only state that lies in large part in the tropics. It is also the worlds' most isolated archipelago. As one of two states outside the contiguous United States, it is the only one without territory on the mainland of any continent. It is the only state that continues to grow due to volcanic lava flows, most notably Kīlauea;. Ethnically, it is the only state that does not have a Caucasian majority, has the largest percentage of Asian Americans, and is the only industrial producer of coffee in the nation. Hawaii (Hawai‘i) is the birthplace of surfing, where kanaka maoli invented the sport enjoyed around the world. It also has the unfortunate distinction of being the endangered species capitol of the world for its many endagered and threatened flora and fauna. Hawaii (Hawai‘i) has also led the way and sparked worldwide interest in Polynesian navigation and voyaging (Polynesian Voyaging Society), outrigger canoeing and long-distance board paddling.

Table of contents
1 State symbols
2 Language
3 History
4 Geology and geography
5 Government
6 Economy
7 List of important cities and towns
8 Demographics
9 Education
10 Famous people from Hawai‘i
11 Media
12 Miscellaneous information
13 See also
14 External links

State symbols


Main article:
Hawaiian language
The State of Hawaii has two official languages as prescribed by the state constitution: Hawaiian and English. Article XV, Section 4 of that constitution requires the use of Hawaiian in official state business, such as public acts and transactions. Though legislation has directed the use of Hawaiian in some public acts and transactions, standard American English is the language of formal business.

Starting late in the 20th century, interest in the use of traditional Hawaiian-language spelling has been revived; this is increasingly being taught in schools. The written form of Hawaiian was developed by Congregational and Presbyterian American missionaries in Hawai‘i during the early 19th century, and assigns to letters sounds virtually identical to those of their English equivalents. It also involves the use of the ‘okina; character to indicate a glottal stop, and the macron accent over long vowels (called kahakō in Hawaiian). Just as some knowledge of the orthography is needed to correctly pronounce Hawaiian words and names, omission of these marks obscures correct pronunciation of Hawaiian place names, and often their literal meanings.

A third language had developed over the course of Hawaiian history and is today in common use throughout the state. Originally considered a mere dialect, cultural anthropologists have recently reached consensus that Hawaiian Pidgin is a language of its own. It finds its origins in the sugarcane and pineapple plantations as laborers from different cultures were forced to find their own way of understanding each other. Hawaiian Pidgin is a spoken language primarily based on English and includes words from Chinese, Hawaiian, Japanese, and Portuguese.

Naming conventions: "Hawaii" and "Hawai‘i"

The issue of the exact spellings of Hawaii and Hawai‘i and how they are applied is proven to be a divisive political issue. The issue is over the inclusion or exclusion of the ‘okina;.

When Hawaii became a political unit of the United States, U.S. Congress adopted the spelling Hawaii, without the ‘okina. This is still the official name of Hawaii as a political entity under American sovereignity. For the purposes of interpolitical relations outside the State of Hawaii, the American congressional spelling is properly used.

However, in local Hawaiian society, the spelling and pronunciation of Hawai‘i is preferred in nearly all cases, even for English language speakers, and is considered the most correct name for Hawai‘i as a place. Even the Government of Hawaii prefers this spelling for the names of its departments and offices. The convention to include the ‘okina is so widespread in Hawai‘i that it is used even in publications whose titles include the spelling Hawaii without the ‘okina.

These delicate nuances are often not obvious or well-appreciated outside Hawai‘i. This issue can be 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.


Main article: History of Hawai‘i;

Hawaiian history can be divided into the following episodes: ancient Hawai‘i; under the rule of local chiefdoms; consolidation and establishment of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i;. The monarchy was overthrown by the Provisional Government of Hawai‘i;, followed by governance as the Republic of Hawai‘i;. The Newlands Resolution was passed in 1898 establishing the Territory of Hawai‘i;; Hawai‘i became the State of Hawaii of the United States in 1959.

Ancient Hawai‘i

Main article: Ancient Hawai‘i;

It is believed that the Hawaiian Islands were first populated by Polynesians from the Marquesas and Society Islands approximately 1500 years ago. Some folk memory of these migrations must have been preserved in the various legends about navigators like Hawai‘iloa;. However, relations with other Polynesian groups were sporadic at most, and Hawai‘i grew from small settlements to a complex society in near isolation. Local chiefs or ali‘i; ruled their people and fought to extend their sway, or just to protect their communities from predatory rivals. Warfare was endemic. The general trend was towards chiefdoms of increasing size, even encompassing whole islands.

Hawai‘i was visited by other foreigners before the 1778 visit of British explorer Captain James Cook according to ancient oral genealogies. Cook put the Hawaiian Islands on the map, as the Sandwich Islands (named after one of his sponsors, John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich).

Kingdom of Hawai‘i

Main article: Kingdom of Hawai‘i;

In 1795, the islands were united for the first time under a single ruler: King Kamehameha, the first chief to enthusiastically adopt innovations such as cannon and foreign advisors. The Kamehameha Dynasty ruled the Hawaiian islands until 1872, when the last Kamehameha monarch, King Kamehameha V, died childless. The monarchy passed to the House of Kalākaua;, another line of the Hawaiian nobility, and lasted until 1898, when a league of mostly American plantation owners, supported by a U.S. Naval commander, overthrew Queen Lili‘uokalani;. On July 7, 1898 the new Hawaiian government and the U.S. Congress agreed that the United States should annex Hawai‘i as a United States territory, with self-government beginning shortly thereafter.

Incorporation into the U.S.

"Hawaii" was a territory of the United States for 60 years. The plantation owners found territorial status convenient, as they were able to continue importing cheap foreign labor—immigration that would have been prohibited under then-current law to any state. But the power of the plantation owners was finally broken by the descendants of the imported laborers. Because they were born in a U.S. territory, they were U.S. citizens with full voting rights. They campaigned for statehood for the islands.

On March 18, 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Admission Act, which made Hawaii the 50th state of the Union, effective August 21, 1959.

An unexpected outgrowth of the 1978 Hawaii State Constitutional Convention was what some call the "Hawaiian renaissance." Ethnic Hawaiians, through programs created by the constitutional convention, revived their ancestral language and culture; some took a combative attitude towards a U.S government seen as a occupying power. Many regretted the demise of the Hawaiian monarchy and decried some U.S. government officals' connivance in its overthrow. In January 1993, the U.S. Congress passed (and President Clinton later signed) a resolution apologizing for that role.

Geology and geography

and islands]]
''Main article: Hawaiian Islands

The State of Hawaii is spread over 19 major islands and atolls in the central Pacific. The state government also includes minor offshore islands and individual islets in each atoll in its count of 137 islands; this number is often quoted in visitor literature. The inhabited islands are those from the Big Island of Hawai‘i; to Ni‘ihau; (see map), but the island chain extends another 1000 miles (1600 km) to the northwest.

Each island at one time had volcanic activity. The current volcanic activity is on the Island of Hawai‘i; (in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park).

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


Scenic Backdrop in Film and Television

Main article:
Hawaii Film Office

The film and television industry has had a love affair with the beauty of Hawaii's (Hawai‘i's) natural world. From the jagged, razor edged cliffs of Na Pali to the coarse black sand beaches of Waipi‘o Valley or South Point, Hawaii's (Hawai‘i's) snowcapped volcanoes, pristine waterfalls, lush fern jungle forests, moon crater landscaped cinder cones, grand ocean vistas and otherworldy above the clouds view from atop Mauna Kea, have been one of the stars in many films and television shows. Some notable films and t.v. shows shot in Hawaii (Hawai‘i) include Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Last Ark, South Pacific, King Kong, Waterworld, Magnum P.I, Hawaii 5-0, From Here to Eternity, George of the Jungle, Tears of the Sun, 50 First Dates, Pearl Harbor, Windtalker, Blue Crush and Lilo & Stitch;.


The state government of Hawaii 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;. The only other municipal governments are administered at the county level.

See: List of Hawaiian counties, US 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.

List of important cities and towns




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 Amercian Missionaries arrived in Hawaii to spread Christianity among the kanaka māoli and were also instrumental in developing the 12 letter alphabet, finally putting the Hawaiian language into writing. This had a significant impact on the Hawaiian Religion or Huna. 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, begining 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.


Main article: Hawai‘i State Department of Education;

Hawaii is currently the only state in the union with a unified school system statewide. (Similarly, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico also has a commonwealth-wide system.) It is also the oldest public education system west of the Mississippi River. Policy decisions are made by the eleven-member state Board of Education, whose members are elected for four-year terms. 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. Wikipedia's is more comprehensive.

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 (please add new names to the separate list). A separate register of members of the and Hawaii politicians is also available.


In Hawai‘i, there are two competing Honolulu newspapers, The
Honolulu Advertiser, owned by the Gannett media conglomerate, and Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The state has a vibrant ethnic press, with newspapers for the Filipino, Japanese and Native Hawaiian communities, among other groups. The Big Island of Hawaii has the Hawaii Tribune-Herald and West Hawaii Today. Hawaii Reporter is an online publication. Pacific Business News is a weekly business newspaper. Hawai‘i Business is the state's business magazine. Honolulu magazine is a prominent city magazine.

All the major television networks are represented in Hawai‘i through KFVE (WB affiliate), KGMB (CBS affiliate), KHET (PBS affiliate), KHNL (NBC affiliate), KHON (FOX affiliate) and KITV (ABC affiliate), among others. From Honolulu, programming at these stations are rebroadcast to the neighbor islands via networks of satellite transmitters.

Miscellaneous information

See also

External links

[ Edit {}] Countries in Oceania
Australia | Fiji | Kiribati | Marshall Islands | Federated States of Micronesia | Nauru | New Zealand | Palau | Papua New Guinea | Samoa | Solomon Islands | Tonga | Tuvalu | Vanuatu
Other political units: American Samoa | Cook Islands | Easter Island | French Polynesia | Guam | Hawaii | Papua (Indonesia) | Midway Atoll | New Caledonia | Niue | Norfolk Island | Northern Mariana Islands | Pitcairn Islands | Tokelau | Wake Island | Wallis and Futuna