Advanced | Help | Encyclopedia


For the 1959 novel and 1966 movie, see Hawaii (novel).
State of Hawaii
Moku‘āina ‘o Hawai‘i
(Flag of Hawaii) (Seal of Hawaii)
State nickname: The Aloha State
Other U.S. States
Capital Honolulu
Largest city Honolulu
Governor Linda Lingle
Official languages Hawaiian and English
Area 28,337 km² (43rd)
 - Land 16,649 km²
 - Water 11,672 km² (41.2%)
Population (2000)
 - Population 1,211,537 (42nd)
 - Density 42.75 /km² (13th)
Admission into Union
 - Date August 21, 1959
 - Order 50th
Time zoneHawaii: UTC-10/ (no daylight saving time)
Latitude18°55'N to 29°N
Longitude154°40'W to 162°W
Width n/a km
Length 2,450 km
 - Highest 4,205 m
 - Mean 925 m
 - Lowest 0 m
 - ISO 3166–2 US-HI
Web site

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.

This state most recently admitted into the Union has many distinctions. In addition to possessing 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.

Table of contents


Map of Hawaii

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.


King Kamehameha the Great unified the Hawaiian Islands after battles that ended in 1795 and the cession of Kaua‘i in 1810.

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'état 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

Governor John A. Burns is often called the Father of modern Hawai‘i, credited for the state's early development and setting precedents used in governance today.

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.

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 Hawai‘i State Capitol has served as the seat of government in Hawai‘i since 1969.

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 2003 was USD $47 billion. Per capita income for Hawai‘i residents was USD $30,441.

The history of Hawai‘i 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, with efforts being made to diversify 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, these export industries 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 a relatively high per capita state tax burden. In the years 2002 and 2003, Hawaii residents had the highest state tax per capita at $2,757 and $2,838 respectively. This rate can be explained partly by the fact that services such as education, health care, and social services are all rendered at the state level, as opposed to the local level as in most other states. Also, millions of tourists contribute to the collection figure by paying Hawaii's general excise and hotel room taxes. Therefore, not all the taxes collected come directly from residents. However, as anywhere, business leaders in the state consider Hawaii's tax burden to be too high, contributing to both higher prices and the perception of an unfriendly business climate (Honolulu Star Bulletin, 2004).


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 reënactments 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.



Print Media in Hawaii
Honolulu Advertiser
Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Pacific Business News
Hawaii Business Magazine
Hawaii Catholic Herald
Honolulu Magazine

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.


Television Networks in Hawaii
<center>KFVE (WB network affiliate)
<center>KGMB (CBS network affiliate)
<center>KHET (PBS member station)
<center>KHNL (NBC network affiliate)
<center>KHON (FOX network affiliate)
<center>KITV (ABC network affiliate)
<center>KPXO (PAX network affiliate)

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 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.

Famous people from Hawai‘i

Wikipedia's list of famous people from Hawaii is a comprehensive, alphabetized list of persons who have achieved fame that presently or at one time claimed Hawai‘i as their home. Separate registers of members of the Hawaiian royal family and Hawaii politicians are 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 Indiana is expected to begin observing DST in 2006 [1]), 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

State of Hawai‘i
Cities | Geography | History | Language | Landmarks
State capital: Honolulu
Principal towns: Hilo | Honolulu | Kahului | Kailua-Kona | Lihue
Islands: Hawai‘i | Kaho‘olawe | Kaua‘i | Lāna‘i | Maui | Moloka‘i | Ni‘ihau | Northwestern Hawaiian Islands | O‘ahu
Counties: Hawai‘i | Honolulu | Kalawao | Kaua‘i | Maui

Countries and territories in Oceania
Australia | American Samoa | Baker Island | Cook Islands | East Timor | Fiji | French Polynesia | Guam | Howland Island | Jarvis Island | Johnston Atoll | Kingman Reef | Kiribati | Marshall Islands | Federated States of Micronesia | Midway Atoll | Nauru | New Caledonia | New Zealand | Niue | Norfolk Island | Northern Mariana Islands | Palau | Palmyra Atoll | Papua New Guinea | Pitcairn | Samoa | Solomon Islands | Tokelau | Tonga | Tuvalu | Vanuatu | Wallis and Futuna | Wake Island

Political divisions of the United States
States Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming
Federal district District of Columbia
Insular areas American Samoa | Baker Island | Guam | Howland Island | Jarvis Island | Johnston Atoll | Kingman Reef | Midway Atoll | Navassa Island | Northern Mariana Islands | Palmyra Atoll | Puerto Rico | Virgin Islands | Wake Island

Links: Addme | Keyword Research | Paid Inclusion | Femail | Software | Completive Intelligence

Add URL | About Slider | FREE Slider Toolbar - Simply Amazing
Copyright © 2000-2008 All rights reserved.
Content is distributed under the GNU Free Documentation License.