The Hawaii reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
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Image:Us-hi-smal.jpg Image:Hawaiistateseal.jpg
(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 (spelled Hawai'i in Hawaiian), is the North Pacific Ocean archipelago of the Hawaiian Islands, constituting the 50th state of the United States. As of the 2000 Census, the population of Hawaii was 1,211,537. Honolulu is the largest city and the state capital.

Hawaii's distinctions among U.S. states include being

Table of contents
1 State Symbols
2 Language
3 History
4 Geology and Geography
5 Law and Government
6 Economy
7 Demographics
8 Education
9 Famous People From Hawaii
10 Miscellaneous Information
11 External Links

State Symbols


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.

Although standard American English is the language of formal business in the Islands, many people, especially those born and raised in Hawaii, speak and understand Hawaiian Pidgin in everyday conversation. Primarily a spoken language based on English, it includes words from Hawaiian, Chinese, and Japanese, among others.


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 united for the first time 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, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Hawaii Statehood Admission Act which allowed Hawaii to join the Union as the 50th state. Hawaii formally became an state on August 21, 1959.

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 the U.S. participation in the overthrow of the monarchy. 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

Islands and Counties of the State of Hawaii
In grey: County name ~ Within parenthesis in blue: Individual island name

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 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.

Unlike other states, municipal governments in Hawaii operate only at the county level. There are no incorporated cities in Hawaii, other than the consolidated City & County of Honolulu.

See: List of counties in Hawaii, US Congressional Delegations from Hawaii


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 nursery 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, 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 to move more decision-making power to the school level. Current Governor Linda Lingle is a proponent of decentralization, replacing the current Board with seven elected district boards; the Democrat-controlled state legislature opposes this proposal. Discussion of reform is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Colleges and Universities

Famous People From Hawaii

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 is located in the Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time Zone (UTC-10). Hawaii is one of three U.S. states that do not observe Daylight Saving Time.

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

Many television shows have been set in Hawaii, including Hawaii Five-O and Magnum P.I

Pele is the well-known goddess of Hawaii's volcanoes. Local legends and ghost stories often revolve around her visits, as well as sightings of Menehune and Nightmarchers.

Hawaii is home to two of the largest independent schools in the United States: Punahou School and the Kamehameha Schools.

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.

Hanafuda is a popular card game among Japanese-Americans living in Hawaii.

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

External Links

Pacific Islands
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

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Federal district District of Columbia
Insular areas American Samoa | Baker Island | Guam | Howland Island | Jarvis Island | Johnston Atoll | Kingman Reef | Midway Atoll | Northern Mariana Islands | Palmyra Atoll | Puerto Rico | U.S. Virgin Islands | Wake Island