Hawaii (Hawaiian: Hawai‘i) is a group of volcanic islands in the central Pacific Ocean. The islands lie 2,397 miles from San Francisco, California, to the east and 5,293 miles from Manila, in the Philippines, to the west. The capital is Honolulu, located on the island of Oahu. The islands were annexed by the United States in 1900, and as a U.S. territory saw population expansion and the establishment of a plantation system for growing sugar cane and pineapples. On the morning of December 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu. The surprise attack destroyed nearly 20 vessels, killed more than 2,000 American soldiers and propelled the United States into World War II. Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state on August 21, 1959.
Date of Statehood: August 21, 1959
Population: 1,360,301 (2010)
Size: 10,926 square miles
Nickname(s): Aloha State
Motto: Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono (“The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”)
Tree: Kukui (Candlenut)
Flower: Pua Aloalo (Yellow Hibiscus)
Before the arrival of British Captain James Cook in 1778, the Hawaiian language was strictly oral. Natives were taught by missionaries to read their language so that they could communicate the scriptures of the Bible. Banned in 1898 when Hawaii became a U.S. Territory and then resurrected as the official language in 1978, Hawaiian contains only 13 letters: five vowels and eight consonants.
In 1866, after leprosy had begun to swiftly spread among the Hawaiian population without a cure, more than 100 victims were forcefully shipped to Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai to live in complete isolation. At its peak in 1890, more than 1,000 people resided in the colony.
Mount Waialeale on Kauai is one of the wettest places on earth. It receives an average of around 460 inches of rain each year.
With rich volcanic soil and ideal farming conditions, Hawaii is the only U.S. state that grows coffee. In 2006, Kona coffee was named by Forbes.com as one of the world’s top 10 most expensive brews at around $34 per pound.
Standing 13,796 feet above sea level, Mauna Kea is Hawaii’s tallest volcano. But it stretches an additional 19,680 feet below the surface of the water, making Mauna Kea the tallest mountain in the world at 33,476 feet. Mount Everest’s elevation, measured from sea level, is 29,035 feet.
Hawaii’s population center is the most isolated on Earth—more than 2,300 miles from the United States, 3,850 miles from Japan, 4,900 miles from China and 5,280 miles from the Philippines.
Hawaii’s Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain on earth, with a height of over 30,000 feet from its base—on the floor of the Pacific Ocean—to its peak.
Hawaiian History Events
1778: Captain James Cook lands at Waimea Bay on the island of Kauai, becoming the first European to make contact with the Hawaiian Islands. Cook names the archipelago the “Sandwich Islands” after the Earl of Sandwich. A year later, Cook is killed at Kealakekua Bay on the island of Hawaii.
1790: The Battle of Kepaniwai was fought between forces from the island of Hawaii and Maui.
1795: Battle of Nuuanu takes place on the southern shores of Oahu. It was a key battle in Kamehameha's campaign to unite the islands.
1795-1874: The Kamehameha dynasty reigns over Hawaii.
1819: Liholiho, son of Kamehameha, defies the tradition of men and women eating separately during a feast, which leads to the abolishment of the kapu (taboo) system.
1820: The first missionaries arrive in Hawaii.
1820-1845: Lahaina was the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom
1835: The first sugar plantation opens on Kauai. The Hawaiian Islands garner recognition for their prime agricultural land. Agriculture becomes a dominant economic force.
1909: Cozy Cole 1933: Floyd Cramer 1941: Jim Seals (Seals and Crofts) 1941: Alan Howard (Brian Poole and the Tremeloes) 1942: Gary Puckett 1947: David St. Hubbins (Spinal Tap) 1949: Bill Hudson (The Hudson Brothers)
1972: Billy Williams 1981: Alberta Hunter 1991: Tennessee Ernie Ford 1999: Thomas Durden 2001: Jay Livingston 2002: Bashful Brother Oswald 2007: Teresa Brewer
1919: The Radio Corporation of America, soon to be simply known as RCA, is founded by General Electric as a publicly-held monopoly, in much the same way "the phone company" was originally envisioned. 1945: Ava Gardner marries her second husband, bandleader Artie Shaw. 1957: Elvis' third film, Jailhouse Rock, has its world premiere at the Loews State Theatre in Memphis, TN -- the same moviehouse where Elvis had his first job as an usher just five years earlier. 1960: Dion and the Belmonts' breakup becomes official when it is reported in Billboard magazine.
Lead singer Dion DiMucci claims the group's not bluesy enough; the band claims Dion just wants a taste of solo fame. 1962: The Beatles make their very first television appearance anywhere when part of their afternoon show at the Cavern in Liverpool is broadcast live on Granada television's People And Places. The band performs two songs: "Some Other Guy" and "Love Me Do." 1963: The Beatles record the first of their "Christmas Records," spoken word greetings sent out on vinyl to members of their fan club. 1967:Hair, the world's first hippie rock musical, makes its public debut at the New York Shakespeare Festival. 1967: The Beatles attend a small, quiet memorial service for their manager Brian Epstein, held at the New London Synagogue in St. John's Wood (near the Abbey Road Studios). 1967: Phil Spector, Tommy Boyce, and Bobby Hart all guest star on tonight's "Jeannie, The Hip Hippie" episode of NBC-TV's I Dream of Jeannie. 1969: Having been refused union admission to American stages for four years due to both the Davies' brothers incessant fighting and a procedural violation during their last appearance on the NBC-TV show Hullabaloo!, the Kinks make their triumphant return, opening for Spirit at the Fillmore East in New York. 1970: While attending the Gospel Quartet Convention in Memphis, Elvis Presley indulges himself in a lifelong passion by singing backstage with members of the legendary Blackwood Brothers and the equally notable Statesmen Quartet, both major early influences on the singer. 1975: Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees marries his second wife, Yvonne Spencely. 1981: One man is killed and another injured in an attempted burglary of Rolling Stones ticket offices in Maryland. 1987: With their #1 comeback hit "You Win Again," the Bee Gees become the first group to score a UK Number One hit in three separate decades -- the 60s, 70s, and 80s. 1991: Sixties British singer Sandie Shaw is arrested and fined 100 pounds for refusing to take a breathalyzer test outside her home in London. 1995: The largest video release of all time is made by Rhino Home Video: 21 cassette tapes featuring 58 episodes of NBC-TV's The Monkees. 1999: Having been diagnosed with a severe case of pneumonia, Johnny Cash is admitted to Baptist Hospital in Nashville. 2000: At a charity auction organized by Mick Fleetwood in London, singer George Michael pays one and a half million pounds for the upright piano on which John Lennon wrote the 1971 hit "Imagine." 2005: Fats Domino returns to his Ninth Ward home for the first time since Hurricane Katrina to find it utterly destroyed, with his piano and several of his gold records among the ruined items. 2007: The section of West Grand Blvd. in Detroit, MI, that once housed the Motown studios is officially renamed "Berry Gordy Jr. Boulevard." 2007: California claims singer and resident Dionne Warwick owes $2.67 million in unpaid taxes.
1966: The Zombies, "She's Not There" 1968: Jose Feliciano, "The Star-Spangled Banner" 1979: Fleetwood Mac, Tusk
1940: Will Bradley, "Five O'Clock Whistle" 1956: Mickey and Sylvia, "Love Is Strange" 1963: The Beatles, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" 1963: Bobby Goldsboro, "See The Funny Little Clown" 1967: Bob Dylan: "Drifter's Escape," "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine," "The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest" 1978: Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers"
1960: The Drifters' "Save The Last Dance For Me" hits #1 1964: Manfred Mann's "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" hits #1 1970: The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" hits #1