First settled by Polynesians sailing
from other Pacific islands between A.D. 300 and 600,
Hawaii was visited in 1778 by British captain James
Cook, who called the group the Sandwich Islands.
Hawaii was a native kingdom throughout most of the
19th century, when the expansion of the sugar
industry (pineapple came after 1898) meant
increasing U.S. business and political involvement.
In 1893, Queen Liliuokalani was deposed, and a year
later the Republic of Hawaii was established with
Sanford B. Dole as president. Following annexation
(1898), Hawaii became a U.S. territory in 1900.
The Japanese attack on the naval base at Pearl
Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, was directly responsible for
U.S. entry into World War II.
Hawaii, 2,397 mi west-southwest of San Francisco, is
a 1,523-mile chain of islets and eight main
islands—Hawaii, Kahoolawe, Maui, Lanai, Molokai,
Oahu, Kauai, and Niihau. The Northwestern Hawaiian
Islands, other than Midway, are administratively
part of Hawaii.
The temperature is mild, and cane sugar, pineapple,
and flowers and nursery products are the chief
products. Hawaii also grows coffee beans, bananas,
and macadamia nuts. The tourist business is Hawaii's
largest source of outside income.
Hawaii's highest peak is Mauna Kea (13,796 ft).
Mauna Loa (13,679 ft) is the largest volcanic
mountain in the world by volume.
Among the major points of interest are Hawaii
Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii), Haleakala National
Park (Maui), Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical
Park (Hawaii), Polynesian Cultural Center (Oahu),
the USS Arizona and USS Missouri Memorial at Pearl
Harbor, The National Memorial Cemetery of the
Pacific (Oahu), and Iolani Palace (the only royal
palace in the U.S.), Bishop Museum, and Waikiki
Beach (all in Honolulu).