Hawaii is a U.S. state; the only one which is in Oceania. It is the last state which joined the United States. Hawaii became a state on August 21, 1959. It is the only state made only of islands. Hawaii is also the name of the largest island. The capital and largest city of Hawaii is Honolulu on the island is named Oahu.
Hawaii is known as the "Aloha State". Aloha is a Hawaiian word that has many meanings like welcome, hello and goodbye. Aloha also means love and care. The different meanings are brought together in the term "Aloha Spirit" to describe the friendly people of Hawaii.
The state flower is the yellow hibiscus (Hibiscus brackenridgei or ma'o hau hele). The state bird is the Hawaiian goose (nene). The state fish is the reef triggerfish, also called the humu humu nuku nuku apua'a. The state tree is the candlenut, also called kukui. The state song is Hawaii Ponoi. The state motto is Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono. In English it says, The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.
The first people of Hawaii were Polynesians. They came to the islands sometime between 200 and 600 AD. Captain James Cook is given credit for discovering the islands for the Europeans in 1778. Others may have been there before him. Captain Cook named the islands the Sandwich Islands for the fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montague.
Kamehameha I was the first king of Hawaii. He united the separate small Hawaiian kingdoms into one large kingdom in 1795. In 1893, American soldiers stopped Queen Liliuokalani from leading Hawaii when American business people took over the government and made their own laws. She was the last monarch of Hawaii. She also wrote the original words of the song called Aloha Oe.
The American business people made Hawaii into a republic for a short time. The new leader, Sanford Dole was called the President of Hawaii. In 1898, the United States of America took over the government and made Hawaii into a territory. In 1959, Hawaii became the fiftieth American state.
Hawaii is an archipelago, a long chain of islands. There are eight main islands and many small islands and atolls. They are the tops of underwater volcanos. The main islands are Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui and Hawaii.
The biggest industry of Hawaii is tourism. Almost 7 million people visited in 2000. Important exports are sugar, pineapple, macadamia nuts, and coffee.
Popular tourist sites include Waikiki Beach, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Polynesian Cultural Center, and the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.