After its discovery by the Englishman, Captain James Cook, Great Britain played a major role in Hawai'i's history for many years. In the early days of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the British served as advisers to Kamehameha the Great and his successors.
In 1845, under Kamehameha III's rule, the Hawaii flag displaying a small Union Jack (Great Britain's flag) in the upper left corner was dedicated. It also included eight alternating stripes symbolizing the major islands. Since that time, the flag has flown over Hawai'i as a kingdom, republic, territory, and now a state.
On August 21, 1959, Hawai'i became the 50th state in the United States. Nicknamed the Aloha State, Hawai'i's capitol city is Honolulu, which is located on the island of O'ahu.
The State Song is Hawai'i Pono'i, and its motto is Ua mau ke ea o ka aina I ka pono. Translation: The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.
In 1987, the Hawai'i State Legislature passed a law making English and Hawaiian the official state languages.
The state's area measures 10,932 square miles, and according to the 2000 Census, its population is 1,211,537.
The youngest and largest in the chain of islands is Hawai'i, which is still adding to its real estate due to the active volcano, Kilauea. The volcano is said to be the home of Pele, the Hawaiian Volcano Goddess.
The highest points in Hawai'i are Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Both mountains rise over 13,000 feet in elevation, and they are located on the Big Island of Hawai'i.
Shrouded in clouds the year 'round and with an annual rainfall of 460 inches, Waialeale Crater on the island of Kaua'i is the rainiest spot on Earth.
Hawai'i's economy is based on tourism and agriculture, with sugarcane, pineapples, nursery stock, livestock, and macadamia nuts its main products.
Nicknames and Flowers of Major Islands
The Garden Isle: mokihana (actually a green berry)
The Forbidden Island: Niihau s designated "flower" is the white pupu shell
The Gathering Place: yellow ilima
The Friendly Isle: white kukui
The Pineapple Isle: kaunaoa
The Valley Isle: pink lokelani
The Target Island: hinahina
The Big Island: red ohia
Famous People with Ties to Hawai'i
Daniel Kahikina Akaka (born September 11, 1924) Mr. Akaka is the first U.S.
Senator of Native Hawaiian ancestry.
George Ryoichi Ariyoshi (born March 12,
1926) Honolulu-born to Japanese immigrant parents, Mr. Ariyoshi served as the
Governor of Hawai'i from 1974 to 1986. He was the first American of Asian
descent to be elected governor of a state of the United States.
(1789-1869), A Protestant missionary born in Bennington, Vermont, Bingham helped
introduce Christianity to the Hawaiian Islands.
Bernice Pauahi Bishop
(1831-1884), The great-granddaughter of King Kamehameha I, she was a
philanthropist and the largest private landowner in Hawai'i.
"Ben" Cayetano (born November 14, 1939) He is The first Filipino American to
serve as a state governor in the United States. Cayetano was Governor of Hawai'i
from 1994 to 2002.
Captain James Cook (1728-1779) An English explorer and
navigator, Cook made three voyages to the Pacific Ocean. He discovered Hawai'i
in 1778, and he died there in a fight with Hawaiians the following year.
Damien de Veuster (1840 -1889) A Catholic priest from Belgium, Father Damien
worked with people who had leprosy or Hansen's Disease on the island of Moloka'i.
A ceremony making Father Damien a saint in the Roman Catholic Church is
scheduled for October, 2009.
James D. Dole (1877-1958) An American industrialist,
he established the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, which later became the
Dole Food Company.
Sanford Ballard Dole (1844 -1926) Born in Honolulu to Christian missionaries from Maine, Dole went on to become President of the Republic of Hawaii. Also, he was a cousin of James Dole.
Hiram Leong Fong (1906-2004) The first Asian American and Chinese American to be elected to the United States Senate. He served from 1959 to 1977.
Daniel Ken Inouye (born September 7, 1924) Mr. Inouye was the first Japanese-American to serve in the United States Congress. He was elected Hawai'i's first U.S. Representative in 1959, and he became a Senator in 1963. Senator Inouye is a World War II veteran, and the recipient of the Medal of Honor.
Elizabeth Ka'ahumanu (1768-1832) A politically powerful ruler, she was also the favorite wife of Kamehameha I.
King Kamehameha I (circa 1740-1819) Also known as Kamehameha the Great, he was the first of a long line of family members who ruled Hawai'i for more than 100 years. He formally established the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810.
Queen Lili'uokalani (1838-1917) The last ruler and only female monarch of the Kingdom of Hawai'i.
Linda Lingle (born June 4, 1953) Hawai'i's first female governor, she took office in 2002.
She was also Hawai'i's first Republican governor to be re-elected to a second term.
William Lunalilo (1835-1874) He became king in 1873 by vote of the Hawaiian Legislature. Lunalilo ruled the Kingdom of Hawai'i from January 8, 1873 until February 3, 1874, making his the shortest reign in the monarchy.
David Kalakaua I (1836 1891) Also known as The Merrie Monarch, he was the last king of the Kingdom of Hawai'i.
Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink (1927 2002) A Japanese-American and the first Asian American woman elected to Congress. she was also the first female elected to Congress from the state of Hawai'i.
Barack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961) Born in Honolulu, he is the first African American to become President of the United States.
John David Waihe'e III (born May 19, 1946) The first American of Native Hawaiian descent to be elected to the office from any state of the United States, he served as the fourth Governor of Hawai'i from 1986 to 1994.