Introduction - HawaiiLocated in the Central Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is one of two non-contiguous states in the United States of America, the other being Alaska. Known for its tropical climate, it is made up of a group of volcanic islands which lie in isolation 2,390 miles (3,846 kilometers) off the coast of California. Some of the must see sights when visiting Hawaii include Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Honolulu (the state capital), and the world famous beaches. There are many interesting, fun, and historical facts about Hawaii in the lists below. This information is written for both kids and adults. For quick general facts about this state, such as what the population is, where the capital is, and how big it is go to the "State of Hawaii Quick Facts" section at US Non-Contiguous State Facts.
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Hawaii Interesting Facts
- Hawaii gets its name from the Polynesian word hawaiki which translates to "place of the gods" or "homeland".
- Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. made up entirely of islands.
- There are eight major islands in Hawaii they are Kauai, Miihau, Oahu, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe, and the Big Island of Hawaii. Hawaii also has 124 smaller islands.
- The Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated populated place on earth; they are 2,390 miles (3,846 kilometers) from the coast of California and 3,850 miles (6,196 kilometers) from Japan's coast.
- The Hawaiian Islands span a distance of 1,523 miles (2,451 kilometers); this makes Hawaii the longest island chain in the world.
- The world's tallest volcano, Mauna Kea, is located on the Big island of Hawaii. It stands 13,803 feet (4,207 meters) above sea level. Measured from its ocean floor base to is peak it is the tallest mountain in the world at 33,100 feet (10,100 meters), several thousand more than the world's highest (above sea level) mountain, Mount Everest.
- Hawaii is the only state, out of the 50 U.S. states, that has a tropical rainforest.
- The world's largest dormant volcano, Haleakala, is located on the Island of Maui.
- The Iolani Palace, which can be found in Honolulu, is the only royal palace within the U.S.
- Hawaii is the only U.S. state that is able to grow coffee plants commercially. It is the only state with ideal conditions such as rich soil, a tropical climate and a high altitude. Coffee is grown throughout the Hawaiian Islands but Kona coffee, grown on the Big Island, stands out as one of the best and most expensive.
- Hawaii is the only U.S. state that is getting bigger. The Kilauea Volcano, on the Big Island continuously erupts pouring hot lava into the ocean which eventually hardens forming more land area.
Hawaii Historical Facts
- The earliest inhabitants came from Polynesia, crossing the Pacific in canoes 1,000 to 1,400 years ago.
- The first known European to arrive in Hawaii was Captain James Cook, a British explorer. His first contact with Hawaiians occurred in January of 1778, when he landed on Kauai. He was killed by Hawaiian villagers just one year later during a follow-up exploratory trip.
- On December 7, 1941 the Japanese launched a two-hour surprise assault on Pearl Harbor on the Island of Oahu. The attack killed approximately 2,000 Americans and destroyed numerous battleships, airplanes and naval vessels.
- One day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a speech, known as the Infamy Speech, in which he declared December 7, 1941 as "a date which will live in infamy". The U.S. entered World War II when Congress declared war on Japan immediately following the speech.