Hawaii (state), only island state and the southernmost state in the United States. Hawaii consists of the Hawaiian Islands and a few other geographically unrelated islets located near the center of the northern Pacific Ocean. The state is composed of eight main islands and 124 islets, reefs, and shoals. Honolulu, the capital and largest city of Hawaii, lies about 3,900 km (about 2,400 mi) from the western coast of the United States mainland.
The Aloha State, as Hawaii was officially nicknamed upon becoming the 50th state of the Union on August 21, 1959, occupies a land area almost wholly volcanic in origin. Some small areas above sea level consist of limestone derived from ancient coral reefs. These reefs were formed during periods when the sea level was higher than it is now. The diverse scenery in Hawaii also includes mountains rising to more than 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) above sea level; great stretches of barren lava beds; golden beaches rimmed by palm trees; magnificent cliffs and brightly colored canyons; dense rain forests and arid thorny scrublands; and a multi-hued patchwork of field and forest.
The Hawaiian Islands were originally settled by Polynesian immigrants more than 1,000 years ago but probably remained unknown beyond Polynesia until Captain James Cook reached the islands in 1778. He named them the Sandwich Islands in honor of his patron, John Montagu, the fourth earl of Sandwich. In 1796 King Kamehameha I united the islands into a single independent kingdom. In 1893 the Hawaiian monarch was deposed, and Hawaii became successively a republic in 1894, a U.S. possession in 1898, and a U.S. territory in 1900. During the last half of the 19th century, Hawaii developed a plantation economy based on the cultivation of sugar and, later, pineapples, for export. Thousands of immigrants, mostly from Asia, came to work on the plantations. The name of the state is taken from that of the island of Hawaii and is a Polynesian word of uncertain meaning. In the 19th century the name was extended to the entire archipelago.
Hawaii’s place in modern world history was set on December 7, 1941, when a massive Japanese air attack on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor and other military installations in Hawaii precipitated the United States’ entry into World War II. Hawaii’s role as one of the forward bases of U.S. military power has continued to the present day. Hawaii’s postwar years were also marked by the diversification of its economy, with a great expansion of tourism, military expenditure, and some industry, and by admission to the Union in 1959.
Hawaii is the only state where all the people belong to what are, in Hawaii, minority groups. There is little racial discrimination, although it is not entirely absent. For the most part, the state’s residents live in a society that represents a uniquely harmonious fusion of races, languages, religions, and cultures. Most of the residents of Hawaii do not usually call themselves Hawaiians. They tend to reserve this term for those of their fellow citizens who have Hawaiian ancestry.
A growing movement in Hawaii is to use diacritical marks to guide the pronunciation of Hawaiian names. For this article, the publisher has chosen to retain spellings more familiar to readers.
The state of Hawaii is made up of an island chain that extends for about 2,600 km (about 1,600 mi) between the island of Hawaii in the southeast and Kure Island in the northwest. The state has a total area of 28,311 sq km (10,931 sq mi), including 98 sq km (38 sq mi) of inland water. It is the fourth smallest state. The mean elevation is about 920 m (3,030 ft).
Nearly all of the state’s total area is accounted for by eight main islands, which are from east to west Hawaii, Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, and Niihau. Northwestward from the main islands extends a long string of islets, coral reefs, and shoals. The largest of these is Laysan, which covers only 400 hectares (1,000 acres). These landforms are either uninhabited or are sparsely populated by people staffing government facilities.
The state of Hawaii is not coextensive with the geographical unit called the Hawaiian Islands, or Hawaiian Chain. The inhabited Midway Islands, in the northwest, are not part of the state but are administered by the U.S. government as a separate dependency. The atoll of Palmyra, an island southwest of the main islands, was part of the Territory of Hawaii but was specifically excluded from the state when statehood was achieved in 1959. It remains a U.S. territory.
|A||Formation of the Islands and Volcanoes|
The Hawaiian Islands and the many seamounts to the northwest represent the exposed peaks and submerged mountains of a great chain of extinct, dormant, or active volcanoes. This chain has been forming for many millions of years as vast outpourings of lava issue from a relatively fixed vent or “hot spot” of volcanic activity on the deep ocean floor. This hot spot is believed to have remained in its present general position for many millions of years. The large tectonic plate (see Plate Tectonics) that forms the floor of much of the Pacific Ocean appears to be moving slowly in a northwesterly direction at a rate of about 10 cm (4 in) a year. Lava flows pouring out of this vent over long periods of geological time have built a series of broad, gently sloping volcanoes. Each has subsequently migrated to the northwest along with the slowly moving tectonic plate. Eventually becoming distant from the hot spot, the volcanoes become dormant and then extinct. Over long periods of time the volcanoes submerge into the sea as their great mass causes them to sink back into the crust, leaving no volcanic rock above sea level. Over time, coral growth produces first fringe and then barrier reefs, and the tops of the sinking volcanoes become completely covered with coral (see Coral Reef). In this process atolls, such as Laysan, Midway, and Kure, have formed at the northwest end of the Hawaiian Archipelago. Atolls are characterized by a large lagoon surrounded by a barrier reef which protects one or more small, low lying, sandy islets.
The still active, and therefore younger, volcanoes of Hawaii today are technically those that have erupted since written records have been kept. These active volcanoes include one on the island of Maui, three on the island of Hawaii, and a recently discovered submarine volcano, Loihi, about 35 km (about 20 mi) southeast of the island of Hawaii.
Above the surface of the ocean the lava and limestone rock has been subjected to erosion, and today the islands of Hawaii reflect the intensity and duration of these forces of erosion. The oldest islands, in the northwest, have been worn down to sea level and are now represented only by low atolls and coral reefs that rest on the submerged remnants of volcanoes. Farther southeastward are tiny lava islets. The southeastern end of the island chain is geologically the most recent section and includes the eight main islands. The island of Hawaii, the most recent of all, is the highest and largest island and, compared with the other main islands, has not been heavily eroded since it is still in the formative stage.
On the other, older main islands the long dormant volcanoes have been heavily eroded and the mountain ranges are characterized by steep slopes and numerous sharp ridges. As the process of erosion continues, all the main islands are being slowly worn down.
The effects of earth movements and changing sea levels have also altered the physical appearance of the islands. For example, lower and higher sea levels, and perhaps some subsidence, or the sinking of the land, has caused the formation of Pearl Harbor. Uplifting, or the rising of the land, has left former beaches along the Oahu coast high above the sea. In addition, higher sea levels and uplifting of some of the ancient coral reefs that fringe part of the coast has resulted in deposits of limestone along the coast.
The volcanoes of the Hawaiian Islands are all so-called shield volcanoes, or lava domes. Unlike the volcanoes of Alaska and South America, those of Hawaii were not created by very explosive eruptions. Formed mostly by lava flows, they are great rounded mountain masses, rather than steep-sided cones. Mauna Kea, dormant for centuries, is the highest mountain in the state. It rises to 4,205 m (13,796 ft) above sea level, and its summit is dotted with cinder cones formed by fire fountains ejecting millions of small pieces of volcanic cinder and ash.
The state’s two main active volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kilauea, are both on the island of Hawaii. Although they erupt periodically, large-scale volcanic explosions have not occurred in recent history. Eruptions are usually accompanied by minor earthquakes, but large and hazardous earthquakes are known to occur. Lava flows are generally not dangerous, but they have destroyed extensive areas of farmland. The molten lava sometimes reaches the sea and has, in places, created new land areas. Mauna Loa has a summit 4,170 m (13,680 ft) above sea level. Its chief crater, Mokuaweoweo, erupted several times during the 20th century, but the lava that sometimes cascades down its slopes issues from openings on the flanks of the mountain. Kilauea lies on the southeastern slope of Mauna Loa. Halemaumau, a crater in the summit caldera of Kilauea, erupts occasionally and fire fountains near the summit or along the rift zones sometimes eject volcanic particles far into the air.
Lava occurs on all the main islands in either of two basic forms, pahoehoe and aa. Pahoehoe is a smooth, ropelike form of lava with small holes formed by gas escaping as it cooled. Aa is a rougher and more pitted kind of lava, formed when the flow of escaping gas is less regular and of greater intensity.
Among the lava features associated with volcanic eruptions are Pele’s hair and Pele’s tears, which are named for the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes. Pele’s hair is formed when small particles of molten material are thrown into the air and spun out by the wind into long hair-like strands. Pele’s tears are formed when the particles fuse into tearlike drops of volcanic glass.
|B||The Main Islands|
Hawaii, often called the Big Island, is almost twice as large as the rest of the islands combined. Roughly triangular in shape, it extends 150 km (93 mi) from north to south and 122 km (76 mi) from east to west. The island is a huge mountainous mass dominated by two great volcanic peaks, Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. In addition to its great bare lava beds and barren ash-covered slopes, which cover much of the island, Hawaii has large areas of tropical rain forests, numerous waterfalls, and great stretches of rolling grasslands.
Maui, the second largest island, is sometimes called the Valley Isle because it consists of two mountain masses separated by a low, narrow valley-like isthmus. Haleakala, a huge dormant volcano 3,055 m (10,023 ft) high, forms the largest of these mountain masses. Its summit depression is huge, with a circumference of 34 km (21 mi). The lowland isthmus forms a fertile agricultural area.
Molokai is called the Friendly Island because of the hospitality its inhabitants extend to visitors. Its eastern half is a mountainous area that rises to 1,512 m (4,961 ft) at Mount Kamakou. Along the northeastern coast steep cliffs tower as high as 1,100 m (3,600 ft) above the sea. The western half consists of a smaller volcano that rises to 503 m (1,381 ft). Much of this mountain is a generally low plateau, which was formerly used for pineapple growing, and now for cattle ranching and some tourism. On the northern side lies Kalaupapa, a settlement for people with leprosy, or Hansen’s disease. There, Father Damien, a Belgian Roman Catholic priest, labored among the lepers until he died of the disease in 1889.
Lanai, known as the Pineapple Island for the many years it was a prosperous pineapple plantation, was recently opened to tourism. Its years of private ownership by the Dole Food Company and reputation today as a place where visitors can find seclusion has bestowed upon it a new nickname as the Private Island. It is a generally hilly island that rises gradually to 1,027 m (3,369 ft) above sea level at Lanaihale, or Mount Palawai. Cut off in part from the northeast trade winds by Maui and Molokai, the island of Lanai receives very little rainfall except in the summit region surrounding Lanaihale. For a time the land was used mainly for cattle raising. In 1922 most of the island was purchased by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now the Dole Company), which tapped underground reservoirs and valley streams for irrigation water. The workers and their families reside in Lanai City, now the chief community, which lies at the foot of Lanaihale on the Palawai plateau.
Oahu, called the Gathering Place, is the home of 870,000 people, or about three-quarters of the state’s total population, and the site of Honolulu, the state capital. The island is made up of two parallel mountain ranges, which are separated by a low rolling plateau and fringed by narrow coastal plains. The ranges, which run from northwest to southeast, are the Waianae Range on the west and the Koolau Range on the east. Mount Kaala, the highest point on Oahu, rises to 1,227 m (4,025 ft) in the Waianae Range. The Koolau Range reaches a maximum height of 946 m (3,105 ft). On the windward, or northeast, side this range forms a series of spectacular cliffs. Honolulu, by far the largest city in Hawaii, lies on a narrow leeward coastal plain at the foot of the Koolau Range. Nearby are three famous landmarks, Punchbowl, Diamond Head, and Koko Head, all of them the remnant deposits of extinct volcanic vents. At its southern end the plateau merges with a broad coastal plain that encloses Pearl Harbor, Hawaii’s finest harbor.
Kauai, the wettest and greenest of the islands, is often called the Garden Isle. Perhaps the most scenic island of Hawaii, it is an area of luxuriant vegetation, multihued canyons, and numerous streams and waterfalls. The mountain’s highest peak, Kawaikini, rises to 1,598 m (5,243 ft). The windward summit region of the extinct Kauai volcano is one of the wettest areas on earth. Through the centuries the erosive action of torrential streams has produced steep canyons, such as Waimea Canyon. The island’s most popular scenic attraction, this great canyon is 16 km (10 mi) in length and has multicolored walls more than 800 m (2,600 ft) high. On the northwest coast the land drops in a series of huge craggy cliffs called Na Pali. Along other parts of the coast, sugarcane and cattle are raised on narrow lowlands. Kauai has served as the backdrop for a number of movies, including King Kong (1976), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), and Jurassic Park (1993).
Niihau is the private property of the Robinson family, the descendants of Mrs. Elizabeth Sinclair and family, who purchased the island from the Hawaiian government in 1864. Only invited guests of the residents or of the owners are welcome there, and Niihau is frequently called the Aloof Island or Forbidden Island. Some 230 native Hawaiians live and work on Niihau. They speak the old Hawaiian language and follow some of the customs and traditions of their ancestors. Most of the island is low and arid. Too dry for cultivation, the island is used for grazing cattle.
Kahoolowe, the smallest of the main islands, is rocky and sparsely vegetated, especially in the upper region of the island. It has a maximum elevation of only 450 m (1,477 ft). Kahoolawe was used by the U.S. Navy as a target site from 1941 until 1994, when it was ceded to Hawaii. The Navy will control access to the island until 2003, or until all unexploded ordnance is removed.
Hawaii’s total coastline is 1,207 km (750 mi) long. When all the bays and inlets are included, its shoreline is 1,693 km (1,052 mi) long. The coasts of the main islands are generally rocky, with a number of sheer cliffs that tower above the sea. Between bold headlands, which are often the remnants of old volcanoes, lie beaches of coral sands. However, a number of beaches, most of them on the island of Hawaii, are covered by jet-black sand worn from black lava flows.
Coral reefs lie just offshore of many beaches, and great rolling breakers are formed where the ocean thunders over the reefs. The breakers provide excellent surfing conditions in many places, but there is often a dangerous undertow that threatens the unwary and unskilled surfer.
The greatest threat from the sea comes from tsunamis, or giant sea waves. The tsunamis, mistakenly called tidal waves, are set in motion by strong earthquakes and submarine landslides in the region surrounding the Pacific Ocean. Waves as high as 9 m (30 ft) may burst over low-lying coastal areas and can cause much damage. Tsunamis do not occur frequently in Hawaii.
|D||Rivers, Lakes, and Water Supply|
The islands of Hawaii have a number of short streams and a few small ponds, but there are no large lakes. Among the longest rivers, none of which is more than 50 km (30 mi) long, are the Wailua and Waimea rivers, on Kauai, the Wailuku River, on Hawaii, and Kaukonahua Stream, on Oahu. Koloa Reservoir, a body of water that covers 171 hectares (422 acres) on Kauai, is the largest inland lake. Waterfalls abound on most of the main islands.
Lacking large lakes or rivers, the main islands depend on underground reservoirs for their water supply. Much of the rainfall in the islands sinks through the porous surface layers of lava, cinder, and ash until it comes to rest upon more dense saltwater that has permeated from the surrounding ocean.
The eight main islands of Hawaii, which lie just south of the tropic of Cancer, have a tropical climate that is determined by their latitude and oceanic setting and by the influence of the prevailing northeast trade winds.
Average temperatures range between 22° and 26° C (72° and 79° F) throughout the year at low elevations. Lowland temperatures vary only a few degrees from month to month and rarely more than 6° C (10° F) from day to day. Extreme temperatures rarely occur. Daytime temperatures hardly ever rise above 35° C (95° F), and temperatures below freezing are practically unknown at elevations of less than 1,200 m (4,000 ft). Weather conditions above about 2,500 m (about 8,200 ft) can be quite severe, especially during the winter months.
Traditional Hawaiian seasons may be generally classified into two periods. Kau, or the summer period, normally lasts from mid-April until mid-October; ho‘oilo, or the winter season, usually lasts from mid-October to mid-April. Although mild by the standards of temperate areas, the winter season is characterized by slightly lower temperatures than those that occur during the summer, and by frontal or cyclonic storms that can bring strong northerly winds and much rainfall to some areas of the islands.
|E2||Trade Winds and Kona Conditions|
Trade winds from the northeast sweep across the islands nearly all of the time during summer and about one-half of the time during the winter. However, the mountains tend to block their passage. As they flow up the mountain slopes, the winds precipitate their moisture as rainfall. Descending the other side, subsequently, they are quite dry. On Hawaii and Maui the winds tend to flow around, rather than over, the high mountain masses. Consequently, the higher slopes of Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, and Haleakala generally have less rain than the lower slopes.
In Hawaii the mountain slopes that face northward and eastward receive the full force of the rain-bearing trade winds and are referred to as the windward side. The drier slopes facing southward and westward are referred to as the leeward side.
When the trade winds fail, as they often do for short periods during the winter months, the islands may come under the influence of a south or southwest wind, which sometimes brings rain to the leeward side of the islands. These kona winds generally bring uncomfortably warm and muggy weather.
Rainfall varies greatly from place to place and from month to month. In general, the wettest months are November to April.
Rainfall is heaviest on the windward side of the islands and lightest on the leeward side. For example, the windward side of Waialeale peak, on Kauai, receives about 11,680 mm (about 460 in) of rain a year and is one of the wettest spots in the world. However, only a relatively short distance to the southwest, on the leeward side of the mountain, annual rainfall averages only 510 mm (20 in).
Snow frequently covers the upper flanks of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea in winter, and some snow may linger on their summits through the summer months.
Mature, well-developed soils cover less than 10 percent of Hawaii’s total land area. The rest of the state either has shallow soils or lacks soil cover. The development of various soil types is related both to the geologic age of their parent volcanic materials and to the climate under which they formed. In general, the older the parent material and the greater the rainfall, the better developed the soil type. However, there are extensive rocky areas where erosion has stripped away soil cover.
Some of the more-developed soils are yellowish-brown and reddish-brown in color. They are found mainly on the lower windward slopes of Hawaii, Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. Heavy rains have leached, or washed down to lower levels, the soluble minerals in these soils. Nevertheless, the soils are rich in organic matter and, when fertilized, are highly productive. Much of the state’s sugarcane and pineapple crop has been raised on these soils. Other soils that are productive when cultivated are the small areas of mixed latosols and alluvial soils found along stream valleys and on the coastal lowlands of Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. Areas covered with shallow soils, which are often quite stony, are left mainly in forest or, where they occur in grass-covered areas, are used mainly for grazing beef cattle. However, a few such areas, notably the Kona district of western Hawaii and parts of Maui and Molokai, are under cultivation.
Forests and woodlands cover 43 percent of the state’s total land area. Grasslands and pasture cover 25 percent. The plant life of Hawaii is distinguished by its great variety of both native and introduced species and by the remarkably large number of plants that are endemic, or unique, to the island chain. It is likely that Hawaii’s native vegetation, which flourished on the islands long before the first Polynesian settlers arrived, evolved from relatively few plants. These came from seeds and spores carried to the islands by wind, water, and birds. Common native trees include ohia, hala, and koa.
The Polynesians brought with them such useful food plants as the coconut, breadfruit, sweet potato, yam, banana, sugarcane, arrowroot, and taro. They also introduced several trees, among them the candlenut, or kukui, which is the state tree, the mountain or Malay apple, and the paper mulberry.
Since the arrival of Europeans and Americans numerous kinds of trees, shrubs, and especially exotic flowers have been introduced. These species have included pines and mesquite from North America, eucalyptus from Australia, frangipani (plumeria) and guava from tropical America, Bermuda grass from southern Europe, and gorse from western Europe. The introduced species now form important and even dominant elements in the islands’ vegetation. The great profusion of wildflowers in Hawaii includes native species, introduced species, and new crossbred combinations. In addition to the more than 5,000 varieties of the hibiscus, there are hundreds of kinds of orchids. All but a few of these orchids are alien species, meaning they were introduced to Hawaii by humans. Torch gingers, jacarandas, bauhinia, and poinsettias are among many other ornamental species that also flourish.
The islands can be divided into a series of vegetation zones.
The low, dry coastal flats and the lower mountain slopes on the leeward side of the islands are now dominated by alien plants such as mesquite, koa haole, cactus, drought resistant grasses, and occasionally by two native trees, the wiliwili and the naio, or bastard sandalwood. The introduced coconut palm is common along some beaches. Higher up the leeward slopes this zone merges with a so-called dry forest zone where the most common tree is the kukui, the state tree. Koa haole, lantana, cactus, and alien weedy species form dense thickets interspersed with grasses in this zone. Niihau and Kahoolawe lie entirely within these two zones.
Still higher up on the leeward slopes and extending upward from sea level on the windward slopes lies a more humid forest zone, where the principal trees are the ohia and the koa and the undergrowth is dense and luxurious. There is a zone of rain forest where the annual rainfall exceeds 1,500 mm (60 in). The rain forest includes the leeward slopes of Hawaii and Maui between 1,200 and 2,400 m (4,000 and 8,000 ft), and the region extending upward from near sea level on the wetter windward slopes. In this zone the ohia is associated with giant tree ferns, lobelias, and many other native species.
On Hawaii and Maui alone, there are two zones above the rain forest zone, where the trees thin out as the climate grows drier and colder. Above the timberline, about 3,000 m (about 10,000 ft) above sea level, lies a zone of desertlike high elevation vegetation of low, scrubby plants and scattered grasses. Among the five endemic species of Hawaiian silversword plants, one is a rare and spectacular plant found only near the summit of Haleakala on Maui, and on high mountains on Hawaii. It has long, curved, succulent leaves with tiny white hairs that give the plant a silver appearance. Once during its lifetime it sends forth a tall stalk with hundreds of blossoms, and then it dies. Above this zone, on the upper slopes of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, there is a dry, barren alpine zone devoid of vegetation except for mosses and lichens.
Forms of land-animal life native to Hawaii are limited to insects, land snails, one bat species, and several kinds of birds. The most abundant forms are the insects and land snails, which together number more than 5,000 endemic species. The islands’ first animal inhabitants may have been carried by the wind or on floating debris from lands as much as 3,000 km (2,000 mi) away. The endemic species of today all evolved from these early migrants.
Birds resident in Hawaii are both native and introduced. A total of 222 birds are on a national list of endangered species, accounting for more than one-half of the entire list. The honeycreepers are the largest group of native land birds unique to the islands. Native land birds include the elepaio, the amakihi, the liwi, the apapane, the io, or Hawaiian hawk, the alala, or Hawaiian crow, and the nēnē, or goose, which is the state bird. The koloa, or Hawaiian duck, is found mainly on the island of Kauai. Resident and migrant seabirds are common along the coasts and on the small islands northwest of the main group. They include terns, tropic birds, boobies, shearwaters, petrels, and frigate birds.
The most common introduced game birds are the California quail, coturnix, ring-necked pheasant, and green pheasant. Other introduced birds in Hawaii include the peafowl, Chinese thrush, Indian myna, varied tit, red-billed leiothrix, and Japanese white-eye, all from Asia; the house sparrow and skylark, from Europe; the western meadowlark, northern cardinal, mockingbird, and house finch, from North America; and the red-crested, or Brazilian, cardinal, from South America.
People have introduced all of Hawaii’s land mammals except a rare native insectivorous bat. The early Polynesians introduced dogs, pigs, and one species of rat. To these, Europeans and Americans added cattle, sheep, goats, cats, two more species of rats, mice, mongooses, mouflon (a kind of wild sheep), axis deer, and other varieties of pigs. Wild land mammals are mainly domestic stock that has reverted to the wild. These are primarily ungulates (hoofed mammals) such as goats, sheep, pigs, and at one time cattle and horses. These wild hoofed mammals have caused a great amount of damage to the native vegetation and soil environments of Hawaii. Wild cats are numerous and have had a large impact on native birds.
Reptiles and amphibians, all introduced, include frogs, toads, turtles, lizards, geckos, and a blind burrowing snake.
More than 650 species of fish are found in Hawaiian waters. The porgy, called mamamu in Hawaiian, and the aholehole are found in brackish waters along the coasts. In deep water are found the marlin, swordfish, albacore, bonito, skipjack (aku), bigeye tuna, wahoo, yellowfin tuna (ahi), snapper (opakapaka), scad (akule), mackerel (opelu), and cavalla (ulua). Dolphins, marine turtles, lobsters, and other forms of marine life are also found in offshore waters.
The principal conservation activities in Hawaii include the prevention of soil erosion, the maintenance of an ample water supply, and the preservation of Hawaii’s unique plant and animal resources and its magnificent scenery. The principal state groups active in conservation are the Conservation Council for Hawaii, National Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Moanalua Gardens Foundation, The Nature Center, and the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources. Federal agencies include the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service.
Soil erosion has been a serious problem in Hawaii, especially on the steep hillsides and mountain slopes that have been stripped of their protective cover of vegetation by overgrazing and the excessive cutting of timber. The removal of this cover has also resulted in an increase in runoff, which has been a threat to the state’s groundwater supplies. On Oahu some denuded slopes have been reforested with species of commercially valueless softwoods in order to reduce both erosion and runoff. Throughout the islands many watersheds have been designated as forest preserves, which include both public and private lands.
The development of commercial agriculture and the spread of urbanization have also resulted in extensive changes in the patterns of land use. However, along with numerous conservation measures, Hawaii has adopted a statewide zoning system to provide for planned economic and urban growth without the misuse of the state’s valuable but limited natural resources.
In 2006 the state had 3 hazardous waste sites on a national priority list for cleanup due to their severity or proximity to people. Progress was being made in efforts to reduce pollution; in the period 1995–2000 the amount of toxic chemicals discharged into the environment was reduced by 18 percent.
Hawaii’s economic structure has undergone a succession of changes since the last years of the 18th century. At that time the native Hawaiians had a comparatively primitive but self-sufficient, ecologically sustainable economy based on farming and fishing. Subsequently, increased contact with the outside world brought a variety of new crops to the islands and spurred the development of trade. But there was no dominant economic development in Hawaii until the second half of the 19th century. Between the 1860s and 1930s, Hawaii’s economy was dominated by large plantation cultivation and the exporting of sugar and, beginning around 1900, pineapples. In the 1930s the U.S. government accelerated development of military installations in Hawaii. Federal expenditures in Hawaii before and during World War II (1939-1945) rapidly became a major source of income and employment.
Although economic activity declined after the war, it recovered in the 1950s as efforts were made to reduce Hawaii’s economic reliance on a few sources of income. During the 1950s and 1960s, manufacturing was diversified and expanded, a large-scale tourist industry was developed, and trade with the mainland and foreign countries was increased.
Expenditures by the federal government, for both military and nonmilitary purposes, are a principal source of income for residents of Hawaii. Tourism is the most important driver of economic activity. Second in importance is manufacturing, followed by agriculture, which is dominated by sugar. In recent years, plantation production of both sugarcane and pineapple has declined significantly. For more than a century tariffs and advanced agricultural technology kept cultivation of these crops economically viable. Recently, the relatively high labor costs in Hawaii have weakened the commercial competitiveness of sugarcane and pineapple. The large number of people engaged in trade reflects the importance of commerce to Hawaii, which must import many items.
Hawaii had a work force of 643,000 in 2006. Of those, 41 percent were employed in the services, doing such jobs as working in hospitals or serving in restaurants. Another 20 percent percent worked in federal, state, or local government, including those in the military; 20 percent in wholesale or retail trade; 35 percent in finance, insurance, or real estate; 19 percent in transportation or public utilities; 6 percent in construction; 4 percent in farming (including agricultural services), forestry, or fishing; and 3 percent in manufacturing. In 2005, 26 percent of Hawaii’s workers belonged to a labor union. Hawaii, along with New York, had the highest rate of unionization in the country.
|A||Economic Role of the Armed Forces|
Compared with other states, Hawaii is unique in the great importance of military installations and military expenditures to the state’s economy. Camp Smith, on the island of Oahu, is headquarters for Marine Forces Pacific, the unified U.S. military command for the entire Pacific. Other principal military installations in the state are the naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hickam Air Force Base, Wheeler Air Force Base, Lualualei Naval Magazine, Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, and the Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter military reservations, all on Oahu; and Barking Sands Missile Range on Kauai. Military expenditures for construction, maintenance, and payrolls are an integral part of business life in Hawaii. In addition, an important factor in the economy of Hawaii is the purchasing power of the military personnel stationed there and their dependents.
In 2005 there were 5,500 farms in Hawaii. Farmland occupied 526,091 hectares (1,300,000 acres), of which 16 percent was cropland. The rest was mostly pasture. Some 33 percent of the cropland was irrigated.
For years sugarcane was Hawaii’s most important crop, and pineapple was the second most important farm product. Now the two are of roughly equal value to the farm economy. Most of Hawaii’s sugarcane, pineapples, and livestock are raised on a few very large plantations and ranches. Although small farms are numerous, especially on Oahu, they occupy only a very small area of cropland. The only significant commercial crop produced for export on the small farms is coffee, which is grown in the Kona district in the western part of the island of Hawaii and on plantations on Kauai. Vegetables, fruit, and taro are cultivated mainly for local use.
Pineapples were Hawaii’s leading crop by value in 1997, surpassing for the first time the income produced by sugarcane. While the production of pineapple decreased steadily during the 1990s, an increase in farm prices for pineapple made it Hawaii’s most valuable crop. The Hawaiian Islands once produced more than 40 percent of the world’s supply of canned pineapple and more than 70 percent of its pineapple juice. Production began to decline in the 1960s as companies closed their operations in Hawaii and developed new and more profitable ones in Asia. Pineapple acreage, which was 29,900 hectares (73,800 acres) in 1961, dropped to 8,100 hectares (19,900 acres) in the late 1990s. Pineapple is grown mostly on large plantations on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. Although the fruit is picked by hand, machines do much of the planting and processing.
Much of the pineapple crop is grown on hilly land. Pineapples can be grown on relatively thin soils, but pineapple crops require more irrigation than sugarcane, and fertilizers usually have to be used.
The production of sugarcane, long the leading agricultural product of Hawaii, decreased dramatically during the 1990s. In 1997 it remained, however, the second most valuable crop to the state’s economy. Sugarcane is grown mainly on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu, primarily on the more arid, leeward side of the islands in irrigated fields. The sugarcane harvest varies from year to year, leaving the industry in a state of flux much of the time. The sugar plantations are nearly all large and highly mechanized. The sugarcane harvests are from April to September but utilize the available labor force on a year-round rather than a seasonal basis. Each field of cane is allowed to mature for 22 to 24 months, compared with the 12-month growing period elsewhere in the United States. The longer growing period results in a high concentration of sugar in the cane.
Hawaii has made a strong effort to diversify its agriculture, which used to depend exclusively on sugarcane and pineapples. Coffee, grown primarily along the western coast of Hawaii Island, is a major export crop. Coffee production declined considerably in the 1960s and 1970s but began to recover in the mid-1980s. By the late 1990s the land area devoted to coffee cultivation had nearly tripled. In the same period, flowers, especially orchids, and macadamia nuts increased in importance as exports.
Papayas, bananas, and a wide variety of vegetables are grown on small farms on Oahu, primarily for local consumption. Guavas and passion fruit, although also consumed locally, are becoming increasingly important as exports.
|B4||Livestock and Animal Products|
Beef cattle are raised on large ranches that are located primarily on the islands of Hawaii and Maui. The famous Parker Ranch, the largest in the state, covers 85,000 hectares (210,000 acres) on the island of Hawaii. Privately owned Niihau is devoted primarily to livestock raising. Although large areas of the state’s grazing lands are semiarid environments, there are also well-watered pastures on the windward slopes.
Most of Hawaii’s dairy cattle are raised on Oahu to help meet the food needs of Honolulu and other cities. Because available pastureland is severely limited, most of the dairy cattle are kept on feed lots. Dairy farmers use their few acres of arable land to grow high-yield forage crops. Hogs and chickens are also raised.
Fish has long been a staple food. Although some tuna is packed for export, most of the commercial catch is consumed locally. Tuna accounts for about one-third of the volume of the annual commercial catch, which in 2004 was worth $57 million. Other major food fishes include bigeyed scad, Japanese mackerel, pink and red snapper, and marlin. Sport fishing along the coasts and in offshore areas is popular with tourists.
Hawaii’s resources of sandalwood and another commercially valuable trees were so depleted during the first half of the 19th century that Hawaii no longer has large-scale lumbering activities. However, the state and some private landowners are seeking to restore the native koa tree and develop other species. Forests cover 43 percent of the state, and about half of the total forest land is considered commercial forest. The most valuable woods cut are hardwoods. However, except for the exploitative early 19th century harvesting of native Hawaiian sandalwood trees, the timber industry in Hawaii has not been a very productive sector of the economy.
Hawaii lacks major mineral resources, and mining is limited to the production of materials for construction and road-building purposes. Crushed stone and cement are the two most important mineral products. Sand and gravel, pumice, lime, and coral are also produced. Hawaii has fairly extensive deposits of bauxite and titanium that have not been exploited.
The processing of agricultural products has been the leading industry in Hawaii since the large-scale development of sugarcane and pineapple plantations. Although there has been considerable diversification since the 1940s, raw sugar, pineapples, beef, and other foodstuffs still account for one-third of the income generated by industry. Manufacturing was formerly confined mostly to the Honolulu area, but has now been extended to other islands.
Sugarcane is refined at sugar mills on the plantations to produce raw sugar and molasses, most of which is then shipped to the mainland for final refining and packaging. Bagasse, a sugarcane by-product, has been used in making wallboard and paper and as fuel to generate electricity. Most of the state’s pineapple crop has been canned, frozen, or made into juice or juice concentrate for sale on the mainland. Tropical fruits, especially guava, passion fruit, and papaya, are processed for marketing in the form of canned fruit, juices, jams, and jellies.
Heavy industry in Hawaii is limited mainly to oil refining and the manufacture of steel products, chemicals, and cement. These activities are based mostly on imported raw materials. Besides cement, Hawaii has produced such items for the construction industry as laminated wood beams and bathroom fixtures.
The state’s textile and clothing industry, which supplies both the export and tourist trade, is based on the manufacture of such typical Hawaiian fashions as the brightly colored aloha shirt and the muumuu dress. Other economic activities include printing and publishing and the manufacture of plastic items, furniture, mattresses, perfume, and other consumer goods. Jewelry made from Hawaii’s black, pink, and gold coral is popular with tourists.
Almost all of Hawaii’s electricity is produced by steam- or diesel-driven generating plants that use oil as a fuel. In addition, some power plants on the sugar plantations burn dried bagasse, the fibrous residue of refined sugarcane. A little hydroelectricity is generated on Kauai and Hawaii. The state is studying the feasibility of various alternate energy sources, including solar energy.
The tourist industry is the leading source of income for Hawaii. Oahu is by far the most heavily visited island, but construction and promotion of tourist facilities have helped to popularize the other islands. More than one-half of the visitors are from the mainland, with most of the rest coming from Canada and Japan. The numbers of people coming from the U.S. mainland has decreased in recent years, although a sharp rise in visitors from other countries—particularly Japan—has offset the decline. Tourist expenditures totaled $12.5 billion in 2002.
Hawaii is dependent on sea and air transportation facilities for its economic growth, based on trade and tourism. Hawaii also relies on air and sea links between its component islands.
Most visitors arrive in Hawaii by air. The flight of 3,900 km (2,400 mi) from San Francisco to Honolulu takes less than five hours by commercial airliner. The state has a total of 10 airports. Nearly all of Hawaii’s interisland passenger travel is by airplane, and the state has 5 of the 100 busiest airports in the country, including Honolulu, 23rd busiest in the nation.
|I2||Shipping and Ports|
Oceangoing vessels carry most of Hawaii’s imports and exports. Tugs and barges transport such bulky products as sugar, pineapples, and oil between the islands and along the coasts. Most of this local traffic is made up of farm goods shipped to Honolulu for processing and export and goods from overseas transshipped at Honolulu for the other islands.
Honolulu is by far the leading port of the islands. Other important ports include Barbers Point on Oahu, Kahului on Maui, Hilo on Hawaii, and Nawiliwili Harbor on Kauai.
|I3||Railroads and Highways|
A few short railroads were built before World War II, primarily to carry sugar and pineapples and to move military supplies. Only one tourist line, on Maui, still remains.
Highways provide the basic means of land transportation. In 2005 there were 6,956 km (4,322 mi) of public roads, mostly along the coasts, including 89 km (55 mi) of federal freeways. Access by road to the mountainous areas inland is limited.
In spite of its location in the central part of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii has traded almost exclusively with the U.S. mainland for the past century. Among Hawaii’s great variety of imports are crude oil and oil products, machinery, motor vehicles, foodstuffs, fertilizers, and numerous consumer goods. Many automobiles and other products are now imported from Japan and other industrialized areas of Asia. The state’s leading exports are raw sugar, molasses, and processed pineapples. Other exports include coffee, macadamia nuts, and other foodstuffs; clothing; flowers, especially orchids; cement; and oil products. Honolulu is the state’s entrepôt (an intermediary center) for wholesale and retail trade. Japan is Hawaii’s leading foreign trade partner. Others of importance are Australia, Canada, and the Philippines.
|IV||THE PEOPLE OF HAWAII|
According to the 2000 census, Hawaii ranked 42nd among the states in population, with 1,211,537 residents. This represents a rise of 9.3 percent over the 1990 census figure of 1,108,229. In 2006 the state had an average population density of 77 persons per sq km (200 per sq mi).
The population and density of habitation varies considerably among the islands. Oahu is by far the most populous island, with three-fourths of the state’s people. In 2000 it had 876,156 people, giving it a population density of 567 persons per sq km (1,467 per sq mi). Hawaii, the largest island in area, had a population of only 148,677 people and a density of 14 persons per sq km (37 per sq mi). Population and density of the other major islands were Maui, with 117,644 inhabitants and 62 persons per sq km (162 per sq mi); Kauai, with 58,303 people and 41 persons per sq km (106 per sq mi); Molokai, with 7,257 inhabitants and 11 persons per sq km (28 per sq mi); and Lanai, with 3,193 residents, giving it 9 persons per sq km (23 per sq mi).
The native Hawaiians are descendants of the early Polynesian inhabitants of the islands. According to the 2000 census, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders were 9.4 percent of the population, and many more people have some Hawaiian ancestry. Hawaii is the only state where Asians are the largest racial group, comprising 41.6 percent of the people. The largest share of those with Asian origin are of Japanese descent. Whites made up 24.3 percent of the people, blacks 1.8 percent, Native Americans 0.3 percent, and those of mixed ancestry or not reporting ethnicity 22.7 percent. Hispanics, who may be of any race, were 7.2 percent of the people.
Urbanization has proceeded rapidly since the 1920s. Some 91 percent of all inhabitants now live in urban areas, mostly in and around Honolulu, making the state one of the most urbanized in the country.
Honolulu, the state capital, dominates the economic, cultural, social, and political life of Hawaii. The City and County of Honolulu includes all of Oahu, together with several islets northwest of the main islands. The city proper had a population in 2005 of 377,379. The Honolulu metropolitan area is coextensive with Oahu.
Hilo, the second largest city in the state, had a population of 40,759 in 2000. It serves as the shipping and business center of the island of Hawaii.
The traditional religion of the native Hawaiians, essentially a form of nature worship, was abolished by Kamehameha II in 1819. The first Christian missionaries, who were members of the Congregational and Presbyterian churches, arrived from New England in 1820. Within a few years, many of the islanders had been converted to Christianity by these Protestant missionaries. The first Roman Catholic priests arrived from France in 1827. Also among the early missionaries were adherents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, who arrived from California in 1850. The Protestant Episcopal Church was established in 1862. During the second half of the 19th century, Buddhism, Shintoism, and other Asian religions were introduced by immigrants.
Most of Hawaii’s residents now belong to denominations of the Christian faith, but almost all of the major religions of the world are represented in the state. The largest religious group is the Roman Catholic church. Buddhism, represented by, several sects, also has a large following. Protestant denominations represented in Hawaii include the Mormons, Congregationalists, Methodists, Baptists, Protestant Episcopalians, and Seventh-day Adventists. There is a small Jewish congregation in Honolulu.
|V||EDUCATION AND CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS|
The first Western schools in Hawaii were started in the 1820s by Protestant missionaries from New England. During the 1840s a system of government supported public schools was established. English began to replace Hawaiian as the language of public instruction in the 1850s.
School attendance is compulsory for all children from the age of 6 until the age of 18. Unlike most other states, Hawaii does not have local or county school boards. Control of education is vested in the state government. Some 17 percent of the students are enrolled in private schools. Among the best known are the Kamehameha schools for children of Hawaiian ancestry.
In the 2002–2003 school year Hawaii spent $8,745 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of $ 9,299. There were 16.5 students for every teacher (the national average was 15.9 students). Of those older than 25 years of age in the state, 89 percent have a high school diploma, compared with an average of 84.1 percent for the nation as a whole.
Hawaii has 10 public and 10 private institutions of higher education. The University of Hawaii, founded as a land-grant college, is the state university. In addition to the main campus in Honolulu, called the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University of Hawaii System includes branch campuses at Hilo and West Oahu, as well as seven community colleges. The university, which has long attracted students and scholars from all parts of the Pacific area, is the site of a unique institution called the Center for Cultural and Technical Interchange Between East and West, better known as the East-West Center.
Brigham Young University-Hawaii Campus, Chaminade University of Honolulu, and Hawaii Pacific University, all on the island of Oahu, are private schools.
The Hawaii State Library is the state’s largest public library. Along with other libraries in Honolulu, including those at the University of Hawaii, the Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society, and the Hawaiian Historical Society, this library houses outstanding collections of Hawaiiana. Many historical documents and photographs are preserved in the state archives in Honolulu. All of Hawaii is served by a single library system, which circulates 5.8 books per resident each year.
Hawaii’s major art museum is the Honolulu Academy of Arts, with notable exhibits of Chinese, Japanese, Polynesian, and European art. Also in Honolulu is the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, devoted mainly to ethnology and natural history. Another museum of natural history and geology is the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Several historic buildings in Honolulu are maintained as part of the Mission Houses Museum, including the Oldest Frame House (1821) and the First Printing Press (1822). Also in Honolulu is Queen Emma’s Summer Palace. At the mouth of the Iao Valley on Maui is the Bailey House Museum (1833), which now houses exhibits of Hawaiian artifacts and missionary memorabilia.
There are 6 daily newspapers published in Hawaii. The oldest continuously published newspaper is the daily Honolulu Advertiser, which was established as a weekly in 1856. The other major daily in Honolulu is the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Other dailies are published on the islands of Hawaii and Maui.
In 2002 there were 21 AM and 24 FM radio stations in Hawaii. There were 7 television stations in the state. So-called satellite stations on Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii televise locally produced programs and also rebroadcast programs relayed from Oahu stations. The Hawaii Public Television Foundation, an affiliate of the Public Broadcasting Service, also operates television stations.
|E||Music, Dance, and Theater|
Music and dancing have long played a significant role in Hawaiian life. The traditional dance of the islands is the hula, a Hawaiian word meaning dance. Originally it was both a religious exercise in honor of the goddess Laka and a form of entertainment. In the traditional hula, prayers, poems, and stories were interpreted by highly stylized gestures of the dancers’ arms and hands. The sacred dances of old Hawaii (kahiko) almost disappeared but have become popular once again. They bear little resemblance to the modern forms of the hula (awana).
The early music of Hawaii was characterized by chants, but little of this folk music has been preserved. Much of what is now considered to be authentic Hawaiian music is based on hymns that were introduced by missionaries in the 19th century. Hawaiian music until recent decades was the specialty of the Royal Hawaiian Band, which greeted arriving passenger ships and gave weekly performances at Kapioloni Park in Honolulu. The popular song Aloha Oe, which is usually translated as “Farewell to Thee,” was composed in 1878 by Queen Liliuokalani. The ukulele, an instrument closely associated with Hawaiian music, is an adaptation of a small guitar brought to the islands in the late 19th century by Portuguese laborers. The Hawaiian, or steel, guitar, was developed there in about 1895. In more recent times music fusing Hawaiian and other traditions has grown in popularity among residents.
The Honolulu Symphony performs an annual series of concerts that often features well-known soloists from the mainland. In addition, there are numerous music clubs and choral societies in the islands.
Honolulu’s first theater was opened in 1847 with performances by local amateurs. Classic and contemporary plays, as well as musicals, are performed by the Diamond Head Theatre and a number of other community theater groups.
|F||Recreation and Places of Interest|
The state flourishes as a year-round tourist resort, and outdoor recreation takes many forms. Visitors and residents may hunt for wild boar in the mountains, fish for marlin offshore, examine volcanic craters at close range, trek across desolate lava flows and through dense rain forests, play golf and tennis in Honolulu, or ski on the snowy slopes of Mauna Kea. Ecotourism, which focuses on nature study and outdoor activities that minimize ecological impact, is also becoming more popular in Hawaii. Beach sports include surfboarding, body surfing, swimming, canoeing, skin diving, water-skiing, or spearfishing.
Another form of recreation for tourists is the popular Hawaiian feast called the luau. Tourists can also watch native Hawaiians take part in a hukilau, a community fishing festival on the shore. Everyone helps draw in the huge fishing net and shares in the catch. Still more entertainment is provided by the rhythm of native dancers, who perform in ti leaf skirts and leis to the music of ukuleles and Hawaiian guitars.
The largest of the five national parks in Hawaii is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It covers 130,888 hectares (323,431 acres) on the island of Hawaii. It contains the active volcanoes of Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Haleakala National Park, on the island of Maui, includes Haleakala, a volcano that last erupted around 1790 and has a huge summit depression, sometimes incorrectly referred to as a volcanic crater. Geologists refer to this massive basin as an eroded coalescence of two valley systems. Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park on the island of Hawaii is the site of an ancient Hawaiian sacred place of refuge for islanders who broke taboos and for defeated warriors in time of war. Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, also on Hawaii, preserves native culture at the site of a Hawaiian settlement important before the arrival of Europeans. The famous leper colony on Molokai is the site of the Kalaupapa National Historical Park. The Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, on Hawaii Island, contains the ruins of the “temple on the hill of the whale” (a translation of the park’s name), built by King Kamehameha I. The USS Arizona Memorial on Oahu straddles the remains of the battleship sunk during the December 7, 1941, attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor and which became a symbol of United States resolve during the ensuing war. In June 2006 President George W. Bush established the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. The new marine conservation area is about 160 km (about 100 mi) wide, 1,930 km (1,200 mi) long, and covers nearly 362,600 sq km (140,000 sq mi) of tropical ocean with coral reefs and uninhabited islands. Home to thousands of species of animals, including the endangered monk seal, the national monument is the largest such marine conservation area in the world and will be open by permit to scientific research. Some tourism may be allowed on the Midway Islands, which lie at the western end of the archipelago.
Hawaii has more than 70 state parks and recreation areas, which preserve sites of scenic beauty and historic interest.
Among the state preserves on the island of Hawaii are Akaka Falls State Park, Lave Tree State Monument, Manuka State Wayside, and Wailoa River and MacKenzie State Recreational Areas. On the island of Maui are Puaa Kaa State Park, with its scenic waterfalls and mountain pools, Kaumahina State Park, which lies on a high cliff overlooking the ocean, and Poli Poli Springs State Park, on the slopes of Haleakala. Iao Valley State Park on Maui is located in a large, beautiful valley. Rising 600 m (2,000 ft) from the valley floor is an isolated point of volcanic rock, referred to today as the Iao “Needle”. On Oahu a magnificent view of Honolulu can be seen from Puu Ualakaa State Park. In Keaiwa Heiau State Park, also on Oahu, is preserved an ancient Hawaiian heiau, or place of worship. On the island of Kauai are Wailua River State Park, which contains a fern-shaded grotto, and Kokee State Park, which lies in an area of upland rain forest. Na Pali Coast State Park, also on Kauai, is an area of spectacular cliffs and valleys and is accessible only from sea. Also on Kauai is Waimea Canyon State Park. The Waimea Canyon has been compared with the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. Palaau State Park on Molokai overlooks the leper settlement of Kalaupapa.
|I||Other Places to Visit|
Diamond Head, Hawaii’s most famous landmark, rises on Oahu to the east of Honolulu. Another well-known landmark, Punchbowl, also overlooks Honolulu. The crater of Punchbowl contains the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. A scenic road winds from Honolulu and through the Nuuanu Valley to Nuuanu Pali, a 370 m (1,200 ft) high cliff and mountain pass with a view of the windward side of Oahu. Among the numerous places of interest in Honolulu are Waikiki Aquarium; Foster Botanical Garden; Iolani Palace, which once was the royal palace; and the State Capitol. The Polynesian Cultural Center, at Laie on Oahu, includes replica villages of seven Polynesian peoples. Also near Honolulu is Sea Life Park, one of the largest exhibits of marine life in the world.
Many of Hawaii’s ceremonies, festivals, and religious events reflect the diverse origins of the state’s people. Starting in January or February is the Chinese New Year celebration, called the Narcissus Festival, in Honolulu. March marks the start of the Cherry Blossom Festival, also in Honolulu. March 26 is Kuhio Day, a state holiday created in honor of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, the second delegate to the Congress of the United States from Hawaii. Buddhists in Hawaii observe Wesak Day, the first Sunday in April, as the birthday of the Buddha. Lei Day, the first day of May, is dedicated to the lei as a symbol of Hawaii. The 50th State Fair is held in Honolulu for about two weeks late in spring.
Kamehameha Day, on June 11, is observed throughout the state in honor of Kamehameha I, the king who united the islands. In July and August, Bon dances are performed by Buddhists to honor their dead ancestors. On August 21, Hawaii celebrates Admission Day, the anniversary of becoming a U.S. state. The chief celebration in the fall is Aloha Festivals, which is held during September and October and features pageants, parades, boat races, hula festivals, and balls. Bodhi Day, the day the Buddha attained supreme enlightenment and solved the riddle of life, is celebrated in December.
Hawaii’s state constitution was drafted by a convention held in Honolulu in 1950. It was approved by the voters in the same year and went into effect when Hawaii became a state in 1959. Amendments to the constitution may be proposed by a constitutional convention or by the state legislature. To become law, all proposed amendments must be approved by a popular majority constituting at least 35 percent of the total number of registered voters in Hawaii.
The governor, the chief executive of the state, is elected for a four-year term. Although the governor may veto legislation, the legislature can override a veto by a two-thirds majority vote of the full membership of each house. The only other popularly elected official in the executive branch is the lieutenant governor, who also holds office for four years. By law the lieutenant governor must be a member of the same political party as the governor. A state auditor is chosen by a majority vote at a joint session of the state legislature, and the governor appoints an administrative director, whose duties are assigned by the governor. The state constitution limits the number of principal executive departments to 20. The heads of the executive departments are appointed by the governor with the consent of the state senate. Their terms of office expire with that of the governor, unless they are replaced before then by the governor.
The state legislature is made up of a 25-member Senate and a 51-member House of Representatives. State senators are elected for four years and state representatives for two years.
The state legislature convenes annually at Honolulu for a 60-day session. The governor may extend sessions for 30 days and may also convene 30-day special sessions. The legislature may extend sessions for up to 15 days.
In 1969 Hawaii installed the first ombudsman in the United States elected by any state legislature. The ombudsman (a Swedish word meaning “agent,””representative,” or “deputy”) is authorized to receive and publicize citizen complaints against state and county government agencies. The ombudsman has no power to change decisions made by a governor or mayor, but may criticize publicly any decision considered discriminatory or otherwise unfair. The ombudsman, who may serve a maximum of three six-year terms, can be removed from office only by a two-thirds vote of the legislature in joint session, and only for neglect of duty, misconduct, or disability.
The highest state court in Hawaii is the supreme court. It consists of five justices, including a chief justice, who serve ten-year terms. Judges of the state circuit courts, the principle trial courts, also serve ten-year terms. There are also district courts and other lower courts. District court magistrates are appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court. All other judges are appointed by the governor with the approval of the state senate.
Compared with the other states, Hawaii has a unique system of local government. There are no incorporated municipalities, and all local governmental functions are divided among four administrative counties and the state department of health. The four administrative counties are the County of Hawaii; the City and County of Honolulu, which includes Oahu and several small islets in the island chain to the northwest; the County of Kauai, which includes Kauai and Niihau; and the County of Maui, which includes Maui, Lanai, Kahoolawe, and most of Molokai. The counties of Hawaii and Maui are each governed by a mayor and council elected for four-year terms; the County of Kauai has a mayor and council elected for two-year terms. The County of Kalawao, which is the site of the famous Kalaupapa leper settlement on Molokai, is designated as a county by the United States Bureau of the Census. However, it is administered by the state department of health.
Hawaii elects two members to the U.S. House of Representatives and two members to the U.S. Senate. The state has four electoral votes in presidential elections.
The native Hawaiians probably came originally from islands in the eastern part of Polynesia, from the Society Islands, which include Tahiti, and from the Marquesas Islands. In all likelihood these tall, tawny-skinned people migrated to the Hawaiian Islands sometime between the 7th century ad and the 13th century. They made the voyage of more than 3,200 km (2,000 mi) in long catamaran-like canoes.
At the time of the arrival of the first Westerners late in the 18th century, there were an estimated 300,000 native inhabitants. The Hawaiians lived in villages that were located along the coast or in the larger valleys a short distance inland. The island of Hawaii was the most heavily populated in the chain. The Hawaiians relied for their food primarily on fishing, farming, and gathering of wild plants. Their staple diet was fish and poi, a pastelike food made from the tuber, or underground stem, of the taro plant. The Hawaiians had neither metals nor metalworking skills. Weapons, household utensils, and other implements were fashioned from wood, stone, shell, and bone.
|A1||Society and Religion|
By the late 18th century the Hawaiians had developed an elaborate system of social organization. At this time the islands were divided among several kingdoms, which were often at war. Within each kingdom there was a basically feudal system of social organization. The people were divided into several distinct social classes. The noble class, or aristocracy, consisted of the king, a number of chiefs, and their families. As king, the ruler owned all the land of the kingdom. He parceled out land among chiefs loyal to him, but he could revoke the grants at any time. The chiefs in turn gave the common people small plots to farm, but the commoners were also obligated to farm the land of the ruling class and to serve in the royal army. There were also a small class of slaves and a highly respected class of navigators, priests, and other professionals. Priests often attained great power, in some cases second only to that of the king.
The religion of the native Hawaiians was basically a form of nature worship, in which the forces of nature were personified as gods. Of the many gods worshiped the most important were Ku, the god of war; Kane, the god of light and life; and Lono, the god of the harvest. The Hawaiians worshiped in heiaus, stone terraces enclosed by stone walls.
Religion substantially affected the everyday life and habits of the Hawaiians. The king and high-ranking chiefs derived their power and prestige from the gods. An elaborate ritual accompanied almost every important individual or community activity. Daily life, including politics, worship, eating, and sexual intimacy, was governed by a complex system of kapus, or taboos. Punishment for violating the kapus, even accidentally, was often severe, including death.
Hawaiian economic life depended on a fairly complex division of labor. Special skills were required for the manufacture of outrigger canoes and the preparation of tapa, the material made by beating the bulk of the mulberry tree into a paperlike fabric that was stained with vegetable dye to be worn as clothing or used as bed covers. Some men were bird catchers, collecting feathers for the chiefs’ cloaks and helmets. An adz maker sharpened the stones used for building and fighting. Other workers thatched roofs. Each island began to specialize in a skill. Oahu was reputed to make excellent tapa; Maui, superior canoes and paddles. The Kona Coast of the island of Hawaii supplied dried fish.
|B||Arrival of Westerners|
Early in 1778 the British explorer Captain James Cook reached the islands of Oahu, Kauai, and Niihau, landing first on the southern coast of Kauai. Later that year he returned to explore other islands, including Hawaii; he named the chain the Sandwich Islands in honor of his patron, John Montagu, 4th earl of Sandwich. The name later fell into disuse as British influence over the islands gave way to U.S. domination. At first, Cook and his men were treated hospitably by the native Hawaiians. However, ill feeling later arose between the British and the Hawaiians, and in 1779, Cook was killed in a skirmish with the natives peoples over the theft of one of his boats.
Beginning about 1785, the islands became an important provision port for European and North American ships trading with East Asia. After 1790 many of the ships stopping at Hawaii were American vessels carrying furs from the Pacific Northwest to China. In the early 19th century direct trade developed between Hawaii and Asia; foreign vessels carried sandalwood, which grew on the islands, to Asia, where it was in demand.
Foreign ships frequently remained in Hawaiian harbors several months, so that there was substantial mingling of the crews and the native Hawaiians. In addition, by 1820 a small number of foreigners had settled permanently in the islands; they were known as haoles, a term that meant stranger but came to be used for whites of European descent. The foreigners introduced cattle, horses, and orange trees, as well as other plants and domestic animals. However, they also introduced, if only by accident, a number of highly infectious diseases, such as smallpox, measles, syphilis, tuberculosis, and whooping cough. Lacking natural immunity to many diseases and unable to obtain proper medical care, thousands of Hawaiians died. Largely because of mass epidemics the islands’ population fell from an estimated 300,000 at the time of Cook’s arrival to about 135,000 in 1820.
|C||Unification and Religious Change|
From 1782 to 1795 Kamehameha, a chief on the island of Hawaii, waged several wars that won him control of all the major islands except Kauai and Niihau. When these two islands were ceded to him in 1810, he became the first ruler of a unified Hawaiian kingdom as Kamehameha I.
Kamehameha ended regional warfare and adopted uniform laws throughout the islands. He shrewdly promoted trade with Europe and the United States, increasing the islands’ wealth. Although he remained open to new ideas brought by foreigners, Kamehameha guarded old Hawaiian customs and religion, and he maintained Hawaiian independence during a time of Western colonial expansion.
When Kamehameha died in 1819, he was succeeded by his young son Liholiho, who took the name Kamehameha II. For some time before Kamehameha II became king, many Hawaiians had been abandoning their ancient religious practices; contact with foreigners demonstrated that many of the old kapus could be violated without bringing punishment. Within a few months after assuming the throne, the king was persuaded by Kamehameha I’s favorite wife, who was blocked by kapus from the highest circles of power, to publicly violate one of the most obvious taboos, which barred men and women from eating together. This destroyed the kapu system, and the king then formally abolished the Hawaiian religion, ordering the destruction of all idols and temples. Despite initial resistance, the ancient Hawaiian religion was all but extinct by the end of 1819.
In 1820, several months after the king’s actions, the first Christian missionaries arrived in Hawaii. They were a small group of Protestants from New England, led by Hiram Bingham. Other Protestant missionaries followed and gained thousands of converts among the Hawaiians. The first Roman Catholic missionaries arrived in 1827.
The Protestant missionaries played an important role in the religious and secular life of Hawaii, trying to convert the native people to their religion, morality, and lifestyle. They devised a system for transcribing the Hawaiian language into the Latin alphabet and produced the first books and pamphlets printed in the Hawaiian language. They were also largely responsible for creating an extensive public school system. In the 1830s, several foreign missionaries began to exert considerable influence on Hawaiian politics. By this time, the old social ties were virtually demolished; the kapus were gone, and the authority of the chiefs was threatened as the white newcomers gained power and prestige.
|D||Political and Economic Changes|
Following the death of Kamehameha II in 1824, his 11-year-old brother, Kauikeaouli, became king as Kamehameha III. His 30-year reign was notable for a number of historic changes in Hawaii’s form of government and its economic life, much of it instigated by Americans and Europeans who became royal advisers. In 1839, at the urging of a former American missionary, William Richards, the king issued a declaration of basic rights for all his subjects. The following year, these rights were incorporated in Hawaii’s first written constitution, which also established a bicameral legislature. One house of the legislature was to be elected by popular vote, meaning that for the first time the common people of Hawaii were granted a measure of political power.
In 1848 the Hawaiian government began reforming the system of land ownership. Until this time the king had held title to all the land in Hawaii. During the project, known as the Great Mahele, meaning “great division,” the land was divided among the king, the chiefs, and the government. In addition, commoners were allowed to buy small plots of land they occupied and cultivated. Two years later, a law was passed that allowed foreigners to buy land for the first time. The Great Mahele gave the common people the right to own property and freed them from paying heavy taxes to the chiefs. But it resulted in many native Hawaiians becoming landless tenants after they sold their holdings to white entrepreneurs. By the end of the 19th century, whites owned four acres of land for every one owned by a native Hawaiian, including the chiefs.
|E||Development of the Sugar Industry|
Despite the decline of the Asian fur trade and the depletion of Hawaii’s once extensive sandalwood resources by about 1830, Hawaii continued to serve as an international port of call. The whaling industry in the northern Pacific Ocean expanded rapidly, and Hawaiian ports formed a base of operations for whaling vessels, most of them American. A wide variety of commercial crops were grown in the islands, mainly to supply whaling vessels and other ships and also for shipment to California.
In the 1860s, as the whaling industry declined, Hawaii turned increasingly to a new business for its major source of income: the production of sugar. It was an industry that would transform the social, economic, and political structure of the islands.
Although the rapidly growing United States was a large potential market for Hawaiian sugar, the United States maintained a high tariff on imported sugar. In 1875, after several unsuccessful attempts, the Hawaiian government negotiated a trade treaty with the United States. The treaty, which became effective in September 1876, provided for the duty-free entry of Hawaiian raw sugar and other specified products into the United States. This gave enormous impetus to the Hawaiian sugar industry, which consequently began to attract many American investors. Sugar production, which was concentrated on the sugar plantations of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii, increased many times over. By 1890 the islands supplied about 10 percent of all the raw sugar refined annually in the United States.
In 1887 the treaty was renewed, with a provision giving the United States exclusive rights to the use of Pearl Harbor on Oahu. However, in 1890 the Congress of the United States passed the McKinley Tariff Act, which removed the duty on all raw sugar coming into the United States. This deprived Hawaiian sugar producers of their privileged status, and as a result, Hawaiian production fell off drastically. In 1894, however, passage of the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act restored the pre-1890 policy, and production expanded.
|F||Importation of Labor|
Because much of the work on the sugar plantations was done by hand, the expansion of the sugar industry required a considerable increase in the labor force. The native Hawaiian population had continued to decline throughout the 19th century, largely due to disease, and by 1872 had fallen to about 50,000. In addition, many native Hawaiians were unwilling to work as laborers for white planters. At the time, there were only about 5,000 non-Hawaiians living in the islands.
After the trade treaty was signed in 1876, the Hawaiian government sought to alleviate the labor shortage by the large-scale recruiting of foreign workers. Initially, recruitment efforts centered on Chinese laborers; about 20,000 to 25,000, including about 8,000 Chinese from California, were brought to Hawaii on contract. However, once their enlistment was over, the Chinese frequently showed more inclination to establish businesses of their own than to continue working on the plantations. Recruiting then concentrated on the Japanese; about 180,000 Japanese were brought to the islands between 1886, when Japan agreed by treaty to allow laborers to migrate to Hawaii, and 1908, when a United States-Japanese agreement brought the migration to an end. When their contracts expired, most of the Japanese either returned home or migrated to the U.S. mainland, but about one-third chose to stay in the islands.
The growth of the sugar industry concentrated economic and political power in the hands of a few families, mostly white settlers, missionaries, and their descendants. Many of these whites favored a closer relationship between Hawaii and the United States, in part to guarantee access to the sugar market.
|G||End of the Monarchy|
In the latter part of the 19th century, American and European business leaders in Hawaii found themselves increasingly at odds with the last two Hawaiian monarchs: King David Kalakaua, who ruled from 1874 to his death in 1891, and his sister, Queen Liliuokalani, who succeeded him.
During Kalakaua’s reign, the royal government became more corrupt and extravagant. The king also encouraged the revival of traditional Hawaiian chants, forms of medicine, and other practices that had been discouraged since the missionaries’ arrival. Although Kalakaua often was attacked by other Hawaiians for cooperating with the powerful Americans, the Americans saw him as too nationalistic, anti-American, and unpredictable.
In 1887 a group of American and other white business leaders, backed by an armed militia they had founded, imposed on the king a new constitution that sharply limited his powers. The so-called Bayonet Constitution also placed new conditions on the right to vote, consolidating the influence of wealthy whites. It required that voters have a yearly income of $600 or own $3,000 in property, a rule that disenfranchised about three-fourths of the native Hawaiian voters. European and American males could vote, even if they were not Hawaiian citizens, but Asian immigrants were excluded.
When Queen Liliuokalani took the throne in 1891, she attempted to regain some of the power the monarchy and native Hawaiians had lost. Much loved by her people, Liliuokalani opposed efforts of the white business community to have Hawaii annexed by the United States, sharing the overwhelmingly popular view that they were motivated by greed. On January 17, 1893, after the queen attempted to impose a new constitution, powerful white leaders occupied the government office building in Honolulu and overthrew the monarchy. The rebels were helped by the official United States representative in Hawaii, who ordered troops from a U.S. warship to land in Honolulu, on the pretext of protecting American lives and property. The rebels proclaimed a provisional government headed by Sanford B. Dole, the son of an American missionary.
|H||Republic of Hawaii|
Two days after taking over, the new government sent representatives to Washington to negotiate a treaty of annexation. In February a treaty was signed and submitted to the U.S. Senate.
Before the treaty could be approved, President Benjamin Harrison’s term of office expired in March 1893 and he was succeeded by Grover Cleveland. The new president, who strongly opposed imperialist enterprises, withdrew the treaty from the Senate and supported efforts to return Liliuokalani to the throne. However, by that time the revolutionaries were firmly entrenched in power, and they refused to yield to Cleveland’s pressures for a return to monarchy. Instead, realizing that annexation was not imminent, they began to arrange for the establishment of an independent republic. On May 30, 1894, a constitutional convention was convened in Honolulu. On July 4 a constitution creating the new Republic of Hawaii took effect, naming Dole as the first president.
In March 1897 William McKinley succeeded Cleveland as president of the United States. Both McKinley and the U.S. public favored the annexation of Hawaii. The next year both houses of Congress approved a joint resolution to annex Hawaii. President McKinley signed the resolution on July 7, 1898, and the formal transfer of Hawaiian sovereignty to the United States took place in Honolulu on August 12, 1898. On June 14, 1900, Hawaii became a U.S. territory, making all its citizens U.S. citizens. Dole was appointed the first territorial governor.
The native Hawaiian people were overwhelmingly demoralized. Since the arrival of whites they had lost their native religion, their land, and their traditions; with the overthrow of the monarchy they lost even their independence. The descendants of early missionaries and other whites had gained complete economic control of the islands, establishing a political system run by a few powerful men that was essentially undisturbed for half a century.
|J||Twentieth-Century Economic Development|
By far the most important new economic development in Hawaii during the first decades of the 20th century was the growth of the pineapple industry. Pineapples had been grown on the islands since early in the 19th century, but only on a small scale. Then, in the early years of the 20th century, the development of efficient canning operations enabled pineapple production to expand rapidly. Sugar output also grew, due to expanded acreage and higher crop yields per acre.
Between 1900 and 1940 the territory’s population nearly tripled, from 154,001 to 422,770, largely due to immigration. During the first decade of the century, Japanese laborers constituted the bulk of the immigrants, followed later by Filipino workers, and some Koreans, Puerto Ricans, Spanish, and Portuguese. About 110,000 Filipinos were brought to the islands; most returned home or went to the mainland when their contracts expired, but a sizable number settled permanently in Hawaii. Attempts to attract American settlers to the islands met with little success. However, a small group of white mainlanders did come as managers and skilled workers, and beginning in the 1930s, the expansion of U.S. military facilities in Hawaii, particularly at Pearl Harbor, brought many U.S. soldiers and sailors to the islands, especially Oahu.
Power in the territory of Hawaii was concentrated in the hands of the owners of five major companies heavily invested in sugar, known as the Big Five. Hawaii remained largely a plantation society, with only a small middle class, one effective political party (Republican), and sharply limited opportunities for non-whites. Still, many Chinese and Japanese people, and especially their children, became professionals and owners of small businesses. The public schools taught the values of opportunity and freedom, and citizens of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Filipino descent born in the territory developed a strong loyalty to the United States and its system of democracy. They voted with enthusiasm, and at the outbreak of World War II in 1939, some held elective office.
Ethnic Hawaiians and many part-Hawaiians, the products of extensive intermarriage, also played a large role in the political system, often running for state legislative office or representing the territory in Congress. But there was always a large undercurrent of resentment against the white and other immigrant newcomers for the great losses felt by the Hawaiian people. Distrust and conflict existed also between the newer immigrant-ethnic groups. World War II would bring even greater tension.
|K||World War II|
On December 7, 1941, Japan launched a massive air attack on the U.S. fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor and on other military installations in Hawaii. The surprise attack, which caused great damage and heavy casualties, precipitated the entry of the United States into World War II. Because of their strategic location, the Hawaiian Islands became the principal staging area for U.S. operations in the Pacific. Pearl Harbor functioned as a major repair base for damaged warships. Thousands of mainland civilians moved to Hawaii to work.
The war years were a tense and difficult time for islanders. Until late in the war, the territory of Hawaii was totally or partially under martial law, and its citizens’ civil liberties were curtailed. Military tribunals replaced civilian courts, and the press was heavily censored. Military officials were given the authority to control wages, working hours, and prices for goods; laborers could not travel between the islands or leave their jobs without permission.
The situation was particularly sensitive because of the more than 150,000 residents of Japanese descent. The Japanese residents were regarded with hostility and distrust by some of the local military authorities and civilians of other ethnic origins, particularly at the beginning of the war. Hawaii residents of Japanese ancestry were not interned, as were those on the West Coast of the mainland United States; there were too many of them, and Hawaii was too remote, to make relocation practical. But nearly 1,500 Japanese residents were arrested and detained in Hawaii, and thousands more were questioned by loyalty boards. However, no evidence of disloyalty by Japanese residents emerged, and thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry volunteered for military service. They were initially denied admission into the U.S. armed forces, but later fought alongside Japanese Americans from the mainland in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion, becoming the most decorated regimental units in American military history.
Martial law over the islands was gradually eased, and civilian rule was restored in October 1944. After the war ended, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the military control of the islands and suspension of civil rights had been unconstitutional.
The end of the war brought dramatic social, political, and economic change to Hawaii. Among the factors driving the change were the growing power of the labor union movement and a decrease of racial prejudice, inspired by the bravery of Japanese American soldiers in the war. Both helped create a stronger Democratic Party to challenge the white, business-dominated Republican Party that had ruled since the 1890s.
The labor movement, which began organizing in Hawaii in the late 1930s, became a strong force soon after the war’s end, challenging the wealthy business elite. Led by the confrontational International Longshore Workers Union, the labor movement organized tens of thousands of dock workers and predominantly Asian farm laborers. Through negotiations and major strikes in 1946, 1949, and 1958, the unions succeeded in abolishing the so-called perquisite system on the pineapple and sugar plantations. Under the perquisite system, plantation owners supplied their workers with such basic necessities as housing, medical care, and, in some instances, food, but paid them very low wages. Largely as a result of union activities, the wages of plantation and dock workers increased several times over in the 1940s and 1950s, and tensions between the employers and unions gave way to labor stability as well as an increased standard of living for workers.
The Democratic Party increased in influence in the 1940s and 1950s, building a coalition of union members, Asian Americans, and war veterans, especially the Japanese Americans who had won recognition for their heroism. Most of the children and grandchildren of immigrants from Asia did not identify with the elite Republican Party. The Japanese (37 percent of Hawaii’s people), Hawaiians and part-Hawaiians (nearly 20 percent), and Filipinos (12 percent) leaned strongly toward the Democratic Party. The Chinese (7 percent of the population) were less willing to commit themselves to a party label, but the younger Chinese actively entering politics were predominantly Democratic.
By the mid-1950s, while the Republican Party under Dwight D. Eisenhower recaptured the presidency for the first time in 20 years, Democrats in Hawaii were assuming power. They were led by John A. “Jack” Burns, a former Honolulu policeman, who won a landslide victory in 1956 to be the Hawaiian territory’s delegate to Congress. Democrats also won strong majorities in both the territorial Senate and its House of Representatives. From that time, Hawaii became one of the most Democratic voting areas in the United States.
Between 1950 and 1960, Hawaii’s population rose from 499,794 to 632,772. The growth occurred almost entirely on Oahu, as immigrants arrived from the mainland and other islands; Oahu also attracted most of the increased investment. The 1950s saw Hawaii develop a large-scale tourist industry and a larger, more diverse manufacturing sector that included cement plants and food processing. Increased federal expenditures also stimulated the economy.
Efforts by some of the territory’s political leaders to gain statehood for Hawaii began as early as 1903, but Congress did not give serious consideration to the issue until the 1930s. In 1935 and 1937 congressional committees held hearings in Hawaii on the statehood question, but they did not recommend statehood. In 1940 a vote on the issue was held in Hawaii, and more than two-thirds of the electorate voted for statehood.
As a territory, Hawaii had a governor appointed by the U.S. president, but its residents could not vote in presidential elections; they paid taxes, but their elected delegate had no vote in the U.S. Congress. Opponents of statehood, including members of Southern states, had used race and national origin as an argument for years; they questioned the loyalty of foreign-born residents of Hawaii and objected to granting equal status to a predominantly nonwhite population.
Statehood efforts, suspended during World War II, were intensified after 1945. Supporters argued that Hawaii deserved full equality as a state: Hawaii’s residents had taken the first blow of the war, had endured long years of martial law, and had proven in battle the loyalty of its Japanese American citizens. Also, by 1950, 90 percent of Hawaii’s residents were U.S. citizens, most born on American soil.
Hawaii’s effort to gain congressional approval for statehood eventually became linked to the similar campaign for the territory of Alaska. In 1958 a bill granting statehood to Alaska was approved, largely by means of deft political maneuvering by the advocates of Alaskan and Hawaiian statehood. In March 1959 a Hawaiian statehood bill was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by President Eisenhower. In a referendum on June 27 Hawaii’s electorate voted 17 to 1 in favor of joining the Union; most of the opposition came from white districts.
Hawaii was proclaimed the 50th state on August 21, 1959. A state constitution, which had been approved by the territory’s voters in 1950, went into effect, and newly elected officials took office. William Francis Quinn, a Republican and the last governor of the territory of Hawaii, was elected the first governor of the state. Hiram L. Fong, a Chinese American Republican, became the first person of Asian ancestry to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Daniel K. Inouye, a war hero and a Democrat, became the first person of Japanese ancestry to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. He later was elected to the U.S. Senate.
|N||Developments After Statehood|
Hawaii entered the Union with only one member in the U.S. House of Representatives, but gained a second representative after reapportionment based on the 1960 national census. In 1962 Quinn was succeeded as governor by Burns, a Democrat, who was reelected in 1966 and 1970. Democrats held the office continuously from then through 1996. In 1974 George R. Ariyoshi became the first Japanese American governor of the state.
After 1959 tourism greatly expanded as a result of the widespread publicity attending statehood and the introduction of jet airline service to the islands. The construction industry prospered with the increased demand for hotel space and other tourist facilities. As investments and visitors from Japan poured into the islands, tourism generated jobs and a higher standard of living for Hawaii’s fast-growing population.
In addition to tourism, efforts were made to spur industrial development and diversification and to expand overseas trade. Hawaii’s economic development reached a milestone in 1965 when a foreign trade zone was established at Honolulu. The zone permits goods to be imported and processed for reexporting to foreign countries without becoming subject to U.S. customs. Agriculture continued to decline in importance, while the military remained a significant economic factor. By 1980, one out of every seven people living in the islands was a military employee or dependent.
Development itself continued to be a major issue in the politics of the state. How to accommodate the tourist boom and other economic growth while preserving the islands’ natural beauty posed one of the state’s major challenges, as high-rise hotels and condominiums crowded scenic areas and automobile traffic created congestion and air pollution. Yet Hawaii remained one of the most beautiful populated areas of the world.
International education in Hawaii has grown as a minor industry. The University of Hawaii expanded tremendously in the years immediately following statehood, setting up satellite campuses on the outer islands and adding a medical and law school to the main campus on Oahu. Creation of the East-West Center by President Lyndon Johnson and the Congress led some to see Hawaii’s economic future in the selling and buying of skills and knowledge in the world, especially Pacific, markets. Independent planning and engineering consultants, architects, and others associated with the development of tourism in the Pacific made Hawaii their base. By the 1990s more than 200 island firms took an active role in Pacific trade, and many mainland corporations established Pacific regional headquarters in Honolulu.
|O||Ethnic Relations After Statehood|
One of the most important developments in Hawaii since statehood has been the rapid social and economic progress of its Asian American population. Asian Americans led whites in educational attainment, employment, occupational status, median income, and home ownership. A higher proportion of Asian Americans than whites were born in Hawaii and had strong roots there. Most Japanese Americans and Chinese Americans were born locally, despite recent immigration from China and Taiwan. Most white residents were born on the mainland.
Asian Americans have moved increasingly into upper middle class positions. Following the practice of well-to-do whites, they began sending their children to prestigious private schools in the islands and to mainland colleges. Hawaii faced the potential of a two-class educational system, leaving the public schools to Hawaiians, Portuguese, Samoans, Puerto Ricans, Filipinos, and the children of poorer Whites, and Chinese and Japanese, in addition to refugees from Southeast Asia.
Tension among ethnic groups exists in Hawaii, although compared to much of the U.S. mainland, Hawaii remains a remarkable example of inter-ethnic cooperation. Continuing prejudice is most apparent in public schools, where local children often tease white boys and girls, and where newly arrived immigrant children are not always welcomed.
The most troubling ethnic grievance in Hawaii remained that of the native Hawaiians, who frequently expressed resentment against Japanese Americans as well as whites. The sense of loss shared by the small number of pure Hawaiians who remain and by many part-Hawaiians was reinforced by the continuing gap in income and health; compared with whites and Asians, part-Hawaiians had the highest infant death rate, the most difficulty in school, the highest rates of serious illness, and high rates of crime.
All groups have expressed a great interest in ancient Hawaiian culture, and in 1978 the state agreed to promote the study of native Hawaiian traditions, history, and language. However, occasional examples of prejudice against Hawaiians still arise. In 1974 the Native American Programs Act was amended to add Hawaiians as a category of native peoples, enabling them to qualify for various federal assistance programs.
In May 1995 the Hawaii legislature committed $600 million to compensate for misuse or wrongful sale of about 16,000 hectares (39,000 acres) of trust lands set aside for native Hawaiians under the Hawaiian Rehabilitation Act of 1920. The money will be used to develop the parcels, which native Hawaiians can lease for $1 a year, by paving roads and setting up water and electricity. The 1920 law, which was supposed to encourage native Hawaiians’ self-sufficiency through homesteading, eventually put about 81,000 hectares (200,000 acres) in trust. But much of the land was not suitable for agriculture, and some was taken for such public uses as parks, airports, schools, and military bases.
Some native Hawaiians have called for reparations to be made for the overthrow of the monarchy; some have asked for a return to the Hawaiian Kingdom on land set aside for Hawaiians. In the summer of 1996 native Hawaiians voted to create a native Hawaiian government. The vote enables native Hawaiians to hold a constitutional convention. Whatever the outcome, native Hawaiians born in the United States will be U.S. citizens and remain under U.S. jurisdiction.
The patterns of ethnic relations in Hawaii are complicated, but it is remarkable that so much harmony exists. Rates of intermarriage are high for all groups, and Hawaii is still an example for many places trying to build a more compassionate and just multi-ethnic society.