Hawaii (State)

State of Hawaii
State of Hawai’i
Coordinates 21°18’27″NB, 157°51’27″WL
General
Surface 28 337 km²
(41,2% water)
Residents 1.427.538 (2017)
(82,6 inhabitants/km²)
Capital city Honolulu
Politics
Governor David Ige (D)
Other
Time zone Hawaiian Standard Time (UTC−10)
Joined 21 augustus 1959
Nickname Aloha State
Lied ” Own Hawaii “
ISO 3166-2 US-HI
Website ehawaii.gov

Location of the islands in the Pacific

Hawaii or Hawaii (English: Hawaii, Hawaiian: Hawaiʻi) is an island group and one of the states of the United States. The islands are all of volcanic origin and are located in the Polynesian Pacific Ocean. In the 19th century, Hawaii was an independent kingdom and in 1959 it became the 50th state to join the United States. The capital is Honolulu. The state has 1,427,538 inhabitants (2017). The standard abbreviation for Hawaii, nicknamed The Aloha State, is HI.

The state is named after its largest island, which is also named Hawaii. The name is said to be derived from a legendary Polynesian navigator Hawaiʻiloa who discovered the islands.

Islands

The state of Hawaii consists of 137 atolls and volcanic islands (most of which are small and uninhabited) in the mid- Pacific Ocean, the most important of which form the Hawaiian Archipelago, a string of eighteen islands, eight of which are large from west to east:

  • Niihau
  • Kauai
  • Oahu (with the capital Honolulu)
  • Molokai
  • Lanai
  • Rescue
  • Maui
  • Hawaii (the largest island)

Administrative division

Hawaii is divided into five counties, which more or less coincide with the island territories. The counties also function as municipalities.

According to TRACKAAH, the main cities are Honolulu (population 390,738), Pearl City (47,698), and Hilo (43,263).

Geology

The islands are of volcanic origin: they lie on a so-called hotspot, where magma from the interior of the earth comes out as lava. As the Earth’s crust moves relative to the hotspot, this creates a row of islands from west to east (the Hawaii-Emperor chain), with the oldest, dead volcanoes in the west and the youngest, active ones in the east. The volcanoes Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, both located in the Volcanoes National Parkon the largest island of Hawaii, are still very active. Kīlauea has almost continuous eruptions, so the island is still growing as lava flows into the sea on the coast. Inhabited areas also have to be evacuated regularly because they are flooded by lava. Mauna Loa has an eruption about every 20 years, Hualalai every few 100 years; for Mauna Kea (a dormant volcano), an eruption every 4000 years is not ruled out. Another 30 km further east, far below the sea’s surface, a new volcano, Loihi, is building a new island that will rise above sea level in 10,000 years.

Mauna Kea (White Mountain) is the highest mountain in the world measured from foot to top: the mountain rises 10203 meters above the sea floor, and 4207 meters above sea level. Mauna Loa (long mountain) is the heaviest mountain in the world; it is only a few meters lower than Mauna Kea, but has a wider base. Mount Haleakala (House of the Sun), a volcano on Maui, is particularly popular with tourists. The volcano is part of Haleakala National Park.

Volcanism causes many earthquakes in Hawaii. These earthquakes trigger tsunamis with little warning time, such as those in 1868 and 1975. Earthquakes elsewhere in the Pacific can also trigger tsunamis that reach the islands (11 since 1868). Earthquakes in 1946 in the Aleutian Islands and in 1960 in Chile caused many casualties and damage in Hilo. In addition, large parts of Molokai and Oahu have sunk into the sea in the past, causing mega-tsunamis.

Flora and fauna

Hawaiian monk seal

The islands are located more than 2,000 km from the American continent and almost 4,000 km from Japan, making them one of the most isolated archipelagos in the world. Due to its isolation in the Pacific Ocean, before the arrival of man, plants and animals reached the islands via wind, waves or wings, and there are many endemic plants and animals. However, many species are endangered or already extinct. In the 19th century, pigs, goats and other animals were imported by European navigators, which displaced many native animals. Examples of endemic animals include the Hawaiian monk seal, the Hawaiian goose, the Laysan duck, and the Theridion grallator. Endemic plants include Diospyros sandwicensis and Brighamia insignis.

In Hawaii, between Maui, Lanai, and Molokai is the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, where between 6,000 and 10,000 humpback whales winter each year (in the summer they are near Alaska).

Hawaii’s shores are now severely polluted by the plastic soup, which is being pumped into one of the Pacific’s currents around the archipelago. Some of the waste ends up in a thick layer on the beaches.

Climate

The weather in Hawaii is almost constant and there are also few temperature differences. There are two seasons in Hawaii, summer and winter. Summer starts in May and ends in October and is also called the Kau. Winter starts in November and ends in April. That season is also called the Ho’oilo. Daytime temperatures in summer average 29.4 °C. In winter the average temperature is 26.6 °C. The night temperature averages 19.4 °C and 15.6 °C respectively.

Temperature and humidity are mainly determined by the almost constant trade wind from the east (which, however, sometimes disappears). Temperatures are much lower on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, where snow falls regularly in winter. The trade winds also determine the amount of rain: the windward side of the islands is very rainy, while the leeward side is very dry. Mount Waiʻaleʻale on Kauaʻi is one of the rainiest places on Earth (11.7 m of rain per year).

Hawaii is sometimes visited by hurricanes; Hurricane season is from June to November. On September 11, 1992, Hurricane Iniki caused extensive damage on Kauai.

Politics

Hawaii State Capitol

The executive branch of the state is headed by a governor, who is directly elected by the voters in the state. In 2014, David Ige of the Democratic Party was elected governor of the state of Hawaii. The legislature is made up of the Hawaii House of Representatives (Hawaii House of Representatives) with 51 members and the Hawaii Senate (Hawaii Senate) with 25 members.

Hawaii is the state where the Democratic Party is strongest at the state level. As of 2017-2018, Republicans have only five seats in the lower house, and Democrats have all seats in the Senate. The representation in the US Congress consists of two senators and two representatives; all four are members of the Democratic Party.

Hawaii is one of the states with a modest independence movement. There are groups among the Hawaiians who want to undo the annexation by the US and want more independence. Several individuals claim the throne of Hawaii on the grounds that they are descended from the deposed royal family. The Akaka Bill of the now deceased Senator Daniel Akaka is said to have given the descendants of the original population some independence. Opponents fear this would have caused an unwanted racial divide in the population.

List of counties in Hawaii

According to COUNTRYAAH, the US state of Hawaii is divided into five counties. The counties also function as municipalities. Executive power in a county is exercised by a mayor.

Four of the five counties cover one or more islands. Kalawao County occupies only one peninsula.

There are the following counties:

County Residents
July 1, 2007
County Seat Residents
July 1, 2007
Islands
hawaii 173,057 Hilo 47,317 Hawaii
Honolulu 905.601 Honolulu 375,571 Oahu, islands northwest of Niihau
Kalawao 119 no Kalaupapa Peninsula on Molokai
Kauai 62.828 Lihue 6092 Kauai and Niihau
Maui 141,783 Wailuku 13.543 Maui, Kaho’olawe, Lanai, most of Molokai

Flag of Hawaii