Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
The northwestern Hawaiian islands, a collection of islets, seamounts, and shoals extending northwest of the primary islands, form the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. This World Heritage Site is the largest contiguous fully protected conservation area under the U.S. flag. The monument spans 582,578 square miles of the Pacific and is larger than all of America’s national parks combined.
A Glimpse into Hawaii’s Past
Polynesians first populated the Hawaiian islands between the years 124 and 1120 AD. This society survived in isolation from the rest of the world for the next 500 years.
Captain James Cook is credited with discovering the Hawaiian Islands in 1778. A year after his discovery, Cook was killed at Kealakekua Bay on Hawaii island in a skirmish with Hawaiians. Hawaii was declared a US Territory in January 1893 and later became the 50th state of the US on August 21, 1959.
Languages of Hawaii
English and Hawaiian are the official languages of Hawaii. The written Hawaiian language, developed by Christian missionaries in 1820, consists of only 12 letters: 5 vowels and 7 consonants. It also includes an ‘okina symbol, a glottal stop, represented as a grave accent (`) or a left single quotation mark (‘).
Hawaii’s state symbols represent its rich natural heritage and cultural history. These include:
- State flower: Yellow hibiscus (pua mao hau hele)
- State bird: Nene (Branta sandvicensis)
- State fish: Humuhumunukunukuapuaa (Rhinecanthus rectangulus)
- State mammal: Hawaiian monk seal
- State marine mammal: Humpback whale
- State land mammal: Hawaiian hoary bat
- State tree: Kukui (Aleurites moluccana)
- State song: “Hawaii Ponoi” (King Kalakaua wrote the lyrics)
- State motto: Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i ka Pono (“The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”).
Hawaii is the birthplace of several celebrities, including former President Barack Obama, AOL co-founder Steve Case, actors Jason Momoa, Nicole Kidman, and singers Bruno Mars, Bette Midler.
Hawaii in Films
Numerous movies have been filmed in Hawaii, including Academy Award winners like From Here to Eternity, South Pacific, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Avatar, and The Descendants.
Hawaii boasts a diverse range of natural wonders. Mount Waialeale on Kauai is possibly the wettest place on earth, whereas Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii is the tallest sea mountain, rising 13,796 feet above sea level. Kilauea is one of the most active shield volcanoes in the world. Hawaii is also the only U.S. state where coffee, cacao, and vanilla are grown commercially.
The Aloha Spirit
The native Hawaiians live by the Aloha Spirit, which translates to “breath of life”. Aloha is a way of life that emphasizes treating each other with love and respect.
What Do You Think
Hawaii’s unique geographical location, vibrant culture, rich history, and abundant natural beauty make it a fascinating destination. Whether you’re planning your next vacation or just curious about this tropical paradise, we hope this in-depth exploration of the Hawaiian Islands has piqued your interest.
“Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace.” – Paul Theroux
Visit Hawaii today and experience the Aloha Spirit for yourself