Sunday, October 9, 2016

Facts about Hawaii

Hawaii, a U.S. state, is an isolated volcanic archipelago in the Central Pacific. Its islands are renowned for their rugged landscapes of cliffs, waterfalls, tropical foliage and beaches with gold, red, black and even green sands. Of the 6 main islands, Oahu has Hawaii’s biggest city and capital, Honolulu, home to crescent Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor's World War II memorials.


World War II Memorial, Honolulu
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The state flag of Hawaii has the Union Jack of the United Kingdom at the canton. The field of the flag is composed of eight horizontal stripes (from top to bottom: white, red, blue, white, red, blue, white, red) symbolizing the eight inhabited islands (Hawaii, Oahu, Kauai, Kahoolawe, Lānai, Maui, Molokai and Niihau).The flag of Hawaii is a deliberate hybrid of British flag and American flag to showcase the roles played by Great Britain and United States in the history of Hawaii. The eight horizontal stripes on Hawaii’s flag represent each of the state’s main islands. In the upper-left corner of the flag is a small version of Britain’s flag which honors British captain George Vancouver, who gave Hawaii its first flag in 1794.

The capital of Hawaii is Honolulu.

Honolulu

Honolulu: Waikiki Beach andf Diamond Head

The state fish is reef triggerfish.

Reef Trigger Fish


The population of Hawaii is 1.42 million people,

Hawaii is last state to become part of the U.S. entering the nation on August 21, 1959.

Hawaii was monarchy and an independent nation until the U.S. took it over.

Hawaii’s nickname is the “Aloha State.” The word aloha is derived from the Proto-Polynesian, alofa, and its meanings include “love,” “compassion,” and “mercy.” Aloha is used both as “hello” and “goodbye.

The word Hawaii is from the Proto-Polynesian hawaiki, meaning “place of the gods” or “homeland.

Hawaii is the only state that is not geographically located in North America, is completely surrounded by water, and does not have a straight line in its state boundary.

Born in Hawaii, Barack Obama is the only president from outside the continental United States.

Because of its continuous volcanic eruptions, Hawaii is the only state in the nation to have an increasing land area.

Hawaii is the only state in the nation that grows coffee, has tropical rainforests, and is made completely of islands.

In the 1960s, astronauts trained for moon voyages by walking on Mauna Loa’s hardened lava fields, which resemble the surface of the moon.
  
Hawaii has two official languages, Hawaiian and English, though Pidgin, Samoan, and Tongan are also spoken.

One of the earliest recorded cases of AIDS in the United States was in Hawaii. In May 1978, a 50-year-old Asian woman was diagnosed with the disease and died in August of that year.

The only land snake to be found in the wild in Hawaii is the tiny Hawaiian blind snake, which is thought to have arrived in plant soil brought from the Philippines in 1929 to landscape the Kamehameha School grounds.


A Blind Snake

Hawaii became the first state in the union to legalize abortion on demand in 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade. (Colorado legalized abortion in 1967, but only in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother.)

Hawaii 5-0 was the longest-running police drama TV series until Law and Order. While the stars worked for the state police department in the series, but in reality, Hawaii doesn’t have a statewide police department or DMV. They are managed by each county government.

Hawaii is the only state to honor a monarch, celebrating King Kamehameha Day on June 11th since 1872. Kamehameha is known for uniting the Hawaiian Islands in 1810.


Statue of King Kamehameha



Surfing, or heenalu, was invented thousands of years ago by the Polynesians who first settled Hawaii. Their boards weighed more than 150 pounds and measured up to 20 feet.

 Surfing in Hawaii

Hawaii is home to the unique “Happy Face Spider” (Theridion grallator), which bears an uncanny resemblance to a smiling face on the back of its abdomen.

Only two types of mammals are native to Hawaii: the hoary bat and the monk seal.


Hoary Bat

Monk Seal

When written with the English alphabet, Hawaiian uses only 12 letters and a symbol (‘).

Day biting mosquitoes first arrived in Hawaii in 1872 as stowaways aboard a merchant ship, bringing with them new diseases such as malaria and the plague.

Hawaii is last state to become part of the U.S. entering the nation on August 21, 1959.

Hawaii was monarchy and an independent nation until the U.S. took it over.

Historically, Hawaiians gave leis to their local alii, or chief, as a sign of affection. Warring chiefs who wanted to make peace sat down to weave leis together.

The hula was originally a form of worship performed by highly trained men who were supposedly taught the dance by the Hawaiian god Luka.

Ancient Hawaiians believed that the heavier a woman was (especially for a female chief), the more beautiful she was.

There are about 7,000 inhabitants on the island of Molokai, famous in the past for being a leper colony.


Molokai: The Remains of The Leper Colony

Everyone is a minority in Hawaii because there are no racial majorities. Haoles (Caucasians), constitute about 33% of the population, Japanese about 33%, Filipino-Americans about 16%, and Chinese-Americans about 5%. Most of the population has mixed ethnicities.

The southern-most state in the United States is Hawaii.

The average projected lifespan of those born in Hawaii in the year 2000 is 79.8 years (77.1 years if male; 82.5 if female), longer than the residents of any other state.

The island of Maui was named after the demigod who taught Hawaiians to make fire, invented spears, and created a giant fishhook from his dead grandmother’s jawbone. According to the
legend, when he fished with the hook, he brought the Hawaiian Islands up from the sea.

The second rainiest place on Earth is Mt. Waialeale on the island of Kauai, where the average rainfall is 450 inches per year.



 Mt. Waialeale

The first Caucasian foreigner known to have died on the islands was William Watman, a member of Captain James Cook’s gunnery crew who was killed by a paralytic stroke in January 1779 at Honaunau.

When the Englishman Captain Cook arrived in Hawaii in 1778, he was greeted as the god Lono because he had arrived during a sacred festival. Initially, the Hawaiians thought Cook’s ships were floating islands.


Captain Cook

Captain Cook's Ship: Endeavour

Captain Cook initially called Hawaii the “Sandwich Islands” after his English patron, the Earl of Sandwich. In 1819, King Kamehameha renamed the islands the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Hawaiians considered the shark (mano) a god and treated it with great respect.

Ancient Hawaiian society was divided into social classes. The lowest social group was the kauwa, who may have been prisoners of war or early settlers conquered by later arrivals. They were often the unlucky ones picked for human sacrifices to the gods.

Because the chiefs were thought to be related to the gods, they claimed to possess powerful mana with which they ruled the common people (maka’ainana) and the lower class (kauwa). To prevent mana from being diluted, members of the elite class often intermarried; in fact, it was not unusual for a high chief to marry his own sister.

Rules called kappa guided daily life. For example, the maka’ainana (common people) could not let their shadows touch the shadow of the alii (upper class), and women could not eat certain food (such as bananas, coconut, or certain fishes) or share meals with men. The punishment for breaking a kappa was often death.

While most people play the flute with their mouths, Ancient Hawaiians often played flutes (Ohe hano ihn)with the nose. Perhaps the preference for a nose flute stems from the Hawaiian belief that the nose was more innocent or pure than the mouth, which could say many things.

Early Christian missionaries to Hawaii (circa 1820) were shocked to find that Hawaiian mothers practiced infanticide if the babies were deformed or diseased or if there were already too many children. They were also shocked by the extreme displays of grief (such as knocking out their own teeth or tattooing their own tongues) after the death of a loved one.

The highest sea cliffs in the world are on Moloka’i.

The tallest mountain the world is in Hawaii. Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii from its bottom in the Pacific Ocean to its top is over 10,000 meters tall. Mount Everest from its base to its top is 8,850 meters tall.


Mauna Kea

Hawaii has lost more species and has more endangered species than any other state in the United States. Nearly all of the state’s native birds are in danger of becoming extinct.

Hawaii has its own time zone and does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was directly responsible for the United States’ entry into World War II. More than 2,400 of Hawaii’s soldiers and residents died in the attack.  

Oahu draws more visitors than any other island of Hawaii.

In 1790, the volcano Kilauea erupted on the Big Island of Hawaii, killing over 5,000 people and making it the most deadly volcanic eruption in the United States. Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.


Kilauea Volcano

Park rangers at Hawaii National Park receive packages every year from tourists who have taken volcanic rocks from Kilauea. The tourists claim that the rocks were bad luck from Pele, the goddess of fire, lightening, dance, volcanoes, and violence.

In 1778, the native Hawaiian population was estimated to be nearly 1 million. By 1919, the population declined to an astounding 22,600, due in large part to war and disease. The current population of Hawaii is over 1.3 million.

Hawaii is 2,390 miles away from the nearest continent (North America) and is considered the most isolated population center on earth. Early in its history, seeds and plants were brought to the barren island by wind, water, and birds.

Because their society was largely an oral rather than a written culture, ancient Hawaiians would learn values and history through trained storytellers. Because the stories were considered sacred, listeners were not allowed to move once a story began.

The popular T.V. series Lost is shot in Hawaii. At the end of the credits is a note thanking the “people of Hawaii and their Aloha Spirit.”

The oldest Catholic Cathedral in continuous use in the United States is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu, built in 1843.


                                             Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace (interior)

The Hula is a popular Hawaiian dance.


Hula  Dancers

Male Hawaiin Dancers


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