<geography> A group of islands in polynesia, in the north central pacific ocean, comprising eight major and 114 minor islands, largely volcanic and coral.

Its capital is Honolulu. It was first reached by polynesians about 500 a.d. It was discovered and named the sandwich islands in 1778 by captain cook. The islands were united under the rule of king kamehameha 1795-1819 and requested annexation to the united states in 1893 when a provisional government was set up.

Hawaii was established as a territory in 1900 and admitted as a state in 1959. The name is from the polynesian owhyhii, place of the gods, with reference to the two volcanoes mauna kea and mauna loa, regarded as the abode of the gods.

(12 Dec 1998)

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