Archaeologists tell us that the Polynesians who first settled in the Hawaiian Islands about 1,200 years ago arrived in double-hulled canoes from Tahiti and other nearby Pacific islands. They found a paradise of balmy winds, a sea teeming with fish, and fertile volcanic soil in which to grow an abundance of fruits and vegetables. The natives' first contact with white men occurred when
Captain James Cook landed in 1778 and named the islands the Sandwich Islands. During the 19th century, other white men, including American missionaries, began to arrive in ever increasing numbers. These unwelcome guests not only stayed on to develop prosperous pineapple and sugar plantations, but they converted the Polynesians to Christianity. In 1810, the various tribes were centralized into a monarchy ruled by King Kamehameha. The last ruler was statuesque Queen Liliuokalani, who gave up her throne in 1893. A republic was formed under President S.B. Dole, founder of the famed pineapple company, and lasted until 1898.
During the Spanish-American War, when American ships began sailing to the Philippines, the U. S. government became aware that the Hawaiian Is lands represented a valuable base in the South Pacific. A treaty was signed in, 1898 whereby Hawaii voluntarily annexed itself to the United States. It was made a territory in 1900 and achieved statehood in 1959. Today Hawaii is still largely agricultural, but its heavily pop ulated cities, Honolulu and Hilo, are experiencing severe growth pains. Because most goods must be imported, the cost of living is quite high, and inflationary pressures are driving costs even higher.
FACT BOX Location: 6,420 sq. miles (17,000 sq. km.) including a chain of islands and islets 1,600 miles (2,500 km.) long in the central Pacific; 2,400 miles (3,800 km.) west of San Francisco. Main islands: Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe, Niihau. Climate: mild (average temp. 75° F); average rainfall: 9 inches (23 cm.) per annum. Population: 887,000 (1976). Capital and largest city: Honolulu (p p. 705.381 est. 1975). Major products: pineapple, sugar, coffee, rice, bananas, nuts, tourism. Stale flower: hibiscus. Stale song: "Hawaii Ponoi." State bird: Nene (Hawaiian goose). Nickname: Aloha State. Motto: "Ua Mau Ke O Ka Aina I Ka Pono" .... "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness."
Illustration: Aerial view of Hawaiian islands painted by David Greenspan
(C) 1979. Panarizon Publishing Corp. USA IIust: American Heritage Pub. Co.
Printed in Italy 03-012-02-01