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Akaka Falls, Hawaii

North America

Hawaii is the archipelago of the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Admitted on August 21, 1959, Hawaii constitutes the 50th state of the United States and is situated 2500 miles from the mainland. It is the southernmost part of that country. As of the 2000 U.S. Census it had a population of 1,211,537 people. Honolulu is the largest city and the state capital. Hawaii is the most recently admitted state of the United States. In addition to possessing the southernmost point in the United States, it is the only state that lies completely in the tropics. As one of two states outside the contiguous United States (the other being Alaska), it is the only state without territory on the mainland of any continent and it is the only state that continues to grow due to active lava flows, most notably from Kilauea. Ethnically, Hawaii is the only state that has a majority group that is non-white (and one of only four in which non-Hispanic whites do not form a majority) and has the largest percentage of Asian Americans. For various reasons, Hawaii is considered the endangered species capital of the United States.
Background Information
Anthropologists believe that Polynesians from the Marquesas and Society Islands first populated the Hawaiian Islands in approximately 300AD, followed by Tahitian settlers in approximately 1300AD who conquered and eliminated the original inhabitants of the islands. These Tahitian conquerors preserved memories of their migrations orally through genealogies and folk tales, like the stories of Hawaiiloa and Paao. Relations with other Polynesian groups were sporadic during the early migratory periods, and Hawaii grew from small settlements to a complex society in near isolation. Voyaging between Hawaii and the South Pacific apparently ceased with no explanation several centuries before European arrival. Local chiefs called alii ruled their settlements and fought to extend their sway and defend their communities from predatory rivals. Warfare was endemic. The general trend was towards chiefdoms of increasing size, even encompassing whole islands. Vague reports by various European explorers suggest that Hawaii was visited by foreigners well before the 1778 arrival of British explorer Captain James Cook. Historians credited Cook with the discovery after he was the first to plot and publish the geographical coordinates of the Hawaiian Islands. Cook named his discovery the Sandwich Islands in honor of one of his sponsors, John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich.
The Climate of Hawaii is typical of tropical areas. It is famous for being warm throughout the whole year; during the summer, the temperature may reach to around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Though people who live in Hawaii often complain about the heat, tourists generally enjoy the warm weather, as many of them come from locations of colder climates. Thus, Hawaii has become a popular tourist destination in the wintertime, when the Hawaiian weather would be above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Hawaii is also popular with tourists in the summer because it does not suffer from the same heat waves that occur in the continental North America -- Hawaii has tradewinds which keep excess heat away.

The main portions of Oahu can be divided into Windward and Leeward sections, divided by a mountain range. The Windward side enjoys more rain. However the Leeward side's drier climate has benefitted toward the plantation industries.
Akaka Falls, Hawaii
Diamondhead, Hawaii
Map of Hawaii