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About Hawaii


The only U.S.state in the tropics, Hawaii sometimes called “the paradise of the Pacific” because of its spectacular beauty: abundant sunshine; expanses of lush green plants and gaily colored flowers; palm-fringed, coral beaches with rolling white surf; and cloud-covered volcanic peaks rising to majestic heights. Oahu, where the capital, Honolulu, is located, is the most populous and economically important. The other principal islands are Kahoolawe, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, and Niihau.

Facts & Figures

Area: 6,450 sq mi (16,706 sq km).
Population: (2000) 1,211,537, a 9.3% increase since the 1990 census.
Capital: Honolulu (Hawaii’s largest city).
Statehood: Aug. 21, 1959 (50th state).
Highest pt.: Mauna Kea, 13,796 ft (4,208 m);
Lowest pt.: sea level.
Nickname: Aloha State.
Motto: Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono [The Life of the Land Is Perpetuated in Righteousness].
State bird: Hawaiian Goose.
State flower: Hibiscus.
State tree: Candlenut.
Climate: Tropical weather {year round range of 66-88 degrees (78°F average.)}


Land and People

The Hawaiian Islandsare of volcanic origin and are edged with coral reefs. Hawaii is the largest and geologically the youngest island of the group, Hawaii is made up of three volcanic mountain masses rising from the floor of the Pacific Ocean—Mauna Kea (13,796 ft/4,205 m above sea level, the highest point in the state); Mauna Loa (with the huge Kilauea crater); and Hualalai. Lava flows, some of which reach the sea and volcanic ash cover parts of the island. The north and northeast coasts are rugged with high cliffs; the west and south coasts are generally low, with some good bathing beaches. An unusual black-sand beach lies on the southeast coast. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, consisting of uninhabited islets and excluding Midway, stretch more than 1,100 mi (1,800 km) from Nihoa to Kure. Most of islets are encompassed in the Hawaiian Island National Wildlife Refuge; the surrounding waters and coral reefs are in the vast 84-million-acre (34-million-hectare) Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Reserve. Palmyraatoll and Kingman Reef, which were within the boundaries of Hawaiiwhen it was a U.S.territory, were excluded when statehood was achieved.


 More ethnic and cultural groups are represented in Hawaiithan in any other state. Chinese laborers, who came to work in the sugar industry, were the first of the large groups of immigrants to arrive (starting in 1852), and Filipinos and Koreans were the last (after 1900). Other immigrant groups—including Portuguese, Germans, Japanese, and Puerto Ricans—came in the latter part of the 19th cent. Intermarriage with other races has brought a further decrease in the number of pure-blooded Hawaiians, who comprise a very small percentage of the population.



Sugarcane and pineapples, grown chiefly on large company-owned plantations, are the major agricultural products. Macadamia nuts, papayas, greenhouse vegetables, and coffee are also important. Other products include cattle and dairy products. Commercial fishing, especially tuna, is also significant. Tourism is, however, the leading source of income, and defense installations, including Pearl Harbor, follow.


*Information from ColumbiaEncyclopedia, Sixth Edition



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