Hawaii is the youngest of the fifty states of the United States. It was found on August 21, 1959 and is the only state in the Union that is composed of islands. This state covers an area of almost eleven thousand square miles and has a population of one million and three hundred thousand residents. Because of its mild climate, warm waters, superb waves and natural scenic beauty it is a popular destination for tourist, as well as scientist looking to examine the ocean or the active volcanos on the islands. Because this state is situated in the mid-Pacific Ocean, it has had many Polynesian and Asian influences. The capital city of Hawaii is Honolulu, located on O’ahu Island. Hawaii is compose of almost the entire Hawaiian Island chain, which is made up of lots of islands spread out over an area of fifteen hundred square miles. The main Hawaiian islands consist of Hawaii, Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau.
Hawaii can trace its roots back to Polynesians who came from Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands. European settlement of the islands didn’t occur until 1778, when Captain James Cook discovered the islands while searching for a passage between Alaska and Asia. After his discovery, other Europeans flocked to the islands, as well as Americans. During the nineteenth century, the islands were united under a single ruler named Kamehameha I. In 1816, Kamehameha II ascended to the Hawaiian throne. In 1874, Hawaii granted the United States exclusive trading rights. The next year, the Reciprocity Treaty was enacted and allowed for the duty free importation of sugar cane into the United States from Hawaii. This resulted in an influx of Asians (necessary to work the fields) and an improved water works program to divert water from the streams to the lowlands. In 1959, Hawaii became the fiftieth state of the United States.
A popular Hawaiin attraction is Diamond Head Crater. Its located on the island of O’ahu and is officially known as a volcanic tuff cone. It received its name from English sailors during the nineteenth century when they mistook the calcite crystals in the rock for diamonds. Diamond Head is only one part of a large complex of eruption flows and vents that are known as the Honolulu Volcanic Series. This attraction, as well as Punchbowl Crater, Koko Head and Hanuama Bay were created by eruptions from Kooalau Volcano.
Diamond head is now a national monument and a popular tourists attraction. Part of the crater is used by the United States government as an antenna platform and is therfore closed to the general public. The rest of it, which is close to many of Honolulu’s hotels, make it a popular tourist attraction. A three quarter mile hike leads to the rim of the crater. Another popular attraction in Hawaii is Waimea Bay. Waimea Bay is situated on the northern shore of Oahu at the head of the Waimea River. During the winter months, Waimea has a variety of surfing contests due to the size of the waves that can be seen here. During the summer months, the bay is generally quiet and is frequented by a number of scuba divers, free divers and cliff jumpers.
Another prominent Hawaiian attraction is Akaka Falls State Park. Akaka Falls State Park is situated on the Island of Hawai’i and is eleven miles north of Hilo. The key feature of the park is Akaka Falls, which is a four hundred and forty-two foot waterfall. The part of the park that can be reached by hikers rise along a deep gorge that the waterfall plunges into. Akaku Falls, as well as Kahuna Falls can be seen from different parts of this trail. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is another site to visit while in the Hawaiian Islands. This botanical garden is situated off of Route Nineteen on Papa’ikou.
It sits in a valley that opens out to Onomea Bay and contains waterfalls, a boardwalk and streams. It was opened in 1984 by Dan J. Lutkenhouse. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden contains over two thousand species of plants that come from more than seven hundred and fifty genera and one hundred and twenty five families. It contains over two hundred species of palms, eighty species of bromeliads and eighty species of heliconias. A beautiful and fascinating attraction in Hawaii is Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is an inactive volcano. It is one of the five that form the island. Its peak rises over thirteen thousand feet above sea level, but is over thirty-three thousand feet above its bottom on the Pacific Ocean. By this measure, its the tallest mountain in the world. Its summit is above the timberline and is composed of lava rock covered with patches of tundra.