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Hawaii is the most recent of the 50 U.S. states (joined the Union on August 21, 1959), and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.
Hawaii may been named for the traditional home of the Polynesians, Hawaii or Hawaiki, called "Owhyhee".
Uncertain. The islands may have been named by Hawaii Loa, their traditional discoverer. Or they may have been named after Hawaii or Hawaiki, the traditional home of the Polynesians.
The Hawaiian language word Hawai'i derives from Proto-Polynesian *Sawaiki, with the reconstructed
meaning "homeland"; cognate words are found in other Polynesian languages, including Maori (Hawaiki),
Rarotongan ('Avaiki), and Samoan (Savai'i). (See also Hawaiki).
According to Pukui and Elbert, "Elsewhere in Polynesia, Hawai'i or a cognate is the name of the underworld or of the ancestral home, but in Hawai'i the name has no meaning."
Though Captain James Cook called the islands that he discovered in 1778 the Sandwich islands, this honor to the Earl of Sandwich would be short-lived. King Kamehameha I united the islands under his rule by 1819 as the Kingdom of Hawaii.
A couple of theories exist on the origin of the name Hawaii. One theory has it that the name comes from a combination of the words "Hawa" and "ii" and means a small or new homeland; "Hawa" meaning a traditional homeland and "ii" meaning small and raging. The other theory is that the name comes from the traditional discoverer of the islands, Hawaii Loa.
Many of Hawaii's supporters call it Paradise of the Pacific, or Crossroads of the Pacific (although this is mostly associated with the city of Honolulu), and others call it the Pineapple State. But since 1959 a Polynesian greeting has given the state's official nickname (which also appears on license plates), The Aloha State.
Hawaii became officially known as the "Aloha State" by a 1959 legislative act. Haw. Rev. Stat. 5-7
CHAPTER 5. EMBLEMS AND SYMBOLS.
?5-7 State popular name. The name "The Aloha State" is adopted, established, and designated as the official "popular" name for the State, to be effective so long as the legislature of the State does not otherwise provide. [L 1959, JR 1, ?1; Supp, ?14-5.1; HRS ?5-7]
But since 1959 a Polynesian greeting has given the state's official nickname (which also appears on license plates), The Aloha State. The Islands of Aloha is the same derivative
Due to its location, "Crossroads of the Pacific" is a nickname shippers give to Hawaii.
The last state to enter the union, Hawaii is sometimes referred to as "The Youngest State."
Hawaii has also been referred to as "The Pineapple State" because of the pineapple industry and its impact on the state's economy.
Anyone who has ever visited a secluded cove on one of the Hawaiian islands will understand why Hawaii is sometimes called the "Paradise of the Pacific." The natural beauty of the islands is well known.