- Hawaii became a state in 1959 and is made up of over 100 islands, with 8 main ones. Here are some very interesting facts about Hawai’i:
- Hawaii is the 40th most populous state, with 1.42 million inhabitants, with nearly 1 million living on Oahu.
- Hawai’i (called “the Big Island”) is larger than all the other islands put together.
- Kahoolawe is deserted and was used for target practice by the military from WWII to the early 90s. Boats are required to stay at least 2 miles away due to concerns about unexploded ordinance.
- Kalaupapa, on the island of Molokai, is/was a leprosy colony where people with leprosy (Hansen’s disease) were sequestered. Over 8,000 leprosy patients were sent to live and die at Kalaupapa over the course of its history. Six patients still live there. Read more here.
- Lanai is mostly undeveloped and is 98% owned by Larry Ellison.
- All the islands were formed by volcanoes and are relatively young. As the tectonic plate on which the islands sit moved over a volcanic hot spot each successive island was formed. The tectonic plate moves a few inches a year. Currently the Big Island is over the hot spot and has active volcanoes, including Kilauea which has been erupting continuously since 1983.
- Kauai is 5.1 million years old, Oahu is 2.2 to 3.4 million years old, Molokai is 1.3 to 1.9 million year, Lanai is 1.3 million years, Maui 0.8 to 1.3 million and the Big Island is less than 0.7 million years old. Given that the Earth is about 4.6 billion years old, these islands are little babies.
- Mauna Kea, a volcanic mountain on the Big Island is 13,808 feet above sea level, but is 33,000 feet from base to peak, if the underwater portion is included, which makes it the biggest mountain from top to bottom on Earth.
- The native Hawaiians are Polynesians who discovered the islands around 500 C.E. and likely came from the Marquesas Islands. They were joined by Tahitians around 1000 C.E. These are very long distances to travel
- The native Hawaiian language was not a written language until 1839, when missionaries created the written language so the native Hawaiians could learn the bible. The language consists of 12 letters: 7 consanants and 5 vowels. It also uses the glottal stop, or ‘okina as a letter.
Great topic choice. I bet you could write a series of articles with all you know about Hawai’i!
May I humbly point out that Lana’i is owned by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.
Richard Branson owns Necker Island in the British Virgin Isles.
Crap. Fixed it. Thanks.