The state encompasses nearly the entire Hawaiian archipelago, 137 islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). The volcanic archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania. At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight main islands are, in order from northwest to southeast: Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and Hawaiʻi. The last is the largest island in the group; it is often called the "Big Island" or "Hawaiʻi Island" to avoid confusion with the state or archipelago.
Hawaii's diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists. Because of its central location in the Pacific and 19th-century labor migration, Hawaii's culture is strongly influenced by North American and East Asian cultures, in addition to its indigenous Hawaiian culture. Read more...
The Island of Hawaiʻi (called the Big Island or Hawaiʻi Island) is a volcanicisland in the Pacific Ocean and one of the eight main islands that compose the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi. With an area of 4,028 square miles (10,432 km²), it is the largest island in the United States and the 76th largest island in the world. Larger than all of the other Hawaiian Islands combined, Hawaiʻi is said to have been named for Hawaiʻiloa, the legendary Polynesian navigator who first discovered it. However, other accounts attribute the name to the legendary land or realm of Hawaiki, a place from which the Polynesians originated, the place where they go in the afterlife, the realm of the gods.
"The people to whom your fathers told of the living God, and taught to call 'Father,' and whom the sons now seek to despoil and destroy, are crying aloud to Him in their time of trouble; and He will keep His promise, and will listen to the voices of His Hawaiian children lamenting for their homes." — Queen Liliʻuokalani