Hawaii is a string of 137 islands encompassing a land area of 6,422.6 square miles in the north central Pacific Ocean about 2,400 miles from the west coast of the continental United States. From northwest to southeast, the major islands are: Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui, and Hawaii.
Home to a rich Polynesian culture, British Captain James Cook arrived in the Islands in 1788 on his third voyage to the Pacific. Hawaii was annexed to the US in 1898 and it became a state in 1959.
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