Hawai’i is a state of the United States of America located in the Pacific Ocean. It is the only U.S. state located outside North America and the only island state. The volcanic archipelago is made up of 137 islands and is part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania. The eight main islands are Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and the largest, Hawaiʻi, which the state is named after. It is often called the "Big Island" or "Hawaii Island" to avoid confusion with the state or archipelago. Hawaii is the 50th states. The state capital and largest city is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu.
Based on archaeological evidence, the earliest habitation of the Hawaiian Islands dates to around 300 CE, probably by Polynesian settlers from the Marquesas Islands. A second wave of migration from Raiatea and Bora Bora took place in the 11th century. Some archaeologists and historians think it was a later wave of immigrants from Tahiti around 1000 CE who introduced a new line of high chiefs, the kapu system, the practice of human sacrifice, and the building of heiau (Hawaiian temple). Ancient Hawaiʻi was a caste-based society, much like that of Hindus in India. In 1527, when the Spanish landed on the island, they were massacred by the natives (for once...). In 1778, James Cook landed in turn and renamed Hawaii "The Sandwich Islands" (in honor of a certain Earl of Sandwich). The island sinks into a long conflict which leads, in 1810, to the unification of all the small island kingdoms of the Hawaiian archipelago, while the nearby Americans play their influence, ever more important, especially in terms economic (planters, traders). In 1894, the Hawaiian archipelago, encouraged by the American government, proclaimed itself "republic". It was later annexed, on July 7th, 1898, to the United States with a special status, that of "territory of Hawaii" and Queen Liliu’okalani was put in prison.
It is the only state with an Asian American plurality. Less than 1 percent of Hawai’i's population is pure-blooded Hawaiian. Many immigrant groups (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Filipinos) originally came as contract laborers to work in the pineapple, coconut, and sugarcane plantations between 1852 and 1906. Hawai’i is the most multiracial state in the nation: nearly one fourth of all residents identify with more than one race. Nearly 1 in 4 residents is Filipino or Japanese; 1 in 5 is Native Hawaiian; and less than 2 in 10 is Chinese. Until 2010, those of Japanese descent constituted about 30 percent of the total population, and was the largest ethnic group in Hawai’i. In 2010, Filipinos surpassed Japanese as the largest ethnic group.
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 which has led to a unique Hawaiian or ‘local’ acculturation in terms of language pidgin (local creole), music (ukulele, steel guitar, slack key guitar) and cuisine to state only a few of its specificities.