Hawaii is a group of islands located about 3,200 km (2,000 mi) from the North American continent. Hawaii is a state of the United States of America and it is the only state made up of only islands. Hawaii is a relatively small state in terms of area and population, but it has the fourth largest coastline of any U.S. state! Let’s take a look at a brief history of the region and find out how these islands became a state.
A brief history of Hawaii
The history of Hawaii begins long before it became a state of the United States of America. It is believed that the first people arrived on the Hawaiian islands around 300 AD with a larger migration occurring around the 11th century. The first European to have contact with the island is believed to be British explorer James Cook, who named them the Sandwich Islands. In 1810 the islands were unified under one leader, Kamehameha I, and became the Kingdom of Hawaii. Even after this occurred the islands were of interest to Britain, France and the United States. After attempts by Britain to control the islands these countries eventually accepted the independence of the islands.
When did Hawaii become a state?
The Hawaiian islands were officially annexed by the United States in 1898 when President McKinley signed the Newlands Resolution. However, Hawaii was not made a state at this time and remained an incorporated territory of the United States for many years. In both 1935 and 1937 the people of Hawaii attempted to convince Congress that the territory should be made a state. However, it is believed that many politicians were uncomfortable with a state made up of mostly non-white people. The calls for statehood continued and after World War II the push became even stronger. In 1956 John A. Burns was elected the Hawaiian delegate to Congress and he was able to convince influential people that Hawaii was ready to be made a state. In March 1959 parliament passed the act to approve Hawaii as a state and in June a referendum was held to allow the people of Hawaii to vote on the topic. About 93% of those were in favor of becoming a state and on August 21, 1959, Hawaii was officially made a state of the United States of America. This means that Hawaii is the most recent of the 50 states that make up the country!