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The beautiful Hawaiian Islands was a strategic addition to the United States. Polynesian voyagers were the first known settlers of the Hawaiian islands. Cultural and linguistic evidence suggest that these inhabitants came from the Marquesas Group, to the north of Tahiti. They were under warring native kings when Captain James Cook discovered them in 1778. Cook was an English explorer and navigator who circumnavigated the globe from 1768 to 1775. On an expedition to the south Pacific from 1772 to 1775 he disproved rumors of a great southern continent and prevented scurvy by dietary and hygienic measures. He led a futile search for the Pacific Atlantic passage through North America and rediscovered the Sandwich Islands. Cook was killed by Hawaiian natives.
Eventually the islands were united by Kamehameha I, a Hawaiian monarch who established law and order, in 1810. Around this time Hawaii assumed an important role in the east-west fur trade bringing American and European traders who were followed by missionaries in 1820. From 1842 to 1854 an American, J. P. Judd, was prime minister. He encouraged reforms and the economy prospered from thriving trade with the United States.
On the death of her father King Kamehameha, Queen Lili'uokalani who would later become the Head of the Royal House of Hawaii from 1893 until her death in 1917, assumed the throne in 1891. She was overthrown by businessmen with the help of the United States Marines and forced to surrender the Hawaiian Kingdom to the United States. When Queen Lili'uokalani was deposed in 1893, a republic was set up with S. B. Dole as president in 1894. Dole was an American statesman of the Hawaiian Islands, who after becoming president became the first governor of the territory of Hawaii from 1900 to 1903.
Hawaii was annexed by the United States in 1898 and became a United States Territory in 1900. It became the 50th state admitted to the Union in 1959. America's entry into Second World War came with Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. A landlocked harbor of south Oahu Island in Hawaii, Peal Harbor was primarily a United States naval base with military installations in the area. The United States gained coaling and repair stations there in 1887. It became a naval base in 1900. The base was strengthened after the signing of the Axis Pact. The Japanese attack on the island on December 7, 1941 caused severe damage and plunged the United States into the World War II. The islands became the chief Pacific outpost for U. S. forces. Postwar years brought economic and social expansion.
The Hawaiian islands, formerly the Sandwich islands, are of volcanic origin with some of the worlds largest active and inactive volcanoes. Mostly fertile with luxuriant vegetation and famous for their fine climate and scenic beauty. Many ethnic and cultural groups are represented in the population. The Hawaiian Islands consist of eight major islands, with the largest being Hawaii, Oahu the most populated, Maui, Kauai, Lanai, Niihau, Molokia and Kahoolawe. The Capitol of Hawaii is Honolulu. The State Bird is the NeNe and the State Flower is the Hawaiian Leis.