By: Kate Brookner

STATEHOOD: August 21, 1959; 50th state

CAPITAL: Honolulu

LARGEST CITY: Honolulu, Population 378,155

TOTAL AREA: 10,931 sq mi; 28,311 sq km

LAND AREA: 6,423 sq mi; 16,635 sq km

POPULATION: 1,257,608

DENSITY : 196 People per sq mi

ETHNIC GROUPS: 41.6% Asian; 24.3% white; 9.4% Hawaiian/Pacific Islander; 1.8% African American. Hispanic (any race) 7.2%

INDUSTRY: tourism, trade, finance, food processing, petroleum refining, stone, clay, and glass products

AGRICULTURE: sugar cane, pineapples, nursery stock, tropical fruit, livestock, macadamia nuts

Surfing was invented thousands of years ago by the Polynesian people who first settled Hawaii. They rode ocean waves on carved wooden boards that weighed more than 150 pounds and measured up to 20 feet in length. Modern surfboards are made of plastic and fiberglass, weigh about 12 pounds, and are only 6 feet long.

Hawaii is the only state completely made up of islands. It is also the only state where you’ll find coffee plantations and tropical rainforests.

Mount Waialeale on Hawaii’s Kauai Island is one of the wettest spots on earth. The 5,080-foot mountain receives more than 460 inches of rain each year.

Mauna Loa, on the island of Hawaii, is the world’s largest volcano. Mauna Loa rises 31,784 feet, but less than half or its height is actually above sea level.

Every year more than 1.5 million people view the remains of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor. The warship and its crew were bombed by Japan during a surprise raid on the naval base on December 7, 1941.

In the 1960s, astronauts trained for moon voyages by walking on Mauna Loa’s cooled and hardened lave fields, which resemble the surface of the moon.

Hawaii was once an independent monarchy, ruled by kings and queens. It’s the only state that ever had this form of government. Hawaii’s kings and queens lived in Lolani Palace, the only royal residence in the United States.

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