When you think of the state of Hawaii, what comes to mind? You may think of islands, volcanoes, sandy beaches, palm trees, Hula dancers, and maybe even flower leis. These are many of the things that make up Hawaii and its culture, but they aren't all there is to this 50th state to enter the union.


Hawaii has officially been a state since 1959 – which really wasn't that long ago. Its capital city is Honolulu. It's not how young the state is that makes it the most interesting state in the U.S., however. What makes it unique is that it actually encompasses a volcanic archipelago, though not in its entirety. The archipelago itself is comprised of hundreds of islands spanning more than 1500 miles. Hawaii is actually local in Oceania, part of Polynesia, and not within the waters of the U.S.


While Hawaii has eight “main” islands, the state encompasses more than just those eight. The islands are broken up into counties, like the other states in the U.S. In Hawai'i County, there are 27 islands. In Honolulu County, there are 63 islands. In Maui County, there are 59 islands. In Kaua'i county, there are 8 islands. In Kalawao, there are 2 shared islands, as this county has no islands of its own. And then some islands have no permanent residences, called the Northern Hawaii Islands – these are many of the small islands.


Farming is actually a big industry in Hawaii, where coffee, sugarcane, macadamia nuts, and pineapples (among other crops) are popular. Honey is also a popular commodity in Hawaii, and honey bees are a major export of the state.


Hawaii is diverse culturally, offering much in the line of worldly cuisines and music. They have a custom that requires you bring a gift of some sort anytime you visit someone's home. Luaus are held on a child's first birthday. And they generally take their shoes off before entering someone's home.

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