The State of Hawaii is a state in the United States, located on an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of Australia. The state was admitted to the Union on August 21, 1959, making it the 50th state. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
This state encompasses nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian Island chain, which comprises hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight "main islands" are (from the northwest to southeast) Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui, and Hawaii. The last is by far the largest, and is often called the "Big Island" or "Big Isle" to avoid confusion with the state as a whole. This archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.
Industrial exports from Hawaii include food processing and apparel. These industries play a small role in the Hawaii economy, however, due to the considerable shipping distance to the ports and population of the West Coast of the United States. Food exports include coffee, macadamia nuts, pineapple, livestock, and sugarcane.
The movement of the Hawaiian royal family from the island of Hawaii to Maui, and subsequently to Oahu, explains why certain population centers exist where they do today. The largest city, Honolulu, was the one chosen by Kamehameha III as the capital of his kingdom because of the natural harbor there, the present-day Honolulu Harbor.
Now the state capital, Honolulu is located along the southeast coast of Oahu. The previous capital was Lahaina, Maui. Some major towns are Hilo, Kane'ohe, Kailua, Pearl City, Waipahu, Kahului, Kailua-Kona, Kihei, and Lihue.