7 SURPRISING FACTS ABOUT HAWAII
1. Hawaii was illegally overthrown by the United States.
What many people don’t know about Hawaii is that it was once ruled by the Hawaiian Monarchy. During Queen Liliuokalani’s reign in 1893, a group of men from Liliuokalani’s cabinet of American, German, and British descent, known as The Committee of Public Safety, executed a military coup to overthrow the Hawaiian Kingdom.
2. The Hawaiian Islands are a chain of 137 islands.
When people think of Hawaii, their minds automatically go to Waikiki (“Is that the capital?” people sometimes painfully ask), or maybe Maui. In Hawaii, there are eight major islands: Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island (also known as Big Island), Kauai, Lanai, Molokai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe. (Locals jokingly call their favorite vacation destination of Las Vegas the “ninth island”). In total, Hawaii is comprised of 137 islands including the major eight, islets, atolls, and reefs.
3. Hawaii has 10 of the world’s 14 climate zones.
While Hawaii enjoys some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world, its diverse climates may surprise you.
On Hawaii Island alone, you can find all 10 zones: from tropical and continuously wet to hot desert and periglacial ice climates, you see and experience pretty much everything Earth has to offer on one island.
4. The Hawaiian Islands are the most geographically isolated island chain on Earth.
More than 2,000 miles away from any other place, Hawaii is the most isolated island chain on Earth, so it’s no wonder our unique flora, fauna, and frankly, grocery prices, tend to amaze people.
Hawaii’s ecosystem developed in almost total isolation, making it more endemic than even the Galapagos Islands.
5. The Hawaiian alphabet only has only 12 letters.
For non-native speakers and tourists, Hawaiian names can be a challenge. The reason why might be because the Hawaiian alphabet only contains 12 letters (plus an ʿokina and kahakō, which are symbols that change the sound of a word). Because so few consonants make up the Hawaiian language, words like Humuhumunukunukuapuaʿa (Hawaii’s state fish) can be challenging to pronounce, but with some practice, words become easy and fun to say.
6. There are no snakes in Hawaii.
Hawaii has worked hard to keep snakes out of the state in order to protect native birds and other species. Those found smuggling snakes into the state can face three years in jail and fines upwards of $200,000.
7. There are no billboards in Hawaii.
The first of four states to ban billboards (ahead of Alaska, Maine, and Vermont), Hawaii enjoys wide open spaces free from billboards so that our residents can enjoy distraction-free, scenic driving.