Hawaii is arguably the most famous archipelago on the planet and attracts tourists from all over the world who flock to the islands to sample the rich Hawaiian culture and the beautiful tropical climate. Hawaii has a population of about 1.5 million people according to the 2017 figures, and the area of the state is approximately 10,000 square miles. Hawaii became the 50th US state on August 21, 1959, but the question on the exact continent on which Hawaii is located has been raging on for years with no clear answer.
Brief History of Hawaii
The first human settlement in the Hawaiian Islands was around 400 CE when a group of Polynesians originating from the Marquesas Islands traveled to the large Hawaiian island in unique canoes and set up base there. They lived in isolation of the ocean as fishermen as well as off the land as farmers until 1778 when Europeans set foot on the island for the first time. In the years of subjugation that followed, the island of Hawaii and its people found themselves annexed off by the United States, an event that played a significant role in later making the beautiful island part of the United States in 1959. The influx of outsiders into Hawaii had had an impact on the natives, and the population was decimated from 300,000 to 70,000 thanks to the diseases that the Europeans brought with them in their attempt to colonize the island and turn it into a sugar colony.
Where Is Hawaii?
Being part of the United States automatically places Hawaii as part of the North American continent, but as far as the world is concerned, that is just political. The geographical location of Hawaii places it far away from the North American continent, and it is the only state of America that is not part of the mainland. The island of Hawaii is 2000 miles away from the nearest point of the United States, and this places the island right in the middle of the Oceania region which is considered to be the 7th continent. This, however, has also raised issues with many since the island of Hawaii does not lie either on the North American nor the Oceania continental crusts, what this means is that Hawaii is neither part of the North American continent or Oceania.
True Location of Hawaii
Hawaii lies 2,392 miles west of San Francisco, 3,900 miles east of Tokyo, and 4536 miles northeast of Australia. All these are significant points of the North American, Asian, and Australian continents and Hawaii is geographically isolated from all of them. By this facts it is correct to state that Hawaii does not belong to any continent, all geographical parameters considered. Politically speaking it is part of the North American continent because it is a state of the US but if the rules of proximity are observed then Hawaii is more of Oceania than North American.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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