Hawaii was an independent kingdom, followed by a republic until 1898, when it became a U.S. territory, and finally the 49th U.S. state in 1959. The lifestyle in Hawaii is unique: its population of 1.3 million is multicultural, with 58 percent having Asian ancestry. Hawaii is also one of the few U.S. states where women are a minority (49.7 percent as opposed to 50.7 percent in the United States as a whole).

The Polynesian peoples, who lived on Hawaii before the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1778, had a system of beliefs and legends that went back to at least medieval times. The islands were unified under one ruler in 1795 by Kamehamedha the Great. When Kamehamedha the Great died in 1819, his favorite wife ...

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