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Hawaiian Islands

The Hawaiian Islands lie in the central Pacific Ocean, west-south-west of the mainland of the United States, north of the equator and east of the International Date Line. There are over twenty of these volcanic islands of which Hawaii is the largest and, going north-west, Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau are of significant size. Pearl Harbor is a large natural haven on the south coast of Oahu and the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu, is also on this island. The Islands first became known to Europeans as a result of the visit of the British Captain James Cook in 1778. They remained a kingdom until the foundation of a republic in 1894. In 1898 they were annexed by the USA and they became a Territory in 1900. By the mid 1930s the population was largely American and Japanese (nisei), with the indigenous people being, as they are today, in the minority. The acquisition of the Philippines by the USA, also in 1898, gave America a presence in the Pacific maintained by military supremacy of which Pearl Harbor was an essential component. The USA was thus a natural enemy in the eyes of the Japanese.

See also: Honolulu; Lanai; Niihau; nisei; Oahu; Pearl Harbor