Congressional fact-finding junkets had been popular for many decades. “As a result of the statehood issue,” The Times said, “Hawaii contends that it is the most thoroughly investigated community under the American flag.”
Hawaii finally became the 50th state on Aug. 21, 1959, under President Eisenhower.
Does anyone live there?
Yes. About 1.36 million people — more than 10 other states. (It has more land area than Connecticut and, including water, more total area than New Jersey or Massachusetts, among others.)
Oahu is the most populated island, with more than 953,000 people in 2010, according to the latest census data. The state capital, Honolulu, is there.
It claims to be the most diverse state, based on the 2010 census. More than 60 percent of Hawaii’s people are Asian. The Filipino population overtook the Japanese population to become the largest Asian group in the state in 2010. In 2014, there were nearly 370,000 Hawaiian residents described by the census as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders. About 20 percent of the population can trace ancestry to the original population, a Pew study found.
Did anything important ever happen there?
On Dec. 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy,” President Roosevelt informed the nation, “the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” The attack on Pearl Harbor on Oahu brought the United States into World War II, leading to America’s rise as the pre-eminent global superpower for decades to come. So, yes.
What drives the economy?
For centuries, sugar cane was Hawaii’s major export crop. The production of it — and the selling of it — shaped the island’s history and economics for 200 years. But, the last working sugar mill produced its final harvest in 2016. These days, the island chain’s economics are mostly shaped by the tourism and defense industries. Pearl Harbor remains an active military installation and is the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Command. Average household income ranked No. 5 in the nation, at $63,030 per year, in 2010.
What are Hawaii’s cultural contributions?
Its rich culture of dance and music include the unique foot and arm movements of the hula dance, the ukulele and variations on the guitar, such as the slack-key method. The state’s traditional musicians included Eddie Kamae, who expanded the ukulele playbook and helped lead a resurgence of traditional Hawaiian music and culture; he died in January.
Another beloved figure was the musician Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole, known as Iz. He died in 1997, before his cover of “Over the Rainbow” became a worldwide hit and a Hawaiian standard.
The television show “Hawaii Five-O” was popular for a dozen years before going off the air in 1980. A reboot brought fame to Keo Woolford, who was on the show from 2011 to 2015, and other Hawaiian actors in the series. Hawaii was also the setting for…