from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • Formerly Sandwich IslandsHawaiian Islands A group of volcanic and coral islands in the central Pacific Ocean coextensive with the state of Hawaii. There are eight major islands and more than a hundred minor ones. The islands were settled by Polynesians in the sixth century A.D. and visited by Capt. James Cook in 1778. They were ruled by native Hawaiian monarchs from 1795 until 1893, when Queen Liliuokalani was deposed. A republic was proclaimed the following year, but petitions for annexation by the United States were finally approved in 1898.


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