The state of Hawaii is located more than 2,000 miles off of the west coast of the continental United States and is comprised of a group of eight major islands in the central Pacific Ocean. Hawaii is located over a volcanic “hotspot” and magma flows from the volcanoes still add to its land area. During the 18th century, Hawaii had a self-sustaining society that relied on fishing and farming. In the latter part of the 19th century, Hawaii developed a plantation-based economy that focused on cultivating products such as sugar and pineapples for export. In the 1930s, the U.S. government developed a military installation there, and federal expenditures quickly became a significant source of employment and income. Today, Hawaii’s economy has shifted gears, with tourism constituting the largest portion of GDP. Visitors worldwide are drawn by the state’s paradise-like beaches, subtropical climate, and bountiful natural attractions such as waterfalls and volcanoes.

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