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 are still adding 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 major source of employment and income. Today Hawaii’s economy has shifted gears with tourism constituting the largest portion of GDP. Visitors from around the world are drawn by the state’s paradise-like beaches, subtropical climate, and bountiful natural attractions such as waterfalls and volcanoes.

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