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Hawaiian Geography

The state is comprised of nineteen major islands and atolls in the Central Pacific Ocean. The government also includes within its territoriality minor offshore islands and individual islets found in each atoll in its official count of 137 islands. The inhabited islands are those that lie between Ni‘ihau and the Big Island of Hawai‘i, but the island chain extends another 1000 miles (1600 kilometers) to the northwest.

The most important cities and towns Hilo, Lihu‘e, and Wailuku, as well as the largest city and state capital, Honolulu.

All of the islands were formed by volcanic activity; current volcanic activity is limited to the Island of Hawai‘i. The last volcanic eruption elsewhere in the archipelago was on the southwest flank of East Maui Volcano, near the end of the 18th Century.

The larger islands are listed below.

  • Hawai‘i
  • Maui
  • Kaho‘olawe
  • Lana‘i
  • Moloka‘i
  • O‘ahu
  • Kaua‘i
  • Ni‘ihau