Hawaii has a well-deserved reputation as something special. It’s a set of islands that are like no other, fragrant with flowers, caressed by trade winds, sung to by ukuleles and strung with hula skirts. It’s a place where the sun spanks the water, where volcanic craters rise from the sea and where beaches are made of white, black and green sands. For many people, it is a paradise in which they can relax and live their dreams.

But there’s more to Hawaii than just its breathtaking natural beauty and rich culture. It has a rich history of struggle, too.

The first settlers of Hawaii were Polynesian from the Marquesas Islands, arriving sometime between A.D. 1000 and 1200. Over the next century, they moved down the coast of the islands and settled in various places. They were farmers, fishers and warriors, and they were also religious believers. The Hawaiians believed that they were divinely guided by a god, Kamehameha. As the years went by, these beliefs began to change. The Hawaiians fought with the outside world for control of their lands. They traded with Europeans and with American whalers, and in 1819, Queen Kaahumanu accepted the first Protestant missionaries. In the 1820s, sugar planters from the United States took control of the island’s economy. This prompted the Committee of Safety to overthrow Queen Liliuokalani.

When the Committee of Safety overthrew the monarchy, the U.S. government sent the Blount Report to determine whether the removal was illegal. While the report concluded that it was, the new government helmed by President Grover Cleveland and later by President Sanford Dole complied with the U.S. government’s demand that the Queen be reinstated as ruler of the islands.

As part of this process, the state created offices that promoted the language and culture of the Hawaiians and helped to protect their customs. This trend continued into the decades after Hawaii became a state in 1959.

Aside from its incredible natural beauty, Hawaii has a wide variety of fun and interesting activities. Visitors can spend a day at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu, visit Pearl Harbor or go hiking on one of the state’s many trails. Many resorts and hotels also offer a range of cultural activities, from learning how to make leis or play the ukulele to taking a hula lesson.

Hawaii is home to mountains, volcanoes, waterfalls and lush rainforests. Its mountains and volcanoes have left their mark on the islands, creating a landscape filled with incredible cliffs and canyons. Eruptions from these hotspots have also created lava fields and rainforests, as well as black and green sand beaches. These amazing beaches are among the main reasons why people come to Hawaii. They can choose from the world-famous beaches of Waikiki or Waimea Bay, to secluded beaches that are only accessible via boat or hikes. The sands at these hidden beaches can be made of black, green or even red sand.

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