Origin of "Hawaii"

Hawaii State Name Origin


State of Hawaii, USA

State of Hawaii, USA (public domain image).

What does "Hawaii" mean?

The name "Hawaii" is possibly based on the native Hawaiian word for homeland (Owhyhee). Captain James Cook discovered the islands in 1778 and named the group "the Sandwich islands" (in honor of the Earl of Sandwich). This name lasted until King Kamehameha I united the islands under his rule in 1819 as the "Kingdom of Hawaii."



Statue of King Kamehameha I (O'ahu - Honolulu - Capitol District); photo by Wally Gobetz on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / no derivative works).

Statue of King Kamehameha I