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A Little About Big Island

The Big Island, also known as Hawaii Island, is the largest of the seven major Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii Island is the biggest island in terms of physical area in the entirety of the United States of America, covering more than four thousand square miles. The Big Island is bigger than all of the other Hawaiian Islands put together, and is still growing due to continued volcanic activity. Hawaii Island includes the southernmost point in the United States, as well as the tallest volcano in the nation. The Big Island takes its name from two potential sources in Polynesian mythology, a legendary navigator or the mythical origin site of the Polynesian people. Hawaii Island was used by King Kamehameha the Great as a base of operations during his campaign to unite the “Sandwich Islands.” In order to honor his home island, Kamehameha then gave the name of Hawaii to the entire island chain. After the arrival of European and American immigrants, Hawaii Island became a center for sugarcane production, although the last sugar plantation was closed before the end of the 20th century. Currently, the Big Island’s economy depends heavily on diversified agriculture as well as tourism. Of course, different parts of the island have different focuses – tourism is especially strong in Kona and Kohala, while agriculture is critical to the Waimea region.

There are two major population centers on the Big Island, Kona and Hilo, which are connected via two major road systems. The northern route, which passes through Waimea, is composed of State Highways 19 and 190, while the southern route, State Highway 11, passes through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Public transportation is provided by the Hele-On Bus, while three airports, Hilo International Airport, Waimea-Kohala Airport, and Kona International Airport, provide longer-range travel. There are several private schools on the Big Island, as well as public schools run by the State of Hawaii’s Department of Education. Post secondary education on Hawaii Island is offered by three colleges and universities, Hawaii Community College, the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and the University of the Nations. Properties on Hawaii Island run the gamut from relatively small condominiums and townhouses to seaside mansions and regular single family homes. There are currently about one hundred and eighty thousand people living on Hawaii Island, making it the second most populous of the Hawaiian Islands after Oahu. Like the rest of the state, the Big Island’s population is diverse in terms of both ethnic groups and socioeconomic divisions.

Hawaii Island is internationally significant for its widespread volcanic activity. There are three active volcanoes on the Big Island, as well as one extinct and one dormant peak. Perhaps the best known mountain in Hawaii, Mauna Kea, is the largest mountain in the world when measured from the sea floor. Mauna Kea is also an invaluable astronomical observatory, hosting some of the most important telescopic equipment in the Pacific region. While Kohala is extinct and Hualalai is not currently erupting, Kilauea and Mauna Loa make up Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a major tourist attraction on Hawaii Island. Interestingly, there is also an underwater volcano called Loihi off the coast of Hawaii Island, which is expected to become its own island within several thousand years. The Big Island is home to a variety of fascinating and unique beaches, including great surfing spots and green sand coastline. Many visitors from the mainland United States and Asia stay at the resort facilities along the Kohala Coast, which offer world class accommodations amidst some of the best weather in the world. In addition, the rugged yet beautiful terrain of the lava fields alongside the verdant landscapes of the tropics provides an outstanding setting for world class golf courses across the Island.

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