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The last is the largest island in the group; it is often called the "Big Island" or "Hawaiʻi Island" to avoid confusion with the state or archipelago. The state's oceanic coastline is about 750 miles (1,210 km) long, the fourth longest in the U. after the coastlines of Alaska, Florida, and California. In addition to the eight main islands, the state has many smaller islands and islets. The Northwest Hawaiian Islands is a group of nine small, older islands to the northwest of Kauaʻi that extend from Nihoa to Kure Atoll; these are remnants of once much larger volcanic mountains.

It is possible that Spanish explorers arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in the 16th century, two hundred years before Cook's first documented visit in 1778.Hawaii was an independent republic from 1894 until August 12, 1898, when it officially became a territory of the United States. Other authors say there is no archaeological or linguistic evidence for a later influx of Tahitian settlers and that Paʻao must be regarded as a myth.The history of the islands is marked by a slow, steady growth in population and the size of the chiefdoms, which grew to encompass whole islands.Hawaii has over a million permanent residents, along with many visitors and U. There are eight main Hawaiian islands, seven of which are permanently inhabited. Because of the hotspot's location, all currently active land volcanoes are located on the southern half of Hawaii Island.The island of Niʻihau is privately managed by brothers Bruce and Keith Robinson; access is restricted to those who have permission from the island's owners. The newest volcano, Lōʻihi Seamount, is located south of the coast of Hawaii Island.

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