The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, numerous smaller islets, and undersea seamounts in the Pacific Ocean.
Once known as the “Sandwich Islands”, the archipelago now takes its name from the largest island in the cluster, Hawaii, the Big Island.
The Hawaiian Islands have a total land area of 6,423 square miles and extend 1,500 miles from the island of Hawaii in the south, to Green Island, the most northern island which is joined to the Kure Atoll.
The Hawaiian Islands, other than the island of Midway which is an unincorporated territory of the United States, form the state of Hawaii which is the 50th state of the United States of America. They are about 1,860 miles from the nearest continent.
The islands are the exposed peaks of a great undersea mountain range known as the Hawaiian – Emperor seamount chain which has been formed by volcanic activity.
The state of Hawaii counts 137 “islands” in the Hawaiian chain. This number includes the 8 main islands, all minor islands and islets offshore of the main islands or in each atoll.
This article lists some of theHawaiian Islands Names, including the 8 main islands.
Hawaiian Islands Names
The eight main Hawaiian Islands, in descending order by size, are:
- Hawai’i, the Big Island: The largest and youngest of the Hawaiian Islands, and twice the size of all the other islands combined, it is a land of mountains and volcanoes.
- Maui: The second largest and most popular with tourists, Maui has many famous attractions including Haleakala Crater, the historic whaling town of Lahaina, the Iao Needle and the spectacular road to Hana.
- O’ahu: Third largest and home to Honolulu, Waikiki, Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor and Hanauma Bay.
- Kaua’i: the fourth largest and oldest island. Less developed than Maui, Kauai has spectacular scenery including the Waimee Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific
- Moloka’i: The fifth largest island measuring 38 miles by 10 miles. It is very under-developed and was once home to a leper colony.
- Lana’i: The sixth largest island, also known as the Pineapple Island because it was home to a very large pineapple plantation.
- Ni’ihau: The seventh largest of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands.
- Kaho’olawe: The smallest of the eight main islands. it is sparsely populated because of a shortage of fresh water
Smaller islands, atolls, and reefs (all west of Niʻihau and uninhabited) form the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, or Hawaiian Leeward Islands:
- Nihoa (Mokumana)
- Necker (Mokumanamana)
- French Frigate Shoals (Kānemilohaʻi)
- Gardner Pinnacles (Pūhāhonu)
- Maro Reef (Nalukākala)
- Laysan (Kauō)
- Lisianski Island (Papaʻāpoho)
- Pearl and Hermes Atoll (Holoikauaua)
- Midway Atoll (Pihemanu)
- Kure Atoll (Mokupāpapa)
Other Hawaiian Islands names for islets include:
- Ford Island (Mokuʻumeʻume)
- Mōkōlea Rock
- Nā Mokulua
- Moku Manu
- Moku Ola (Coconut Island, Hawaii)
- Moku o Loʻe (Coconut Island, Oahu)
- Sand Island
- Grass Island (Hawaii)