Natural Advanced Geography
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Cover and Preface

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Cover and Preface: Page 3

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Physical Features

The Hawaiian Islands lie in the Pacific Ocean, about 2500 miles southwest of San Francisco. The islands of this group are twelve in number, and the chain extends in an irregular line from northwest to southeast, between about 18° and 23° north latitude. The area of the seven inhabited islands is 6449 square miles, or about two thirds that of the state of Vermont. The largest island, Hawaii, is considerably smaller than the state of Connecticut; Oahu is half as large as Rhode Island. The whole chain consists of a series of volcanoes, all now extinct, except Mauna Loa and Kilauea, in the island of Hawaii. Mauna Kea, in the same island, has an altitude of 13,805 feet. Nearly all the islands are partly surrounded by reefs, and the mountainous surface is everywhere broken by valleys and running streams, but there are no rivers.

Of mineral products there are none except those which occur in volcanic regions, such as sulphur, copperas, and niter. The Climate is warm, the air is pure and agreeable, being refreshed by the northeast trade winds, and the temperature, seldom rising above 88°, is made equable by the vast surrounding ocean. The average yearly rainfall is about 50 inches, although in the island of Hawaii it reaches 200 inches.

Vegetation and Animals

The windward mountain slopes and valleys are covered with a dense tropical growth, and the forests contain much valuable timber. The more useful indigenous trees and plants inelude the screw pine, the cocoanut, the candlenut, used for lighting, the breadfruit, the banana, and the wonderfully nutritive taro, the principal food plant of the natives. Pigs, dogs, and rats are found, but have been introduced by man. There are snipes, plovers, ducks, and a few singing birds. Imported goats and cattle have increased into wild herds. The only reptile is a small lizard.


As yet there is no extensive manufacturing, and agriculture is the main occupation. Sugar cane is the most important crop, and sugar making is the leading industry. Coffee, which grows on the elevated lands, is the next important product, and is rapidly increasing in importance. Rice is raised on marshy fields by Chinamen.

The common garden vegetables, peaches, oranges, pineapples, bananas, the guava for jelly - all produce abundantly. The tea plant, and the ramie and the tree-fern pulu, both yielding a fine fiber for weaving and for cushions, have been suecessfully introduced. There are large sheep farms, and the wild cattle are killed for their hides.

The Hawaiian Islands are of great commercial importance to the United States, and Honolulu is in direct line of vessels plying between the Pacific coast and China, Japan, and Australia.


The Hawaiian Islands were discovered by Captain Cook in 1778, and by him were named Sandwich Islands, in honor of the English earl of that name. Cook and the natives were friendly until he unintentionally offended against their religious customs, when they killed him, in 1779. In 1820 American missionaries began their labors in Oahu, and to them is largely due the rapid advance in civilizing the islands, and in promoting education.

The islands were governed by chiefs and monarchs until 1893, when the queen was deposed, and the group was formed into a republic. In 1898 the Hawaiian republic was annexed to the United States, and in 1900 established as the Territory of Hawaii.

The People, according to the census of 1900, number 154,001. Of this total about one sixth are Japanese; one eighth Chinese; one tenth Portuguese; 2000 British; and over 3000 Americans, who are the ruling class. The natives, called Kanakas, are gentle, intelligent, and brave, but, owing to the radical change in their customs, they are rapidly decreasing in number.

Cities and Towns

Honolulu, the capital, having a population of about 39,000, is situated on a plain on the south coast of Oahu. The harbor is more than a mile long, and admits the largest vessels. The city contains substantial government buildings, churches, and handsome residences; also several planing mills, rice mills, and iron works.

Hilo has about 20,000 inhabitants, is beautifully situated on the island of Hawaii, and is next to Honolulu in importance. On the west side of the same island is Kauhako, near the place where Captain Cook was killed, and where on a monument stands to his memory. On Maui, the most important town is Lahaina; and Wailuku, Kahului, and Spreckelsville are flourishing villages.


Physical Features

The Philippine Islands lie east. of Indo-China, and about 600 miles southeast of China, from which they are separated by the South China Sea. The most northern point in the group is in about the latitude of southern Cuba, and the most southern point is only 5 1/2° from the equator. The length of the archipelago is 1000 miles; the greatest width 640 miles. The land area is over 115,000 square miles. Various estimates have placed the number of these closely packed islands at from 480 to 2000. Luzon and Mindanao include more than half the area of the whole group. The surface is generally broken by mountains of volcanic origin. There are many water courses, the largest rivers being the Cagayan in Luzon and the Agusan Mindanao, each of these streams is over 200 miles long.

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