Sugar cane, introduced in the archipelago since 1837, is today the main crop. In 1915, 55 plantations produced 811,000 tons. and the export yielded $ 70 million. The cane is planted in rows one and a half to two meters apart, and is harvested after 18 months. The production of pineapples takes second place in importance: the pineapple plant grows well at 300 m. in height and requires a rainfall of not less than 900 mm. nodded. The first harvest, which gives about 20 tons. per acre, it is done within about 20 months. In 1927 the value of the exported pineapples was 35 million dollars. Rice, agave and coffee are of local importance only.
Many commercial steamers operate regularly with the United States, Canada, Australia, the Philippines, China and Japan. During 1928,1267 steamships entered the ports of the islands and in 1927 about 17,500 tourists landed there. The most important port of the whole group is Honolulu.
Fishing is an important industry on Oahu. The ancient Hawaiian fish farms have been repaired and are used by the Chinese today. Offshore fishing is carried out mainly by the Japanese around the north-western islands, from where they transport fish preserved in the ice to Honolulu.
Railway lines run along the southern, western and northern coasts and the central plain, serving mostly plantations. The Pacific cable connecting Shanghai with San Francisco touches Waikiki near Honolulu. Major radiotelegraph stations installed in Pearl Harbor and Koko Head communicate with the United States. Pearl Harbor also has one of the largest docks in the Pacific, very well protected by fortifications. The island, which has 3 large military ports, is an important naval and military base of the United States.
According to ehuacom, Hawaii, the largest island, has approximately 10,400 sq km. surface, namely the 5 / 8 of the total of the group: from north to south it measures 145 km. and from east to west 96 km. The west coast, beaten by the wind, even a few hundred meters high, drops sheer to the sea: there are no large bays. The island essentially consists of three large volcanic cones and several smaller side cones. The northern end is formed by the Kohala mountains (1678 m.), Which are deeply eroded in the eastern part. Great cañones furrow the chain, where in the past there were waterfalls 500 m high. The water was largely diverted to irrigate the plantations. Of the two main mountains, Mauna Kea (4209 m.), The northernmost, has a flattened summit of 8 km. in length and 5 in width. During the winter it is abundantly covered with snow. Further west, the Hualalai, 2522 m. High, has no crater, but was erupted in 1801. The southern portion of the island is dominated by the flat cone of Mauna Loa (4168 m.), Which ends in an active crater with a diameter of 6 km. On the eastern flank of Mauna Loa, and about 40km. from the top, rises the most important volcano in the world, the Kilauea 1230 m high, whose crater, sometimes filled with liquid lava, measures 5 km. in width and 3 in length. On edge of it rises a volcanological observatory. In the last hundred years there have been 12 major lava emissions on the island: of these, 10 from Mauna Loa, one from Hualalai, and one from Kilauea. The city of Hilo, on the east coast, was seriously threatened by the lava of 1852, 1855 and 1881. Generally the lava comes out without producing great disturbances; however sometimes this is not the case: for example in 1868 there were violent earthquakes also in the southern portion of the island: a large rift opened near the Kilauea and the lava from the crater poured into it.
On the island, due to its mountainous character, rainfall is exceptionally abundant. The trade winds provide abundant rainfall especially on the east coast, so much so that Hilo is known as the “rainy city”; but also the western part receives heavy rains due to the upward movement and consequent cooling of the sea breezes. Large forests cover the western slopes up to 2200 m.; the internal plateaus are more arid and covered only with grass, while the recent lava flows from south and east are almost bare of vegetation. The territory between Olaa and Waipio is all cultivated with sugar cane, but without any irrigation: small coffee crops extend along the south-eastern coast; rice is instead grown on the north-east coast near Waipio, while the cattle are required to graze in the highest and grassy areas of the highlands. The largest farm is located in Waimea in the north.
Government. – The Hawaiian Islands are a territory, not a colony, of the United States; they are represented in the American Congress by a delegate appointed by the President of the United States, who has the right of initiative and can take part in the discussions, but does not have a vote. They are also appointed for four years by the President of the confederation, in agreement with the Senate, the governor, the secretary and various judges. The governor is assisted by a fifteen-member senate and a 30-member house of representatives, and appoints, with the consent of the local senate, the heads of the various administrative departments.
The territory of the Hawaiian Islands is divided into five counties: Honololu (cap. Honolulu), Hawaii (cap. Hilo), Maui (cap. Wailuku), Kauai (cap. Lihue), Kalawao (limited to the leper colony on the island of Molokai).