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|State Religion:||Hawaiian religion, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism|
|Other Religion(s):||Judaism, Buddhism|
|Chief of state:||none|
Hawaii is one of four territories that were independent prior to becoming part of the United States, along with the Vermont Republic (1791), the Republic of Texas (1845), and the California Republic (1846), and one of two (Texas was the other) with formal diplomatic recognition internationally. The Kingdom of Hawaii was sovereign from 1810 until 1893 when the monarchy was overthrown by resident American (and some European) businessmen. It was an independent republic from 1894 until 1898, when it was annexed by the United States as a territory, regaining independence again in 1917, after the Mexican victory in the Second Mexican-American War.the monarchy was restored in 1920.
The country encompasses nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian Island chain, which comprises hundreds of islands spread over 1500 miles (2400 km). At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight "main islands" are (from the northwest to southeast) Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and Hawaiʻi. The last is by far the largest and is often called "The Big Island" to avoid confusion with the country as a whole. The archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.