This page last updated: 22 February 2009

Chain color

Hawaii is a North Pacific Ocean island chain extending from Kauai and Niihau in the north to the Big Island of Hawaii in the south. They lie between longitudes 154 40' and 160 30' West and between latitudes 18 55' and 22 16' North, positioning them about 2,360 miles from Victoria (on Vancouver's Island, Canada), 2,100 miles from San Francisco, 3,280 miles from Acapulco, 4,665 miles from Panama, 5,240 miles from Callao, 5,916 miles from Valparaiso, 2,263 miles from Samoa, 2,390 miles from Tahiti, 2,708 miles from Fiji, 3,814 miles from Auckland, 4,424 miles from Sydney, 4,778 miles from Manila, 4,961 miles from Hong Kong and 3,445 miles from Yokohama.

This chain is the southern tip of a much longer archipelago stretching across the northern Pacific Ocean all the way from the Big Island to Ocean Island (Kure Atoll), northwest of Midway at about 28 25' N and 178 25' W, a span of almost 2,000 miles. The inhabited islands clustered at the south end of the archipelago are Hawaii, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau. Kahoolawe has supported a sparse population from time to time.

Maps of Hawaii are scattered about on various pages in this site so for ease of reference this page is dedicated to maps. For maps of the Pacific Basin and the World, see Map of the Pacific and also The Indian Ocean and Cape of Good Hope Route and other route studies under Pre-Treaty Mail in the Foreign Mail Postal History section.

Mapping of Hawaii began with Captain Cook and continued with Captain Vancouver and other early explorers. The United States Exploring Expedition in 1842, under the command of Captain Wilkes (the Wilkes Expedition) produced excellent early maps. Government Surveys conducted by the Hawaiian Kingdom in the 1880's resulted in maps with greater detail. Examples from these sources will be found on various pages in this site. Barnes' Hawaiian Geography, A. S. Barnes & Co., Chicago and New York, c. 1890, gives us the maps imaged on the following pages. They are based on the Government Survey maps of 1887.

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Island of Kauai

Island of Oahu

Island of Maui

Islands of Molokai and Lanai

Island of Hawaii

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