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Hawaii: The Fiftieth State



Hawaii: The Fiftieth State
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.83

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    caste, dynasty, negotiation, statehood, assistance, tourism, convert, society, resistance, canoe, strengthen, based, reorganize, imagine, medical, shortly
     content words:    Captain James Cook, Atlantic Ocean, Sandwich Islands, Big Island, King Kamehameha I., King Kamehameha, Kamehameha II, New England, Kamehameha III, Queen Emma


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Hawaii: The Fiftieth State
By Phyllis Naegeli
  

1     Imagine paddling a canoe across thousands of miles of open ocean. Sounds scary, doesn't it? But that is how people came to Hawaii. Over 1,000 years ago, Polynesian people traveled to the islands. When they arrived, they were amazed at the lush countryside. Some returned to their homes to bring their families back to the islands.
 
2     The first societies on Hawaii were based on a caste system called "kapu." Under kapu, a person's place in society was determined by birth. There were four classes of people. Each island had a chief who was in the highest class along with the nobles. This class was called ali'i. The next level included priests, teachers, and healers and was called kahuna. The lower classes were the commoners called maka'ainana and the outcasts who were called kauwa.
 
3     In 1778, the first British explorer arrived in Hawaii. Captain James Cook was looking for a route to the Atlantic Ocean and found the islands. He spent two weeks exploring the land. He determined that three hundred thousand people lived there. Cook named the islands "the Sandwich Islands" after the Earl of Sandwich. In 1779, he returned to the islands and was killed in a skirmish with the natives.

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