On January 18, 1778 Captain James Cook and his crew, while attempting to discover the Northwest Passage between Alaska and Asia, were surprised to find the Hawaiian Islands so far north in the Pacific. He named them the "Sandwich Islands". After the discovery by Cook, other Europeans and Americans came to the Sandwich Islands. The earliest settlements in the Hawaiian Islands were made by Polynesians who traveled to Hawaii using large double-hulled canoes. They brought with them pigs, dogs, chicken, coconut, banana, and sugarcane.
Hawaii's constitution was drafted in 1950 and became effective with statehood in 1959. The governor is elected every four years. The legislature has a senate with 25 members and a house of representatives with 51 members. The state elects two representatives and two senators to the U.S. Congress and has four electoral votes. Multicultural Hawaii has long been a Democratic state, but Republicans have made recent gains. In 1994, Democrat Benjamin J. Cayetano became the first Filipino American to be elected governor of a U.S. state; he was reelected in 1998. Linda Lingle, elected governor in 2002, became the second Republican to win the office since statehood, and she was reelected four years later.
Modern Hawaiian cuisine is a fusion of many cuisines brought by multiethnic immigrants to the Hawaiian Islands, particularly of American, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Polynesian and Portuguese origins, including plant and animal food sources imported from around the world for agricultural use in Hawaii. Many local restaurants serve the ubiquitous plate lunch featuring the Asian staple, two scoops of rice, a simplified version of American macaroni salad (consisting of macaroni noodles and mayonnaise), and a variety of different toppings ranging from the hamburger patty, a fried egg, and gravy of a Loco Moco, Japanese style tonkatsu or the traditional lu'au favorite, kalua pig
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