Nickname: The Garden Island
Kauai from space oriented.jpg
August 1989 satellite photo
Map of Hawaii highlighting Kauai.svg
Location in Hawaiʻi
Location22°05′N 159°30′W / 22°05′N 159°30′W / 22.083; -159.500
Area562.3 sq mi (1,456 km2)
Area rank4th largest Hawaiian Island
Highest elevation5,243 ft (1,598.1 m)
Highest pointKawaikini
United States
FlowerMokihana (Melicope anisata)[1]
ColorPoni (Purple)
Largest settlementʻa
Population65,689 (2008[2])
Pop. density106 /sq mi (40.9 /km2)

Kauaʻi, anglicized as Kauai[a] (English: i/; Hawaiian: [kɐˈwɐʔi]), is geologically the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands. With an area of 562.3 square miles (1,456.4 km2), it is the fourth largest of these islands and the 21st largest island in the United States.[3] Known also as the "Garden Isle", Kauaʻi lies 105 miles (169 km) across the ʻi Channel, northwest of ʻahu. This island is the site of Waimea Canyon State Park.

The United States Census Bureau defines Kauaʻi as census tracts 401 through 409 of ʻi, which comprises all of the county except for the islands of Kaʻula, Lehua and ʻihau. The 2010 United States Census population of the island was 67,091.[4] The most populous town was ʻa.


In 1778, Captain James Cook arrived at Waimea Bay, the first European known to have reached the Hawaiʻian islands. He named the archipelago after his patron the 6th Earl of Sandwich, George Montagu.[5]

During the reign of King Kamehameha, the islands of Kauaʻi and Niʻihau were the last Hawaiʻian Islands to join his ʻi. Their ruler, ʻi, resisted Kamehameha for years. King Kamehameha twice prepared a huge armada of ships and canoes to take the islands by force, and twice failed; once due to a storm, and once due to an epidemic. In the face of the threat of a further invasion, however, Kaumualiʻi decided to join the kingdom without bloodshed, and became Kamehameha's vassal in 1810. He ceded the island to the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi upon his death in 1824.[5]

Schäffer affair

In 1815, a ship from the Russian-American Company was wrecked on the island. In 1816, an agreement was signed by Kaumualiʻi to allow the Russians to build Fort Elizabeth. It was an attempt by Kaumuali’i to gain support from the Russians against Kamehameha I. Construction was begun in 1817, but in July of that year under mounting resistance of Native Hawaiians and American traders the Russians were expelled. The settlement on Kauai has been considered an abrupt instance of a Pacific outpost of the Russian Empire per se.

Valdemar Knudsen

Valdemar Emil Knudsen was a Norwegian plantation pioneer who arrived on Kauai in 1857. Knudsen, or “Kanuka,” originally arrived in Koloa where he managed Grove Farm, but later sought a warmer land and purchased the leases to Mana and Kekaha, where he became a successful sugarcane plantation owner. Knudsen settled in Waiawa, between Mana and Kekaha, immediately across the channel from Niʻihau Island.[6] His son, Eric Alfred Knudsen, was born in Waiawa.

Knudsen was appointed land administrator by disambiguation needed] for an area covering 400 km2, and was given the title konohiki as well as a position as a nobility under the king. Knudsen, who spoke fluent Hawaiian, later became an elected representative and an influential politician on the island.[7]

Knudsen lends his name to the Knudsen Gap, a narrow pass between Hã’upu Ridge and the Kahili Ridge. Its primary function was as a sugar farm planted by the Knudsen family.[8][9]

Old Sugar Mill of Koloa

In 1835, Old Koloa Town opened a sugar mill.[5] From 1906 to 1934 the office of County Clerk was held by John Mahiʻai Kāneakua, who had been active in attempts to restore Queen Liliuokalani to the throne after the United States takeover of Hawaiʻi in 1893.[10]

Etymology and language

Hawaiian narrative locates the name's origin in the legend of ʻiloa, the Polynesian navigator credited with discovery of the Hawaiʻian Islands. The story relates how he named the island of Kauaʻi after a favorite son; a possible translation of Kauaʻi is "place around the neck", describing how a father would carry a favorite child. Another possible translation is "food season".[11]

Kauaʻi was known for its distinct dialect of the Hawaiian language; this survives on ʻihau. While the standard language today adopts the dialect of ʻi island, which has the sound [k], the Kauaʻi dialect was known for pronouncing this as [t]. In effect, Kauaʻi dialect retained the old pan-Polynesian /t/, while "standard" Hawaiʻi dialect has changed it to the [k].[clarification needed] Therefore, the native name for Kauaʻi was said as Tauaʻi, and the major settlement of ʻa would have been pronounced as Tapaʻa.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kauai
Alemannisch: Kauaʻi
العربية: كاواي
azərbaycanca: Kauai adası
বাংলা: কাউয়াই
беларуская: Каўаі
български: Кауаи
català: Kauai
Cebuano: Kaua‘i
čeština: Kauai
dansk: Kauai
Deutsch: Kauaʻi
eesti: Kauai
Ελληνικά: Καουάι
español: Kauai
Esperanto: Kauai
euskara: Kauai
فارسی: کائوآئی
français: Kauai
Frysk: Kauaï
Gaeilge: Kauai
galego: Kauai
한국어: 카우아이섬
Hawaiʻi: Kaua‘i
हिन्दी: कवाई
hrvatski: Kauai
Bahasa Indonesia: Kauai
italiano: Kauai
עברית: קאואיי
Latina: Kauai
lietuvių: Kauai
magyar: Kauai
Bahasa Melayu: Kauai
Nederlands: Kauai
日本語: カウアイ島
norsk: Kauai
norsk nynorsk: Kauai
occitan: Kauai
polski: Kauaʻi
português: Kauai
русский: Кауаи
Scots: Kauai
Simple English: Kauai
српски / srpski: Кауај
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kauai
suomi: Kauai
svenska: Kauai
ไทย: คาไว
Türkçe: Kauai
українська: Кауаї
اردو: کائوائی
Tiếng Việt: Kauai
中文: 考艾岛