Hawaii, also called the Island of Hawaii, the Big Island or Hawaii Island ( or ; Hawaiian: or ), which comprises Hawaii County and the Hilo, HI Micropolitan Statistical Area, is an island, county, and Micropolitan Statistical Area located in the U.S. state of Hawaii in the Hawaiian Islands. It is the largest and the southeastern-most of the Hawaiian islands, a chain of volcanic islands in the North Pacific Ocean. With an area of , it is larger than all of the other islands in the archipelago combined and is the largest island in the United States. The island is often referred to as the "Big Island" to reduce confusion between the island and the state.
As of the 2010 Census the population was 185,079. The county seat and largest city is Hilo. There are no incorporated cities in Hawaii County (see Hawaii Counties). Hawaii County has a mayor-council form of government.
Hawaii County is one of seven counties in the United States to share the same name as the state in which it is located (the other six counties are Arkansas County, Idaho County, Iowa County, New York County, Oklahoma County, and Utah County).
Hawaii is said to have been named for Hawaiʻiloa, the legendary Polynesian navigator who first discovered it. Other accounts attribute the name to the legendary realm of Hawaiki, a place from which the Polynesian people are said to have originated (see also Manua), the place where they go in the afterlife, the realm of the gods and goddesses. Captain James Cook, the English explorer and navigator who discovered the Hawaiian Islands called them the "Sandwich Islands" and was killed on the Big Island at Kealakekua Bay following the theft of a ship's boat.
Hawaii was the home island of Paiea Kamehameha, later known as Kamehameha the Great. Kamehameha united most of the Hawaiian islands under his rule in 1795, after several years of war, and gave the kingdom and the island chain the name of his native island.