Hawaii, also called the Island of Hawaii, the Big Island or Hawaii Island ( or ; Hawaiian: or ), is an island located in the U.S. state of Hawaii. 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. It is with and includes the Hilo Micropolitan Statistical Area.
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 was the captain of the first European expedition that discovered the Hawaiian Islands (obviously Polynesians had discovered them long before), called them the "Sandwich Islands" after his patron, the Earl of Sandwich. Cook was killed on the Big Island at Kealakekua Bay on February 14, 1779, in a melee which followed 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.