Hawaii’s Statehood Day commemorates Hawaii’s admission as a state on August 21, 1959. In 1898 the United States annexed Hawaii, which was declared as a “necessary” navy base for the conduct of the Spanish-American War. The United States’ interests coveted the islands for some time. During World War II, Oahu served as the command post for the US operations in the Pacific. Large portions of Hawaii were turned over for the US military bases. After the war, two-thirds of the residents favored statehood.
However, because of the many ethnicities present, there was resistance to Hawaii’s statehood from segregated southern states. A primary election took place in Hawaii on June 27, 1959, and various statehood propositions received many votes on that day. Following the certification of the election results, President Eisenhower signed a proclamation on August 21, 1959, declaring Hawaii to be the 50th state. This was known as Admission Day until 2001.