A Brief Hawaiian History

Sunrise on Kaua'i
A Brief Hawaiian History


The first settlers, a dozen or so natives arrived here sometime during the 4th or 5th century sailing in double-hulled wooden canoes from the Marquesas Islands, 2,500 miles away. With them, they brought taro, breadfruit, pigs, dogs, and several types of fowl. About 1,000 A.D., a second wave of settlers arrived, probably from Tahiti. In 1778, Captain James Cook stumbled upon Hawaii. This began the entry of westerners and Europeans to the islands.


Then, there is the interesting history of King Kamehameha, born about 1758, who through shrewdness and brutal warfare united all the islands under one rule. After his death in 1819, his descendants carried on the rule; however, the 19th century was a period of government corruption and exploitation by profiteers from all over the world. In 1893, Queen Lili'uokalani lost her throne and control of the islands to a group of American businessmen, then largely involved in plantations growing sugar cane and pineapples. Sanford Dole became the President of the Republic of Hawaii in 1894. Hawaii became a U.S. territory in 1900. Only landowners were allowed to vote and by then, most of the lands had been sold by the former Hawaiian government


Pearl Harbor played an important role in World War II and Hawaii continued as an important link to the Pacific after the war. Because of it's cultural diversity, Hawaii didn't become a state until 1959. Recently, native Hawaiian have sought support for a sovereign nation for their people.


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Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 12/00
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