11 Aug Important Facts About Hawaiian History
The history of Hawaii begins with the Polynesian discovery of the islands over 2,000 years ago. It is said that these ancient people found their way to the islands using the stars as their guide.
It wouldn’t be until 1778 when Captain James Cook came to Waimea Bay on Kauai that Europeans knew about the presence of these islands. They were initially named after the Earl of Sandwich, and it would only be a year later that Cook gets killed at Kealakekua Bay.
Battles would take place between the peoples of Hawaii in the late 18th century. Kamehameha wanted to unite the islands, and would eventually do so in 1795. His family would rule for about 80 years, with the royal family gaining official designation in 1810.
The Plantation Era Began in 1835
Sugar plantations began appearing across the Hawaiian islands starting in 1835. Settlers from America, Europe, and Asia started to come to test their fortunes as farmers and landowners, leading to a system where Kamehameha III divided Hawaii into thirds.
One-third would go to the royal family, another to the chiefs, and the remainder to the people. The population ended up getting less than 1% because the idea of land ownership was (and still is, in some ways) a foreign concept.
Honolulu became Hawaii’s capital in 1845. As the plantations grew, more labor was needed to work the fields. Immigrants from Korea, Japan, Portugal, and the Philippines made their way here to earn a living.
The overthrow of the royal family happened in 1893, with Queen Liliuokalani placed under house arrest at Iolani Palace. This destination is still the only place in the U.S. where you can visit an authentic royal palace.
The United States annexed the islands in 1898 through the Newlands Resolution. It only took two years to establish the islands as a territory, but it wouldn’t be until 1959 when a vote established the area as the 50th state.
Pearl Harbor Because a Significant Military Base
The Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. It is still a day that lives in infamy because of the thousands of lives lost. Until then, the U.S. had managed to officially stay out of World War II.
You can visit the complex today to see the various memorials and museums dedicated to the South Pacific theater battles. Outside of the USS Arizona location, another critical stop during your stay in Hawaii is the USS Missouri. Japan signed its unconditional surrender on the battleship.
As the years have passed, doubt about the Polynesian discovery of Hawaii trickled into the mainstream consciousness. The Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage was an idea in response to that issue. The trip spanned for years, 60,000 nautical miles, and 27 countries with the use of two sailing canoes.
Now, it is your time to discover how Honolulu and Hawaii can influence your life story. One thing is for certain with your stay: being on the islands can alter your perspectives dramatically.