History of Hawaii

Discover the fascinating history of Hawaii

This history of this state starts long, long ago when volcanic eruptions broke the surface of the sea and slowly, little by little, created a chain of islands now collectively known as Hawaii. Growth flourish and water streamed and before long, the islands turned into a paradise. Roughly between 300 and 750 AD, waves of brave Polynesian explorers found their way onto the shores of these islands by outrigger canoe. It is supposed that they came from Tahiti, and it was these Polynesian settlers who gave the name 'Hawaii' to these great islands.

Initially, each island was guided by the rule of their individual castes. The tribes of various islands sometimes fought with one another and had differing views on how to live life. Most of the small kingdoms were run by kings who were assisted by a chief minister and high priest. Each village was run by a chief selected by the king and the common people did most of the hard work. This basic social structure was eventually stretched across all the islands under the rule of the Kamehameha - the first kings of all of Hawaii.

In 1778, Captain James Cook landed on the shores of Hawaii. He was the first European explorer to do so. While he did not live long - he died in a dispute with the locals in 1779 - his discovery brought the islands of Hawaii to the rest of the world. Trading ships now began to land here on route between Asia and North America. Little by little, things started to happen on these lush tropical islands. Coffee is planted, pineapples are grown and the first flag is made. It is also around this time that the whole of Hawaii was united under one ruler for the first time. In 1820, the first missionaries - mostly from England - arrived and began to not only teach their faith to the locals but also to establish a written form of the Hawaiian language and teach it to the locals. The missionaries also brought modern medicine and took the first census of the country. They are accredited with helping Hawaii to remain an independent nation.

Over the years, many people of different nations have arrived on the shores of Hawaii. Some were imported as workers, other came to assist with technological growth, while still others came looking for new horizons. Initially, there was a flood of white American and British immigrants. Then came Russians, Portuguese, Spaniards, Germans and Norwegians. Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans and Samoans also made their way to Hawaii's shores at some time or another. Some of them intermarried with locals while others scarcely left a mark.

During the 19th century, the tribal hula dance was nearly abolished by the missionaries who found it overly sensual. Traditionally, the hula was performed by both men and woman but had a different flavor for each gender. However, the missionaries did not succeed and the hula was practiced secretly in rural villages until King David Kalakaua revived it. In 1898, Hawaii was annexed to the United States and it has continued to see many more developments such as the first flight to the mainland, the arrival of the bikini and the broadcasting of local television channels. Today, Hawaii is a wonderful place full of colorful cities and an ever charming local people.


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