about the history of Hawaii helps the visitor to have
a richer experience when they visit the Islands. From
accounts of the attack on Pearl
Harbor to tales of the conquest of Captain James Cook,
there is a lot to learn about the history of Hawaii.
The Hawaiian Islands are a string of 8 inhabited volcanic
islands in the center of the Pacific Ocean that stretch
out over 6,000 square islands. The first inhabitants of
Hawaii were voyagers from the Marquesas Islands, which
first arrived between 450 and 600 AD. The next wave of
arrivals was the Tahitians that set out from Polynesian
Society Islands around 1000 AD.
The Hawaiians never had their own written language, so
they passed down their rich culture through spoken word;
in oral legend and song. The men who carried this knowledge
were called Kahunas, but many of them have died, and taken
the history of Hawaii with them.
The modern part of Hawaii history begins with the arrival
of Spaniards in the sixteenth century. Within half a century,
the population was halved from the strange disease that
the Spaniards bought with them. The native population
was then replaced by the various visitors, like the Japanese,
Chinese, Portuguese, American and British settlers.
After the first wave of Spaniards, the infamous Captain
James Cook made contact with the people of the islands
of Kauai and Niihau, beginning the modern era of Hawaii
Chief Kamahameha was one of the most powerful chiefs;
quickly rising to power after Captain Cook first visited
the island. He was from the Big Island, and he became
chief of the Hawaiian Islands are he vanquished the chiefs
of the smaller islands in the early nineteenth century.
This chief encouraged European ships to visit the islands,
and he traded with the foreigners and paved the way for
English and American missionaries. There was once a leper
colony on one of the remote islands, to prevent others
from contracting this debilitating disease.
The death of Captain James Cook is a pivotal moment in
Hawaii history. It started with a leak in the foremast
of his ship. The Hawaiians began to stoning the work crews
and would steal valuable items when Captain Cook came
to Kealalekua Bay to repair his ship. Then a large cutter
was taken, which prompted the kidnapping of one of the
Hawaiian chiefs until it was returned. Cook's muskets
were slow and ineffective against the Hawaiians on the
beach when the chief balked at going aboard the ship.
Within minutes, Captain Cook and four of his men died
on Valentines Day, 1779.
Hawaii is an island rich in natural bounty. It has abundant
rainfall and warm weather. This factor, combined with
its strategic location, makes it easy to see why it soon
became strategically important to the United States. The
islands were annexed by Congress on July 6, 1898. The
queen who was reigning at the time was deposed and a republican
government was set up.
The next major event in the history of Hawaii was the
1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, who were
expanding into south into the Pacific. What led up to
this was the movement of naval forces into Pearl Harbor
to deter Japan's expansion into Southeast Asia.
The Americans did not expect the Japanese to attack,
so this battle caused utter devastation of the naval forces
based in Pearl Harbor.
This while situation had its start in 1937, when Japan
began to wage war again China. The military needed raw
materials and oil to continue its endless war against
China. Japan was desperate to get to the oil-rich nations
of the Southeast Asia. The US stopped negotiating with
Japan by late November, 1941, and was expecting the Japanese
to attack Malaysia and the Philippines.
The blow that came early in the morning of December 7th
sunk five of the eight battleships in the attack on Pearl
Harbor and severely damaged the others. Over 2,400 Americans
perished that day, between those in Pearl Harbor and the
troop's stations in the Philippines.
Hawaii became the 50th US state on August 21, 1959.