Important Dates in Hawaiian History

As much as we love the beaches and the great tours and activities in Hawaii, there is more the islands that just playtime. The history of the islands is very unique, and learning about the significance of various events helps to shape the islands, forming a snapshot of the long, often tragic, and very important history of the tiny islands way out in the middle of the ocean.

Dating all the way back to the creation of the islands, the story of Hawaii is unlike any other place in the world. Millions of years ago, a hotspot opened in the Earth, and as the hotspot moved, it formed what would eventually be the islands, moving along until the present day state of Hawaii was fully formed. Even today, the hotspot is active, and is currently beneath the Big Island, where Kilauea exists and erupts.

800 AD - The earliest settlers of Hawaii arrived on voyaging canoes from the Marquesas Islands. Though the actual year is unknown, many years of research and historical findings show that the islands were inhabited around this time

1000-1100 – The second wave of arrivals to Hawaii. It was during this time that the first line of chiefs were installed, laws were established, and customs and rituals that would survive for hundreds of years were introduced.

1758 – King Kamehameha the Great is born on the Big Island.

1778 – The “discovery” of Hawaii by European explorers. With this phase of arrivals, explorers brought new customs, religions, and disease, including measles, smallpox, and Leprosy, which would later create a colony of the island of Molokai.

1819 – King Kamehameha the Great dies, creating an opportunity for the Europeans and Christianity to play a role.

1820 – Christianity is introduced. This introduction would play a long term role in Hawaiian history, developing the written Hawaiian language and discouraged cultural practices that had been so vital to the island’s culture.

1893 – Hawaii’s Monarchy is overthrown. Businessmen overthrew Queen Liliuokalani, forcing her to abdicate the throne and setting up the eventual admission as a state.

December 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor is attacked. Following the ambush, the United States entered World War II.

To fully understand and appreciate the storied history of Hawaii, you’ll want to find a setting that brings as much of it to the forefront as possible. While visiting Maui, Ulalena at the historic Maui Theatre tells the story of Hawaii, highlighting the various waves of arrivals, and incorporating traditional performance and storytelling into the show. There is no better show on the island, and no better way to learn the history of Hawaii.

Due to the high volume of visitors traveling to Hawaii year round, our Maui tours, Maui Activities sell out quickly. In many cases, tours sell out weeks or months in advance. To ensure your spots on tour, we recommend reserving your tours today. Call our office or book online to take advantage of our low price guarantee today.