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The Islands of Hawaii

Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau
Kelii Brown
Director of Public Relations and Promotions
(808) 244-3530

For Immediate Release

August 26, 2014


2,000,000 BC Maui’s first volcano rises from the depths of the ocean and appears above the surface of the waves.

1,000,000 BC
Haleakala breaks the surface. Flows from the two volcanoes join to form the island of Maui. They also connect with other volcanoes that later form the separate islands of Lana‘i, Moloka‘i and Kaho‘olawe. Scientists refer to the giant prehistoric landmass, before the break-up, as “Maui Nui” or Big Maui.

450 AD
The first Polynesian explorers from the Marquesas Islands discover Hawai‘i, though recent archaeological evidence suggests a much earlier date. Settlement of the islands begins.

700    Waves of colonists from Tahiti arrive.

The succession of Maui kings:
Pi‘ilani (ruled during late 14th and early 15th centuries)
Kamehameha Nui

1778    Captain James Cook of England discovers Hawai‘i for the Western world but never sets foot on Maui.

1787    Captain Jean-Francois de Galaup, Compte de La Perouse, becomes the first foreigner to step ashore on Maui, at Keone‘o‘io in Makena. The bay was later named after him. (In defiance of his orders, Perouse decided not to claim the island for the King of France.)

1790    Kamehameha the Great defeats King Kahekili and his Maui forces in ‘Iao Valley, bringing Maui into the united Hawaiian kingdom. The site of the Battle of ‘Iao is called Kepaniwai, which literally means “blocked waters.” It is called so because the bodies of slain warriors were so numerous, it temporarily dammed the stream.

1802    Kamehameha the Great names Lahaina the capital of the Hawaiian kingdom.

1819    Kamehameha the Great dies. His widow, Queen Ka‘ahumanu, together with the new king, Liholiho (Kamehameha II) and Liholiho’s birth mother Keopuolani, defy the power of the priests, and the people topple the Hawaiian religion. It is also the year the first whaling ship, the Balena from New Bedford, Massachusetts, arrives in Lahaina.

1821    The first New England missionaries arrive on Maui.

1825    The first of the battles between the whalers and missionaries erupts in Lahaina when the whalers blamed the missionaries for preventing women from visiting the ships.

1828    Maui’s first sugar mill begins operations.

1831    The first high school west of the Rocky Mountains, Lahainaluna, is established on Maui.

1831    The Baldwin Mission House, the oldest surviving house on Maui, is built.

1834    The first newspaper in the Hawaiian language, Ka Lama Hawai‘i, is run off the Lahainaluna Seminary press on February 13.

1846    Whaling ship visits to Hawai‘i peak with 596 arrivals. Of these, 429 anchor off Lahaina and the rest in Honolulu Harbor.

1850    The capital of the Hawaiian nation is moved from Lahaina to Honolulu.

1852    The first sugar plantation laborers begin to arrive from Kwangtung, China.

1866    The first leprosy patients are taken to Kalawao on Moloka‘i’s Kalaupapa Peninsula on January 6.

1873    Father Damien is sent to Kalaupapa on Moloka‘i to work with leprosy patients. He succumbed to the disease in 1889, and in 1995, was declared by Pope John Paul II as among the “Blessed” and given the title “Servant of Humanity.”  On October 11, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI canonized Damien de Veuster, completing the process of sainthood.

1877    C.H. Dickey establishes the first commercial telegraph system in Hawai‘i, connecting two of his stores on Maui, on September 1. Soon after, a charter is granted to C.H. Dickey and C.H. Wallace for the Hawaiian Telegraph Company.

1879    The Kahului-Wailuku Railroad, running from Kahului to Pa‘ia, opens on July 20.  This is the first common rail carrier in Hawai‘i.

1885    Japanese immigration to Maui begins. These immigrants and others became the foundation of Hawai‘i’s multi-ethnic society, the “melting pot of the Pacific.”

1893    The constitutional Hawaiian monarchy is illegally overthrown by American settlers living in Hawai‘i.

1903    Dwight Baldwin plants the first pineapple on Maui in Ha‘iku.

1912    David Thomas Fleming plants 20 acres of pineapple at Honolua Ranch, where Kapalua Resort is today. Fleming also plants coffee, aloe, mango, avocado, citrus, lychee and macadamia nuts, but it is pineapple that eventually becomes a commercial crop.

1916    Haleakala joins the U.S. national park system. In 1961, it becomes a national park in its own right.

1941    Pearl Harbor on the island of O‘ahu is bombed by Japan and martial law is declared in Hawai‘i.

1946    The first resort on Maui, the Hotel Hana-Maui, opens.

1959    Hawai‘i becomes the 50th State of the United States.

1961    Ka‘anapali opens as Hawai‘i’s first master-planned resort.

1974    The first 9 holes of the Wailea Blue Course open, the beginning of what is today the master-planned Wailea Resort community.

1976    The Hokule‘a, a replica of an ancient Polynesian voyaging canoe, sets sail from Maui for Tahiti, recreating the ancestral journeys.

1970- 1986    Alexander and Baldwin (A&B) subsidiary Wailea Development Company began planning and developing the first 1500-acre Wailea resort on Maui’s southern shore 

1993    President Bill Clinton signs a Congressional Resolution acknowledging illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893.

2006    President George W. Bush issued a public proclamation creating Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument under the Antiquities Act of 1906.

2009    Pope Benedict XVI canonized Father Damien De Veuster in ceremonies at the Vatican in October 2009. Father Damien became Hawaii’s first saint acknowledged for his efforts to asset the forgotten patients of Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy) on Molokai.  

2011     Maui County was the first to ban plastic bags in the state of Hawaii from an ordinance the county council passed back in August of 2008.