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The first people to inhabit the
Hawaiian Islands were Polynesians. They
sailed from other islands in large canoes.
Later, people from Tahiti came and gained control over the Hawaii
British navy discovered Hawaii in 1778.
Other European and U.S. trading ships began to arrive on their way
to China during the 1780s. Disease
brought from other parts of the world killed many of the Hawaiians.
chiefs ruled individual islands until 1782.
One of these chiefs, Kamehameha, conquered most of Hawaii in 1795.
By 1810, all of Hawaii was under his control.
After his death in 1819, his son Liholiho became Kamehameha II.
He promptly abolished the local religion.
missionaries arrived the following year and converted many Hawaiians to
missionaries that arrived during the late 1820s were forced to leave or be
imprisoned in 1831. Catholics
were released and received religious freedom in 1839 as France threatened
to destroy Honolulu.
adopted its first constitution in 1840.
Until 1848, the king owned all the land of the islands.
A law passed that year that divided the land between the king and
his chiefs. Most of these men
gave their land to the government, which in turn sold land to the Hawaiian
1835, an American company established the first permanent sugarcane
plantation in Kauai. By the
1890s, several U.S. and European settlers had begun planting pineapples. Sugarcane planting also became an important industry.
Thousands of workers were needed for these plantations; many came
from China, Japan and the Philippines.
the rule of King Kalakaua, many Hawaiian customs that had been discouraged
by earlier rulers became popular again.
He became known as the Merry Monarch.
To enhance trade with the United States, Kalakaua allowed them
exclusive use of Pearl Harbor as a naval base in 1887.
only ruling queen came to power in 1891.
Liliuokalani tried to gain power by changing the laws of the
constitution. In 1893, a
revolution brought forth the Republic of Hawaii.
The United States annexed Hawaii in 1898 and two years later made
it an official U.S. territory. All
Hawaiians became citizens of the United States.
the early 1900s, several military bases were established on the island of
Oahu. In 1908, a great naval
base was built at Pearl Harbor. In
1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to
World War II began in 1939, the United States chose to stay out of the
war. After the historic
Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and Oahu on Dec. 7, 1941, the United
States declared war on Japan and entered World War II.
Many of the damaged ships and submarines were repaired by armed
forces and used in the war. The
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific was dedicated in 1949 in
Honolulu; thousands are buried there.
for statehood were introduced to Congress as early as 1919, but many
feared there would be no support from the islands during wartime.
This fear came to an end as thousands fought from Hawaii in World
War II (1939-1945) and the Korean War (1950-1953).
Hawaii became the 50th state on Aug. 21, 1959.
statehood, Hawaii’s population has doubled.
Sugar refining and pineapple production remain important but have
declined. Tourism now leads
Hawaii’s industries, estimated now around $4 billion annually. A new jet-aircraft terminal, completed in Honolulu in 1962,
cut flying time from the United States in half.
Huge resorts and new hotels were built throughout the islands of
Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, and Molokai.