The history of Hawaii is a bit like the creation of the islands themselves. Born of volcanic action, Hawaii is part of a large group of islands called Polynesia–which means “many islands”. The Hawaiian islands are the remotest of any islands on earth.
Hawaii history is often seen as three distinct periods.
Ancient history starts with the arrival of Polynesians. Since the islands had never been a part of another continent, its earliest inhabitants had to travel at least two thousand miles over the ocean to reach the shores.
Archaeologic evidence indicates that the first settlers arrived in Hawaii from the Marquesas Islands as early as the second or third centuries AD. These early settlers came equipped to stay, carrying with them dogs, pigs, goats, bananas, coconut palms and sugar cane.
The second, or middle period, started with the arrival of the European explorers. The first recorded arrival of westerners was in 1778, when Captain James Cook landed on the shores of Kauai. This era began a period where outside influences had great impacts on Hawaiihistory.
Hawaii’s entry to the U.S. was the start of the third chapter of its history. With the children of the original American missionaries leading the way, it was a period where business interests accumulated both land and political power. Ultimately, this led to the U.S. annexation of Hawaii in 1898.