Hawaii History Timeline

Important Dates, Events, and Milestones in Hawaii History

Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in Hawaii history.

The first Polynesians arrive by outrigger canoe 300-900AD. The first island inhabitants are the Menehune, who come over 2,000 miles from the Marquesas Islands north of Tahiti. In 1100 more Polynesian migration to the Hawaiian Islands from the Society Islands

17th Century Hawaii History Timeline

1627 - Spanish sailors visit Hawaii, describe volcanic eruption in ship's log

18th Century Hawaii History Timeline

1778 - Englishman James Cook of the British navy discovered Hawaii.

1780's - Other European and US trading ships began to arrive on their way to China. Disease brought from other parts of the world killed many of the Hawaiians.

1794 - Hawaii is placed under the protectorate of Great Britian by Vancouver

1795 - King Kamehameha I unifies Hawaiias.

19th Century Hawaii History Timeline

1810 -

  • All of Hawaii was under Kamehameha control.
  • First theatrical performance staged in Hawaii

1815 - Russian soldiers fail attempt to build a fort in Hawaii

1816 - Volcano House opens for tourists on the island of Hawaii, $1 per person for lodging

1819 - Kamehameha I dies, and his son Liholiho became Kamehameha II. He promptly abolished the local religion.

1820 - Protestant missionaries teach Christianity

1821 - Protestant missionaries arrived the following year and converted many Hawaiians to Christianity.

1826 - James Honnewell establishes C. Brewer & Co. Ltd. trade and service organization

1831 - Catholic missionaries that arrived during the late 1820s were forced to leave or be imprisoned in 1831.

1834 - Honolulu Police Department is founded by King Kamehameha III

1835 - The first sugar plantation is established on Kauai Island

1836 - Organization of the Royal Hawaiian Band

1838 - Ground is broken for the building of the Kawaiahao Church

1839 - Roman Catholics receive religious freedom

1840 - Hawaii adopted its first constitution .

1842 -

  • First House of Representatives is called to order
  •  First class begins at Punahou, the new private school

1843 - Lord George Paulet seizes Hawaii in the name of England

1846 - Construction of Washington Place (now governor's residence) is completed

1848 - 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 people.

1849 - French admiral Legoarant de Tromelin fails in attempted invasion

1852 - First steam-propelled ship is used in interisland service

1853 - Smallpox epidemic takes the lives of over 5,000 Hawaiians

1858 - C. R. Bishop and W. A. Aldrich begin the kingdom's largest financial institution

1859 - Honolulu Gas Company is established

1860 - The Queen's Hospital's first structure's cornerstone is laid in place

1863 - Niihau island purchased by Elizabeth Sinclair, offered by King Kamehameha IV, $10,000

1865 - First immigrant plantation workers depart from Yokohama, Japan for Hawaii

1866 - Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) sails into Honolulu Harbor

1874 - Supreme Court of Hawaii moves into Ali`iolani (where it remains yet today)

1875 - First official regatta held on King Kalakaua's birthday

1877 - King Kalakaua dedicates Kapiolani Park as a focal point of outdoor recreation

1878 - First telephone is in operation, two years after Alexander Graham Bell's patent

1879 - First locomotive-train pulled its first load of sugarcane on Maui

1882 - The king and queen move into Iolani Palace

1883 - Kamehameha Statue is unveiled

1885 - First polo match is played in Hawaii at Kohala on the Big Island

1886 -

  • Electricity arrives as five arc lamps are strung around Iolani Palace
  • Great Chinatown Fire; losses exceeded $1,455,000

1887 -

  • During 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.
  • Kamehameha Schools are founded in memory of Puahi by husband Charles Reed Bishop

1889 -

  • Father Damien of Molokai's Kalaupapa leprosy settlement dies
  • Queen Liliuokalani wrote her famous song, "Aloha Oe"
  • Bishop Museum's original structure is completed
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, famous author, arrives in Hawaii

1890's - Several US 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.

1891 - Hawaii's only ruling queen came to power.

1893 - A revolution brought forth the Republic of Hawaii and the beginning of Sanford B. Dole's "Republic".

1894 - The Republic of Hawaii was established

1896 - Moana Hotel ("Grand Old Lady" of Waikiki/now the Sheraton Moana Surfrider) is planned

1898 - Hawaii's state flag is replaced by the United States' "Stars and Stripes"

20th Century Hawaii History Timeline

1900 -

  • Hawaii becomes a US territory
  • One pound of sugar costs 7 cents

1901 -

  • The Hawaiian Pineapple Company, now Dole, is established
  • James "Jim" Drummond Dole's first plants pineapple in Wahiawa's countryside
  • 1901 - Honolulu Rapid Transit's inaugural run of electric streetcars

1903 - Joint Tourism Committee is created to promote the Territory to the world (now the HVCB)

1905 - Only 80 automobiles are registered on the island of Oahu

1910 - First airplane flight in Hawaii

1912 - Duke Kahanamoku participates at the Olympics in Stockholm

1916 - The brothel "Iwilei Stockade" is shut down

1917 - Charlie Chaplin visits Hawaii and speaks at the Honolulu Ad Club's luncheon

1920 - Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, visits the Islands

1922 - Honolulu Musum of Art is chartered

1923 - Hawaiian Dredging Co. begins dredging of the Ala Wai Canal

1924 - Work begins on the structural foundation of Aloha Tower

1927 -

  • Group of women found the organization "Outdoor Circle" and end billboard advertising
  • Inaugural Lei Day
  • The Royal Hawaiian Hotel opens for business

1929 - First interisland flight by Stanley C. Kennendy in an amphibious plane

1934 - President Roosevelt was the first US President to visit Hawaii

1935 -

  • First 2,270-mile trans-Pacific flight from San Francisco to Hawaii takes 21 1/2 hours
  • 5-year-old Shirley Temple visits Hawaii
  • "Hawaii Calls" radio program enters the hearts and living rooms of America

1941 -

  • When 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.
  • A lone Japanese pilot crash lands on Niihau and is killed after he shoots a Hawaiian
  • First land-based interisland flights

1946 - Great tsunami hits Hilo, killing over 100 people and causing $25 million damage

1956 - Financing is settled and Ala Moana Shopping Center opens

1957 - The first telephone cable from the US mainland to Hawaii operated

1959 - Hawaii became the 50th state on Aug. 21, 1959

1962 - The jet-aircraft terminal in Honolulu was completed

1982 - Hurricane Iwa causes about $312 million in damages

1991 - Carolyn Sapp becomes the first Miss America from Hawaii

1992 - Hurricane Iniki kills four and causes $2 billion in damages

1995 - http://www.Hawaiian.com goes online with the message of Live Aloha!

21st Century Hawaii History Timeline

2000 - The U.S. Supreme Court declares that restricting voting in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to native Hawaiians violates the 15th Amendment.

2006 -

  • (March) Six weeks of rain results in major damage from flooding on the islands.
  • (October 15) A 6.7 magnitude earthquake on the Big Island results in property damage, landslides, tsunamis, power outages, and airport delays. The famous Mauna Kea Beach Hotel's entire south end collapses and it is shut down indefinitely. After a $150-million reconstruction, it reopens in December 2008.

2009 - The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009 (the Akaka Bill) is introduced in Congress for the sixth time. The bill seeks to allow Native Hawaiians to seek a special status similar to that of Native Americans, but the bill fails to pass

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