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Hawaii History Timeline

300s - 1700s
  • (300 - 700) Polynesian settlers arrived from Marquesas
  • (1627) Spanish sailors visited Hawaii
  • (1778) British Captain, James Cook, discovered Hawaiian islands, named them Sandwich Islands
  • (1779) Captain Cook killed at Kealakekua
  • (1780's) Many Hawaiians killed by disease brought by European and U. S. trading ships
  • (1782) King Kamehameha I gained control in northern Island of Hawaii; began conquest of other islands
  • (1794) Hawaii placed under protectorate of Great Britain
  • (1795) King Kamehameha I unified Hawaii
  • (1813) Spanish advisor to King Kamehameha, Don Francisco de Paula y Marin, introduced coffee and pineapple to Hawaii
  • (1815) Attempt by Russian soldiers to build fort failed
  • (1819) King Kamehameha died; son Liholiho became Kemehameha II; he abolished local religion
  • (1820) Christian missionaries arrived
  • (1824) King Kamehameha II died in London
  • (1825) Kauikeaouli ascended to throne as Kamehameha III
  • (1826) U. S. and Hawaii entered into treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation
  • (1829) First coffee planted in Kona
  • (1831) Catholic missionaries forced to leave or be imprisoned
  • (1835) First sugar plantation established in Koloa
  • (1839) Roman Catholics received religious freedom
  • (1840) Hawaii adopted first constitution
  • (1842) First House of Representatives met
  • (1843) Lord George Paulet seized Hawaii for England; Great Britain and France agreed Sandwich Islands would be an independent State
  • (1846) Construction of Washington Place (governor's residence) completed
  • (1848) Kamehameha III divided land between King, nobility and commoners
  • (1849) Invasion attempt by French Admiral Legoarant de Tromelin failed
  • (1852) First steam-propelled ship used for inter-island service; first Chinese contract workers arrived
  • (1853) Smallpox epidemic killed over 5,000
  • (1854) Kamehameha III died; Alexander Liholiho assumed throne as Kamehameha IV
  • (1863) Kamehameha IV died; Prince Lot Kapuaiwa assumed throne as Kamehameha V
  • (1864) Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) sailed into Honolulu Harbor
  • (1868) First Japanese contract workers arrived
  • (1872) King Kamehameha V died
  • (1873) William Lunalilo elected King
  • (1874) Supreme Court of Hawaii moved to Ali'iolani; King Lunalilo died; David Kalakuau became King
  • (1878) First telephone operated; Portuguese arrived from Azores
  • (1879) First locomotive operated on Maui
  • (1881) Macadamia nuts introduced to Hawaii
  • (1885) First pineapples were planted
  • (1886) Electricity arrived
  • (1891) King Kalakaua died; Lydia Kamaka'eha became Queen Lili'uokalani
  • (1893) Monarchy overthrown by government ministers, planters and businessmen
  • (1894) Republic of Hawaii established
  • (1898) U.S. Congress passed resolution to annex Hawaii


  • (1900) Great Chinatown Fire occurred, over $1,400,000 in losses, 7,000 homeless; first workers arrived from Puerto Rico and Okinawa; Hawaii established as U. S. Territory
  • (1901) James Drummond Dole planted first pineapples, established Hawaiian Pineapple Company
  • (1910) First airplane flight in Hawaii occurred
  • (1920) Hawaii National Park established by Act of Congress
  • (1924) Labor riots at Hanapepe, Kauai killed 16 workers and 4 police
  • (1927) "Outdoor Circle" organization established, banned billboard advertising
  • (1934) President Roosevelt visited Hawaii
  • (1935) First trans-Pacific flight from San Francisco to Hawaii took 21 1/2 hours
  • (1941) Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor
  • (1946) Great tsunami struck Hilo, killed over 100, caused $25 million in damages; 33 sugar plantations were struck by 28,000 workers
  • (1947) Pineapples workers conducted first strike
  • (1950) Eruption of Mauna Loa destroyed village of Ho'okena mauka
  • (1959) Hawaii became 50th U. S. state
  • (1969) Television series "Hawaii Five-Oh' began
  • (1974) Workers on sugar and pineapple plantations went on strike
  • (1982) Hurricane Iwa caused $312 million in damages; destroyed parts of Kauai and Oahu
  • (1990) Kilauea erupted; destroyed Kalapana
  • (1991) Miss Hawaii, Carolyn Sapp, became first Miss America from Hawaii
  • (1992) Hurricane Iniki struck Kauai; killed four, caused $2 billion in damages
  • (1995) Last sugar plantation on Island of Hawaii closed
  • (2000) U. S. Supreme Court declared restricting voting in Office of Hawaiian Affairs to native Hawaiians violated 15th Amendment
  • (2001) U. S. submarine, Japanese trawler collided, nine killed; two Army helicopters crashed, six killed
  • (2005) Michelle Wie finished fourth on professional debut, disqualified
  • (2006) Earthquake knocked out power and toppled rock walls; pacific states held tsunami test
  • (2008) U.S. warship successfully struck disabled spy satellite off west coast of Hawaii
  • (2011) Thousands of people ordered to evacuate coastal areas due to threat of tsunami from earthquake off Japan
  • (2011) Pearl Harbor's 70th anniversary commemorated

Hawaii Photographs

George Paulet James Drummond Dole James Cook Kamehameha Kamehameha III Kamehameha IV Kamehameha V Kilauea Mauna Loa Eruption USS Arizona Pearl Harbor

Hawaii Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Hilo Hawaii 808
Honolulu Honolulu 808
Kalaupapa Kalawao 808
Kapaa Kauai 808
Wailuku Maui 808

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.