History in Maui

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The history of Maui begins with the arrival of the Polynesians from Tahiti and the Marquesas. Around 1790 King Kamehameha I invaded the island of Maui with the Battle of Kepaniwai and later on took up residence on the island, making Lahaina the capital of Maui. The history of Lahaina is the history of Maui as it was where the islands most important events took place.

Arrival of Captain James Cook and the Whaling Era

In 1778, Captain James Cook became the first European to arrive to Maui but it was not until 8 years later that Europeans actually reached Maui's shore. Several European vessels arrive in Maui to search for whales, sandalwood and to spread the Catholic religion. The arrival of the European missionaries resulted in the creation of the 12 letter Hawaiian alphabet, the printing press in Hawaii and the writing of Maui's history, which until that point had only been kept orally.

As the capital of Maui, Lahaina played a pivotal role during the whaling era (1843 to 1860). The history of of Maui during that time is well preserved in the walls of Hale Paahao ("stuck in irons house" in Hawaiian language, located at the corner of Prison and Wainee Streets), one of the most well known of old Lahaina. Its easy to understand why a prison was necessary with over 400 ships full of unruly sailors were present in Maui during whaling season. Just in 1855 there were over 330 convictions at Hale Paahao.

The Sugar Cane Era and Hawaii's Statehood

Whaling declined as petroleum replaced whale oil in importance as a source of fuel. During this time, descendants of Kamehameha I reigned until 1872, followed by rulers descending from ancient families of Hawaiian chiefs. Maui raised as an important player in the sugar cane world industry. Once upon a time about 80% of the island's land was dedicated to the production of sugar cane. The Hawaiian economy's dependence on sugar cane resulted on the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands into the United States territory in 1900.

Later in August 1959, Hawaii was inducted as a state of the United States of America. Hawaii's new legal status provided domestic and international entrepreneurs the confidence to invest in Hawaii. Soon after achieving statehood, two industries replaced agriculture as the main providers of the state's income: tourism and retail.

Kaanapali in Maui became in 1960 Hawaii's first planned resort area, way before Waikiki beach. The beautiful stretch of Kaanapali beach is blanketed with one hotel and condominium after another. The Whalers Village Museum in this area  (2345 Kaanapali Pikeway) documents not only the whaling era but also the development of Kaanapali over time.

Contributors
August 04, 2009 change by damiandavilarojas

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