Hawaii Timeline

A timeline of significant events in Hawaii's history

Hawaii's Timeline

This timeline of Hawaii's history covers a number of events which impacted the islands. Each item links to an article for that period, containing more information on the event.

Year (A.D.)
400 - 500
First Polynesians Arrive
Tahitians Arrive
Tahitian priest Pa'ao installs prince Pili as ruling chief; Pili founds dynasty leading to Kamehameha
1778 Captain Cook lands on Kauai
1779 Captain Cook arrives at Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island
1779 Captain Cook killed by Hawaiians
1782 Chief Kalaniopu'u dies, naming his son Kiwala'o as his successor and placing his nephew Kamehameha in charge of war
1795 Kamehameha controls Hawaiian islands, except Kauai
1809 Kamehameha gains control of Kauai, uniting all the Hawaiian islands as a single kingdom
1819 Kamehameha dies
Kamehameha's son Liholiho (Kamehameha II) becomes King
1819 Kapu broken by Kamehameha's favorite wife, Ka'ahumanu
1819 Battle over kapu system
1819 Kapu system abandoned
1820 Missionaries arrive from New England
1820 Whalers from Massachusetts begin using Lahaina and Honolulu as ports
1820 Sandalwood trade booming
1824 King Liholiho and Queen Kamamalu die while visiting England
1824 Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III), Kamehameha's last living son, becomes King
1825 Sandalwood trade declines
1830 Ka?ahumanu bans public performances of the hula
1832 Ka?ahumanu dies
1834 Majority of Hawaiians now literate
1835 The first large commercial sugar plantation begins operations
1840 The Kingdom of Hawaii Constitution institutes Western-style government and strengthens foreigners, legal rights
1848 The California gold rush boosts the sugar industry
1848 The Great Mahele Act establishes private land ownership
1849 Treaty creates most favored nation status between United States and Hawaii
1850 Right to buy land is granted to foreigners
1850 - 1859 Whaling industry hits its peak; then bottoms out due to the discovery of oil
1852 First Chinese workers arrive for plantation labor
1854 King Kauikeaouli dies
1854 Alexander Liholiho (Kamehameha IV) ascends the throne
1861 U.S. Civil War increases demand for Hawaiian sugar
1863 King Alexander Liholiho dies, leaving the throne to Lot (Kamehameha V)
1864 King Lot creates a new Constitution to restore more power to the monarchy
1868 First Japanese workers arrive
King Lot dies
1873 William Lunalilo elected King by the Hawaiian Legislature
1874 King Lunalilo dies
1874 David Kalakaua elected King by the Hawaiian Legislature
1874 The American Reciprocity Act grants the U.S. use of Pearl Harbor and lifts U.S. tax on Hawaiian sugar
1878 Portuguese workers begin arriving
1886 Japanese government encourages workers to migrate to Hawaii en masse
1887 The Hawaiian League forces King Kalakaua to sign the Bayonet Constitution, reducing him to a figurehead
1891 King Kalakaua dies during a trip to San Francisco, California
1891 Kalakaua's sister Liliuokalani succeeds him to the throne
1892 Queen Liliuokalani and the Legislature battle over her Cabinet appointments
1893 Queen Liliuokalani announces she has a new Constitution prepared
1893 Committee of Safety formed to overthrow Queen Liliuokalani
1893 With the assistance of U.S. Marines, the Committee of Safety forces Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate
Provisional government requests annexation to U.S.
1893 President Harrison officially recognizes Hawaii's new government as legitimate/a>
1893 Newly inaugurated President Cleveland orders investigation into Queen Liliuokalani's overthrow
1893 President Cleveland attempts to restore Queen Liliuokalani to her throne
1894 Provisional government becomes the Republic of Hawaii
1895 Plans for revolt by Liliuokalani's supporters squashed by police
1897 William McKinley inaugurated as President
1897 Annexation treaty introduced to Congress
1897 Liliuokalani sends written protest to annexation treaty
1898 Hawaii becomes a U.S. territory
1900 Organic Act establishes territorial government
1900 Pineapple plantations begin to thrive
1902 Prince Jonah Kuhio first elected as Hawaii's Delegate to U.S. Congress
1900 - 1908 Large numbers of immigrants come to Hawaii to work, including Japanese, Koreans, Portuguese, Puerto Ricans, and Filipinos
1908 Gentleman's Agreement between U.S. and Japan attempts to greatly limit Japanese immigrants
1921 Hawaiian Homes Commission Act attempts to restore some land to native Hawaiians
1924 Strike by Filipino workers turns into a deadly riot
1924 U.S. Immigration Act ends most Asian immigration to U.S., including Hawaii
1935 National Labor Relations Act paves the way for successful strikes
1938 Hilo Massacre
1941 Pearl Harbor bombed by Japan
1941 Martial law declared in Hawaii
1942 Japanese Americans in Hawaii's National Guard reformed as the 100th Battalion
1943 442nd Infantry formed from Japanese Americans, including many from Hawaii
1945 World War II ends, normalcy restored in Hawaii
1946 Hawaii Visitors Bureau begins heavily promoting travel to the islands
1947 Hawaii Statehood Commission founded
1949 Massive strike against the Matson Line stops all Hawaiian imports and exports for six months
1952 The Immigration and Naturalization Law allows Hawaii's large alien resident population to seek citizenship
1954 Democrats sweep territorial elections
1956 First harvest of commercially grown macadamia nuts
1956 Tourism and construction industries booming
1959 Martin Denny hits number one on the national Billboard Hot 100 chart
1959 Hawaii becomes the 50th state in the United States
1959 Daniel Inouye elected to Hawaii's seat in the House of Representatives
1960 Jet travel greatly increases the number of visitors to the islands
1970s Revival of interest in native Hawaiian culture
1978 Office of Hawaiian Affairs created
1980s Sovereignty movement gains momentum
1990s Film and t.v. production increases dramatically
1990s Numerous closures of sugar and pineapple plantations
1993 President Clinton passes law apologizing for the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy
"Akaka Bill" first introduced to Congress
2001 September 11 terrorist attacks cause a temporary decline in tourism
2006 Akaka Bill doesn't pass cloture vote

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