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History of Maui

Early History

The second largest Hawaiian island, Maui boasts a vibrant yet complicated history that impresses tourists from all over the world. In this article, we will take a look at the history of Maui and learn about the significant events that shaped the history of this unique place located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

According to the legend, the name ‘Maui’ goes back to the ancient times, when the navigator Hawai’iola discovered the island and named it after his son, who in turn was named in honor of the demigod called Maui. James Cook was the first European explorer who saw the island of Maui in November 1778. However, Cook was unable to dock his ship, so the first European who set foot on the island was Jean-François de La Pérouse, a French navigator. This happened in 1786, eight years after Cook’s voyage. The documented history of Maui began in the 18th century, due to the development of trade in the region, as well as population growth.

In the decades that followed, Maui saw an influx of traders, missionaries, whalers, and loggers. The European settlement brought about social, political, and economic development of the island. European missionaries played a pivotal role in Maui’s history: they taught locals how to write and read, invented the Hawaiian alphabet, and built the first school in 1831. Missionaries significantly shaped the rich native culture.

Between 1840 and 1860, the island of Maui was known for its whaling industry. Ships from other countries would dock the island and stay there for several weeks. In late 19th century, the whaling industry declined due to petroleum replacing whale oil.

In 1894 the Republic of Hawaii was established, but four years later the island of Maui was annexed by the United States to become one of the American states. Maui played a major role during the Second World War: it was home to a training base that trained about 100,000 soldiers at its peak in 1943.

Latest History

In the second half of the 20th century, the island of Maui developed as a popular tourist destination, thanks to its lush green valleys, lively Hawaiian culture, historic villages, and adventurous entertainment. While the population of the island is about 144,000 people, over two million tourists visit Maui annually, which makes Maui the second most visited island in Hawaii. Visit the island of Maui for an unforgettable adventure and immerse yourself in Maui’s colorful culture and history!


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