Do you know the history of Maui? Most people know about Maui’s incredible beaches, surf, scuba diving, and tropical scenery. But not everyone knows how Maui came to be.
Long before Hawaii became a US State in 1959, it was an independent country with a history dating back hundreds of years and immigration from nearly every country in the world. This history of Maui is why not everyone you meet here—and throughout the Islands—is “native Hawaiian.”
Histories of the Islands have been passed down through more than 100 generations by kahuna priests. Some of the histories are told through oral traditions, other history is documented. Combined, they tell the history of Maui, both unique and colorful.
The Valley Isle is named after the demigod Maui, who lived across the bay from Hana in Kaʻuiki. Maui created the island during a fishing trip with his brothers. The legend states that he caught the ocean floor with his fishhook and told his brothers to paddle hard. This brought up land that created an island. They repeated this multiple times, creating the Hawaiian Islands. But the brothers stopped paddling, so the Islands weren’t close together.
As for our longer days, Maui’s grandmother asked him to slow down the sun so she could grow more food. Maui stood on the summit of Mount Haleakala, lassoed the sun’s rays, and demanded longer summer days and shorter winter days. The sun granted Maui’s request.
Several groups of inbound settlers populated Maui:
• French Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands, thought to be prior to 450 AD
• More from Marquesas about 450 AD
• Tahitians, about 700 AD
The last group from Tahiti brought in central parts of Hawaiian culture, including:
• Social constructs such as the hereditary class system and the strict kapu system that governed all aspects of life
Eventually, the Islands saw more visitors and settlers from around the world.
The Europeans Arrive
Although Captain James Cook is credited as the first European visitor to Maui, he didn’t actually set foot on land. He was unable to find a suitable place to dock his ship, so only saw Maui in 1778 from the ship’s deck.
The first European to visit Maui in person was a Frenchman named Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse, an admiral who landed on what is now called La Perouse Bay in 1786.
These visitors led to the arrival of Christian missionaries beginning in 1820, as well as whalers and Western traders. Unfortunately, they also brought diseases that nobody in Hawaii had immunity against or treatment for, such as smallpox, measles, tuberculosis, typhus, cholera, and others. This caused a large reduction in the native population, an estimated 50% in one generation. Over time, the Hawaiian social system disintegrated and outsiders began taking over the void left by their deaths.
Sugar plantations became prevalent, and workers from other countries such as Japan, Portugal, Korea, and China were brought in to work the fields. This led to additional diversity among the population on Maui as well as the rest of the Islands.
Joining the United States
Hawaii went through several changes before becoming the 50th state. The Islands were ruled by Hawaiian royalty for many years. But long before Westerners and Christian missionaries arrived, the ancient social structures began fading away after conflicts and wars. The final monarch was Queen Liliuokalani, who was overthrown in 1893.
The Republic of Hawaii was established in 1894. The US annexed the Islands in 1898, establishing the Territory of Hawaii.
When Japan launched an air attack on Pearl Harbor (Oahu) on 12/7/1941, Maui then became a training base, a staging area, as well as an R&R area (“rest and relaxation”) for US military members. The 4th Marine Division was based in Maui, and more than 100,000 were stationed there from 1943 through 1944. After the war, many former service members stayed in Maui, and others returned as visitors and tourists.
The entire Hawaiian Territory gave the US considerable assistance during the war. Following WWII, the people of Hawaii voted to become a US state, which became official on August 21, 1959.
Hana, Maui Today
Though unique history of Maui is an American story, in our little corner of Maui, we like to think that we’re the last outpost of true or original Hawaii. Maybe that’s because we’re difficult to get to, or maybe because we didn’t let the “world” move in. You likely won’t find big chain stores or an In-N-Out Burger here. You might call us a little old-fashioned but Hana doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of bigger cities and more populated Hawaiian islands.
And that’s exactly why people come to visit. It’s more about the “peace and quiet” and a gentler quality of life that you can experience for yourself. Hana Kai Maui Resort is a great option for you to enjoy a quality stay.
Did you know Hana Bay is one of the best places on Maui for snorkeling. We also have art galleries and farmer’s markets with the best locally grown foods. You may even find some delicious pickings offered on someone’s residential property (leave a donation in the box, please.)
Hikers will enjoy Fagan’s Cross, where you can see some of the most beautiful coastal views on Maui. Hamoa Beach and Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach are two places like no other.
Make Your Next Hawaiian Visit To Hana Kai Maui
We know you have a variety of choices but Hana Kai Maui Resort condos are a great option for several reasons. We offer first class studio, one, and two-bedroom Hana accommodations that feature exquisite grounds, beachside barbeque, fully equipped kitchens, private lanais, and free wireless internet service. Many of our Hana condos have panoramic oceanfront views where you can experience incredible sunrises and moonlit nights while turtles and dolphins swim nearby in the surf.
Hana Kai Maui is an ideal place for you and your family. Whether you’re just staying the weekend or staying longer, we look forward to your visit. We will make your Hana getaway the best you’ve ever experienced. Call us at 1-800-346-2772, or book your oceanfront accommodations online.