Cook named them Sandwich Islands

Until the 5th or 6th centuries the Hawaiian archipelago was a no man‘s land - an uninhabited paradise.

Kauai Kalalau ValleyThe first settlers came across the ocean from the Marquesas Islands, a group of islands in the south east almost at the equator. They came in big canoes, 100ft long, with twin hulls, whose sails were made of the fibre of coconuts. They brought the first domestic animals with them - pigs and chickens.

Other Polynesians followed in the 13th or 14th centuries. They came form Tahiti. A feudal system with powerful chiefs, (the later kings), priests and ministers developed who ruled the four bigger islands.

In 1778 the English Captain Cook discovered the islands. He called them Sandwich Islands after his superior, Sandwich, the first Lord of the Admiralty. (An Earl of the family of the Sandwichs, John Montagu, invented the buttered toast which has been called sandwich to the present day.( The Hawaiian islands, however, show only a remote connection with sandwiches)

Anyway in some nautical charts you can still find the Hawaiian islands as "Sandwich Islands"

The relationship between Cook‘s sailors and the natives was very friendly in the beginning. They exchanged coins, muskets and nails for drinking water and meat. The sailors had no problem to get into contact with the female population. They were fascinated by their beauty whereas the Polynesians were attracted by the utensils made of metal they saw on the two strange ships. Unfortunately they pinched some of them. Cook was really upset about this and he had the Hawaiian chief, Kalaniopuu, arrested. As a reaction to this the indigenous people stabbed him to death.

In spite of all this the islands became an important base for international shipping routes.

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