Around 1,000 years ago, navigators from the Marquesas Islands launched an unprecedented voyage of discovery across the Pacific Ocean. Read More
Building Pu‘ukoholā Heiau
For Hawaiians, the natural environment was imbued with religious significance. Geological features, plants and animals were often revered as kinolau, or manifestations of the many gods. Religion pervaded people’s lives – from the maka‘āinana (commoners) to the highest ranks of ali‘i, who ruled as embodiments of the gods. Read More
Captain James Cook was a British naval officer and explorer who commanded three voyages to the Pacific. Privately, he carried orders from the Admiralty to claim any “undiscovered” Pacific islands for Britain, with an eye to assessing the islands’ natural resources. Read More
On October 23, 1819, a double-masted, 85-foot-long ship set sail from Boston Harbor, headed for the Sandwich Islands (Hawai‘i). in recognition of these events two hundred years ago, we take the opportunity to reflect on this complex history. Read More
Voyages to Hawaii before 1860
In 1786, trading ships began making regular stops in Hawai‘i on their way to China and the Pacific Northwest. Pursuing the lucrative fur trade, vessels from Great Britain, Spain and America found Hawai‘i an ideal place to restock provisions and replenish depleted crews with fresh Hawaiian sailors. Read More
Kamehameha I died in May 1819, in Kamakahonu, Hawai‘i. Early on, the king had named his son, Liholiho, successor. But two powerful women – Ka‘ahumanu and Keōpūolani, both his widow – would demand new freedoms, igniting a struggle that toppled the ancient religion. Read More
For missionaries, education was essential to both salvation and worldliness. Prominent Congregationalist ministers, such as Timothy Dwight and Edward Dorr Griffin, led schools and churches that stood at the forefront of spiritual revival during the Second Great Awakening. Read More
Henry ʻŌpūkahaʻia played a pivotal role in inspiring the missionary presence in Hawai‘i. His avid embrace of Christianity, told in the best-selling Memoirs of Henry Obookiah, created a compelling vision of what the missionaries could accomplish in these far-off lands. Read More
Faced with declining revenues for its global missions, ABCFM founded the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut, in 1816 as a way to proselytize at home and to boost donations.This boarding school aimed to educate non-Christian boys to become missionaries in their homelands. Read More
On October 23, 1819, the fourteen men and women of the first company to Hawai‘i boarded the brig Thaddeus, anchored in Boston Harbor. They were joined by four Hawaiian men, three as members of the mission and a prince returning home to Kaua‘i. Read More

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