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.
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.
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.