Travel through our timeline of major events in Hawaii's history.
Polynesians, probably from the Marquesas Islands, arrive in Hawaii.
Another wave of settlers, this time from Tahiti, invades the islands.
British explorer Captain James Cook anchors in Waimea Bay near Kauai. He names the islands the Sandwich Islands after Britain's Earl of Sandwich.
HERBERT KAWAINUI KANE—NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/GETTY IMAGES
The fierce warrior Kamehameha I conquers many of the islands and establishes the Hawaiian monarchy. In 1819, he dies and his son becomes Kamehameha II.
King Kamehameha I commissions the Hawaiian Flag. The design, which is now Hawaii's state flag, has eight red, white, and blue stripes to represent Hawaii's eight major islands. It also includes a small version of Great Britain's flag, known as The Union Jack, to symbolize Hawaii's longstanding friendship with Britain.
American traders searching for sandalwood and whales begin to arrive in Hawaii. They are followed by American missionaries who settle on the islands to spread the teachings of Christianity.
Kamehameha III signs a series of measures that form the foundation of a constitutional government.
Kamehameha III proclaims Honolulu as the capital of Hawaii. The city remains the capital to this day.
The first Japanese immigrants arrive in Hawaii on February 9. Asian laborers continue to move to Hawaii to work on sugar plantations.
The U.S. Congress passes a resolution to annex Hawaii.
Hawaii becomes a U.S. territory on February 22nd.
Jim Dole buys the island of Lanai and turns it into the world's biggest pineapple plantation.
On December 7, the Japanese military attacks U.S. forces in Pearl Harbor. The U.S. enters World War II.
On March 18, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill acknowledging Hawaii's statehood. On August 21, Hawaii becomes the 50th, and last, state to join the union.
1970s and 1980s
Two popular television shows draw attention to the beautiful scenery in Oahu. Both Hawaii Five-O and Magnum P.I. take place on the beaches of the tropical island.
Hawaii becomes home to the NFL Pro Bowl, as the first ever AFC-NFC all star-game lands in Oahu's Aloha Stadium. The Pro Bowl has brought football legends and their fans to Hawaii every February for the past 26 years.
President Bill Clinton signs a resolution apologizing for the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, which took place when Queen Liliuokalani surrendered. Hawaiians continue to debate whether they want to remain a U.S. state. Some groups want to restore the monarchy, while others want to maintain their current status.
Hawaii-born Barack Obama is elected President of the United States.
In March, the Kilauea volcano erupts. No damages are reported.