Mauis Historical Attractions Historical Past of Maui Hawaii

If you’re fond of going down the ancient paths of history, but love the outdoors, the tropical sun and sandy white beaches, then consider Maui, Hawaii as your next vacation spot.

How Maui got its name

Legend has it that Hawaiiloa, the Polynesian conqueror known to have discovered the Hawaiian Islands, named Maui after his son, who got his name after a demigod. This mythological being was said to have raised the Hawaiian Islands from the depths of the sea. Maui’s outline allegedly resembles the demigod’s head and body, hence the name.

However, Piilani was the first Maui ruler who left a significant impact in the island’s history as he made possible the union of the entire island.

Maui’s history in a nutshell

The Polynesians from Tahiti and the Marquesas were the first settlers of Maui. If you have something against Hawaiians and their culture, you may blame it to the Tahitians who introduced the kapu system. It’s a stringent social order affecting all facets and walks of life and although abolished in 1819 by King Kamehemeha II, became the main foundation of Hawaiian culture.

Although the first European to have discovered Maui in November 26, 1778, Captain James Cook never landed on the island, as he failed to find a fitting landing place. The French Admiral Jean Francois de Galaup de La Perouse was the first Westerner to land on one of the island’s shores (now known as La Perouse Bay) on May 29, 1786.

In 1790, King Kamehameha conquered Maui after a bloody battle in the Lao Valley. He then made Lahaina the new united Hawaiian Kingdom’s seat of government. Lahaina’s reign as the government’s seat lasted for almost 50 years, causing its whaling industry to scale to greater heights.

Maui’s historical charms

You shouldn’t fail to visit Maui’s claim to historical beauty and treasure. The island offers marvelous historical places. And its flourishing whaling industry provides proof to its rich historic fame as Hawaii’s premier whaling site. Below are some of Maui’s historical sites you shouldn’t miss.

Halekii-Pihana State Monuments. Filled with history, these sites include remnants of a lava rock hejau, otherwise known as a religious temple; and a house of refuge which is a reconstruction of an ancient Hawaiian abode.

Lao Valley State Park. This valley was a holy burial site for the Hawaiian royalty known as ali’i. The historical battle of Kepaniwai which united Maui with the Hawaiian Kingdom occurred in this place.

Olowalu Petroglyphs. These ancient drawings etched in rock give you a glimpse of the kind of life led by ancient Hawaiians. If you’re an artist or an art aficionado, you’ll surely appreciate these historical artistic depictions of Maui’s early life.

Moku’ula-Lahaina’s Sacred Isle. One of Hawaii’s greatest archaeological discoveries, this served as the ali’i’s residence during Lahaina’s time as the Hawaiian Kingdom’s capital. The most sacred ali’i was also buried here.

Places that showcase Maui’s history

Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum. This magnificent plantation abode welcomes you to Maui’s agricultural life and sugar trade throughout history. It is home to authentic old machinery, picture murals, and other fascinating artifacts.

Whalers’ Village Whaling Museum. This museum lets your eyes feast on various whaling relics, photo murals, graphics depicting ancient whaling life, and scrimshaw items representative of a whaler’s life and creativity. Admission here is free too.

Hana Coast Gallery Cultural Art of Hawaii. One of Hawaii’s most admired and highly regarded art galleries is found in Old Hana Town located in East Maui. It features original island art and masterpieces that mirror the charms and cultural heritage of Hawaii and its people.

Maui indeed should be on top of your list when visiting Hawaii, especially if you’re fascinated with ancient history. The island does not only boast of panoramic landscapes, fantastic beaches, and great outdoor adventures, but an enlightening journey into Hawaii’s glorious past as well.