On January 19, 1778, Hawaii would change forever with the arrival of 6’4” tall Captain James Cook, who was on his 3rd voyage to Alaska, but instead docked on the shores of Waimea, Kauai. Captain Cook arrived at night, so when the Hawaiian natives awoke the next morning, they believed they were being visited by the god, Lono. The Kauaians were confused at what they saw – pointy-headed people (the tri-cornered hats), breathing fire (smoking pipes), who were dealers of death (iron guns and iron ships).
After Kauai, Captain Cook traveled to Ni’ihau and then the Big Island of Hawaii. These white people were different than those who washed ashore in the 1500s from two Spanish ships lost in 1528. Those white people integrated into local society. Captain Cook’s large crew, ships, and instruments indicated change had come to Hawaii, whether they were ready for it or not.
When Captain Cook came to Hawaii, there was unrest among the islands. The Big Island of Hawaii mo’i (king) tried to invade Maui Island. Being unsuccessful, he was taking out his angst on the other islands by looting and causing mayhem.
After using up all the Hawaiian hospitality and supplies, Captain Cook planned to return to Britain. However, a broken ship mast caused him to return. Unfortunately, one bad event after another happened, including the killing of one of the minor chiefs. Captain Cook was clubbed from behind and killed at age 50 all because of the reactions to a stolen row boat.
Cite: O’ahu Revealed by Andrew Doughty