Cook visits Hawaii

Cook visits Hawaii

On January 18, 1778, English navigator Captain James Cook becomes the first European to visit the Hawaiian Islands. Cook and his crew were welcomed by the native Hawaiians, who attached religious significance to the Europeans’ arrival. In 1779, the expedition returned to Hawaii, and for a month exploited the Hawaiians’ good will. After one of the crew died, exposing the Europeans as mere mortals, relations became strained and the Englishmen departed. When rough seas forced a third return, Cook and his men were greeted with hurled rocks. Peace negotiations with the Hawaiian king collapsed, and on February 14, 1779, a mob descended on the Englishmen. They fired at the angry Hawaiians but were overwhelmed–only a few members of the land party escaped. Cook himself was murdered on the beach. A few days later, the Englishmen retaliated by firing their cannons and muskets at the shore, killing an estimated 30 Hawaiians.