History and Culture of the Big Island

By Hawaii.com Team

Glimpse the past and retrace the history of Hawaii at any number of museums and attractions. Polynesian culture, immigrants, plantations, missionaries and more all weave the Hawaii of today. Explore the sites on Hawaii traveled by the footstep of all those who have come before and gain an appreciation of cultures, past and present.

Ancient temple sites, like Mo`okini Heiau, built in 480 A.D.; a Hawaiian village dating back 600 years at Lapakahi State Historical Park; and the birthplace and original statue of King Kamehameha I are among the graphic reminders of a time when the Hawaiian archipelago was virtually unknown to the Western world.

Hawaii’s South Point, more properly called Ka La`e, is located at a latitude 500 miles farther south than Miami. Its roots go back to 150 A.D. when it is believed the first Polynesian explorers set foot on the island.

The North Kohala peninsula, having risen first from the sea, is the oldest section of this still growing island. Eventually, the volcanoes that formed Kohala Mountain became extinct leaving a rugged, windswept terrain that only now is beginning to show signs of modern development. But time has not erased the historic legacy of this region, and it certainly hasn’t dimmed its wild beauty.

Pu`uhonua o Honaunau is an ancient place of refuge was the destination of people running for their lives, seeking asylum from severe penalties imposed on all who broke the imposing kapu laws. Once inside the compound’s 10-foot walls, sanctuary was guaranteed.

Waipi`o, which means “curved water,” is known as the “Valley of the Kings” because it was once home to many ancient Hawaiian rulers and is said to be the place where King Kamehameha the Great received his training. Ancient burial caves are located in the walls of the cliffs and many ancient myths, chants and songs were inspired by the valley.

– courtesy of 101 Things To Do

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