Kūkulu Ola Hou Timeline

One goal of this study is to reconstruct the most updated chronology to contextualize the population collapse that corresponds to major socio-cultural-political-economic shifts. NOTE: This timeline is based on research and should be used for educational and informational purposes only. Caveat: This timeline is constantly being updated with new data and information.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs constructed this interdisciplinary timeline from 2016-2017. ;xNLx;Suggested Citation: Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). (2017). Kūkulu Ola Hou Timeline. OHA, Last modified March 12, 2017, accessed Month Day, Year. https://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/774640/Kkulu-Ola-Hou-Timeline/.;xNLx;;xNLx;References:;xNLx;1.Archer (2010) ;xNLx;2.Bushnell (1993);xNLx;3.Chun (1994);xNLx;4.Hope & Hope (2003) ;xNLx;5.Kamakau (1961) ;xNLx;6.Malo (1898) ;xNLx;7.Schmitt (1970) ;xNLx;8.Schmitt & Nordyke (1999) ;xNLx;9.Schmitt & Nordyke (2001) ;xNLx;10.Shulman, Shulman & Simms (2009) ;xNLx;11.U.S. Department of the Interior (1983) “NH Study Commission” pp. 119-126;xNLx;12.Van Dyke (2008);xNLx;13.Osorio (2002);xNLx;14.Pukui & Elbert (1986);xNLx;;xNLx;Cover Image Copyright: Kai Markell

1758-02-01 00:00:00

Kamehamea 1

Kamehameha I was born in Kokoiki, Kohala to Kekuʻiapoiwa, his mother, and Keōua, his father. He was raised by his kahu Naeʻole until he was five years old at Hālawa, Kohala Loko at which time he was brought back to the aliʻi Alapaʻi (Kamakau, Ke kumu Aupuni, 2-3).

1758-04-01 22:46:59

Cook's Sailors: Venereal Disease

Cook's Sailors brought Venereal Disease Ashore

1778-01-17 09:17:39

Beginning of Native Hawaiian Population Collapse

Diseases brought by foreigners caused an estimated population of 800,000 to one million Native Hawaiians at the time of Cook's arrival to the islands to collapse to an estimated 40,000 in the 1890s, This was a nearly 95% decrease in the population in about a century (Stannard, 1989).

1778-01-18 21:48:12

Arrival of British Captain James Cook [11]

Captain James Cook arrived in Hawai'i in 1778. Prior to his arrival, Native Hawaiians were not exposed to highly infectious disease and such had no natural immunity to the bacterial and viral organisms that were brought to the Islands.

1778-02-02 14:18:38

Infectious diseases begin to appear among Native Hawaiians

The arrival of Captain Cook and his seamen in January 1778 brought major health disease such as venereal disease, gonorrhea, syphilis, tuberculosis and bacterial viral illness. [11]

1778-02-22 04:57:19

Arrival of Alcohol [11]

Captain Cook and his seamen popularized alcohol in Hawaii.

1778-02-22 04:57:19

Arrival of Gunfire [11]

Captain Cook and his seamen popularized gunfire in Hawaii.

1778-02-28 19:18:54

Maʻi ʻai ake: Tuberculosis [11]

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1778-02-28 19:18:54

Nā Pala a me Ke Kaokao: Venereal Diseases [1,4]

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1778-02-28 19:18:54

Kaokao: Syphilis [1,11]

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1778-02-28 19:18:54

Ma‘i hilo: braiding disease

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1778-02-28 19:18:54

Pala: Gonorrhea [1,4,11]

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1778-02-28 19:18:54

Ma‘i ‘Ino: venereal disease [4,11]

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1779-03-01 00:00:00

Signs of Death [11]

Since the arrival of the first foreigners in 1778, Native Hawaiians started to witness death due to the introduced ma'i (diseases).

1781-02-28 19:18:54

Palū: influenza

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1781-09-28 19:18:54

Diseases recorded as spreading from ships

As a result of the islands’ isolation before 1778, pathogens and other invasive species could spread rapidly once introduced. All animals introduced to the islands contained many foreign bacteria, viruses, and other vermin. Cook’s men themselves admitted to spreading syphilis among Hawaiian women, but venereal disease was just one of many scourges introduced in this period. Rev. Artemas Bishop wrote that the contributing factor to low birth rates was the syphilis epidemic. Gonorrhea and syphilis of Hawaiian men and women were causing fertility issues and infant mortality. [1]

1796-10-27 16:49:47

Kalanikūpule Defeats Kāʻeokūlani

Kalanikūpule defeats Kāʻeokūlani in the battle of Kūkiʻiahu at Kalauao, ʻEwa, which incorporates Maui, Moloka’i, and Lānaʻi under his rule of Oʻahu (Kamakau, Ke Kumu Aupuni, 144).

1797-10-10 19:45:07

Kamehameha Defeats Kalanikūpule

Kamehameha defeats Kalanikūpule in the battle of Nuʻuanu and brings the islands, except for Kauaʻi and Niʻihau, under one kingdom (Kamakau, Ke Kumu Aupuni, 149).

1799-08-26 15:39:52

Liholiho is Born

Kalanikualiholiho, the first-born child of Kalanikauikaʻalaneokeōpūolani and Kamehameha I, is born. Liholiho was not given away to be raised by another aliʻi as was a customary practice among aliʻi children. He was raised in the presence of Kamehameha himself. From a young age, Liholiho was raised to be a religious chief. He was a child who listened to his kahu. John Papa ʻĪʻī was one of Liholiho's Kahu (Ke Kumu Aupuni, 200-201).

1804-01-30 21:48:12

King Kamehameha I reestablishes Lonopūhā

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1804-01-30 21:48:12

Maʻi ʻAi ake: Tuberculosis

Throughout the 1800s visitors from ships and immigrants introduce tuberculosis [4].

1804-01-30 21:48:12

Maʻi ʻŌkuʻu: Cholera "The Squatting Sickness" [11]

Ma’i ‘oku’u (squatting sickness) took approximately 15,000 lives. [11] Probable cholera or typhoid epidemic kills an estimated 15,000. [5] Severe pestilence, Ke’eaumoku’s death. (pp.436)

1804-06-03 16:31:00

Piwa Ho‘onāwiliwili

Typhoid Fever [5]

1804-06-03 16:31:00


A pestilence said to have come in the reign of Waia, believed the same as the ʻōkuʻu disease of 1804. [7]

1806-11-19 12:39:07


Influenza [7]

1812-07-09 07:06:50

Hawaiian Kingdom is Formed

One of Kamehameha's first acts was a kālaiʻāina that was carried out by Kalanimoku. Kamehameha made sure to give land to all those who had helped him. In setting up his government, he established laws that forbade stealing, murder, and robbery. He also proclaimed that the elderly and children may lie protected along the roadside (Kānāwai Māmalahoe). Kamehameha arranged his government for success. He appointed the head fishermen, carvers, farmers, warriors, paddlers, healers, and land managers. He established kapu for the fishing seasons. He also built the heiau, Pu’u Koholā and Mailekini at Kawaihae, Keikipuʻipuʻi and ʻAhuʻena at Kailua, Hikiau at Kealakekua, Kamaikeʻekū and ʻŌhiʻamukumuku at Kahaluʻu, and Haleokeawe and the refuge at Hōnaunau (Kamakau, Ke Kumu Aupuni, 152-157).

1816-05-21 18:11:00

Kauikeaouli is Born

Kauikeaouli is born to Kamehameha and Keōpūolani in Keauhou, North Kona. According to the custom of giving the child away to another to raise, Kuakini was supposed to have been the kahu hānai of Kauikeaouli, but when it was thought that the aliʻi had died at birth, Kuakini left. Kaikiʻoewa, however, was in the area when the aliʻi was born and brought his kāula who revived the child. It was because of this that Kaikiʻoewa became the kahu hānai of Kauikeaouli and raised him at Oʻoma, Kekaha (Kamakau, Ke Aupuni Moi, 12-13).

1819-01-11 00:05:56

King Kamehameha I dies of a stroke around the age of 69 [4]

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1819-01-11 00:05:56

Abolition of the Kapu System

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1819-01-12 18:51:06

First missionaries arrived in Hawaii

By 1820 the first missionaries arrived in Hawaii and the Native Hawaiian population was about 150,000. [11]

1819-05-22 11:38:36

Breaking of the ʻAi Kapu

In the old days, there was an ʻai kapu, or a restriction on eating in which men and women ate separately. Upon the death and mourning of a great chief, however, the ali’i would ‘ai noa, meaning the men and women would eat together. However, when the ʻai kapu was lifted during the mourning for Kamehameha’s death it was not reestablished. Keōpūolani and the other aliʻi continued the ʻai noa at Kailua, Hawaiʻi and sent messengers to retrieve Liholiho and Kekuaokalani who were at Kawaihae. Kekuaokalani repeatedly insisted to Liholiho that they should not return to Kailua becuase of the ʻai noa. Finally Liholiho agreed to return, but he refused to eat with his mother, Keōpūolani. A battle ensued at Kuamoʻo between those who supported the ʻai kapu and those who suppored the ʻai noa. Kekuaokalani was killed in this battle and the ʻai noa was established throughout the islands (Kamakau, Ke Kumu Aupuni, 206-216).

1819-05-22 11:38:36

Kamehameha Passes and Liholiho Becomes Mōʻī

Kamehameha dies and leaves the aupuni to his son, Liholiho and the war akua (god) to Kekuaokalani. At the age of 21, Liholiho became mōʻī, and took the name, Kamehameha II (Kamakau, Ke Kumu Aupuni, 198). Kaʻahumanu would rule alongside Liholiho as Kuhina nui. Liholiho would enact some of the first laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom, which mainly had to do with regulating the behavior of foreigners in Hawaiʻi (Beamer, No Mākou Ka Mana, 106-108).

1820-01-11 22:59:20

1st American physician arrives

Dr. Thomas Holman, the first physician, arrives with missionaries from New England. [4] It is estimated that the native population was around 300,000 at the time of Captain Cook’s arrival in 1778 and that it had declined to about 135,000 at the time the first American missionaries arrived in 1820. [10]

1820-01-11 22:59:20

Conscription with Christian Missionaries

Missionary reports faithfully tallied the losses, perhaps because they perceived the dire situation as serving to reinforce their stated goals of civilizing and Christian- izing the “benighted” Hawaiians. A typical entry in a missionary diary of 1824 reads: “Tuesday, [June] 8: It is quite sickly among the natives at present. Two chief women died on Sunday—one here and one at Waititi [Waikı-kı-]; and from the daily wailing heard in various directions, it is probable there are many deaths among the common people.” [1]

1820-01-11 22:59:20

Height of the sandalwood trade [2]

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1820-05-07 11:02:55

First American Calvanist Missionaries Arrive

Not long after the establishment of the ʻai noa, Calvinist missionaries arrived at Kailua, Hawaiʻi from America. Some of the chiefs were unsure about allowing the missionaries to reside in Hawaiʻi. After much discussion and meetings, Liholiho and the aliʻi agreed to allow the missionaries to reside in the islands and teach their faith for one year, at which time they would be allowed to stay if it was determined that their work was pono. Some of the missionaries that arrived included Hiram Bingham and Asa Thurston (Kamakau, Ke Kumu Aupuni, 244-247).

1820-09-01 00:00:00

1st Missionary Physician

Dr. Thomas Holman the first missionary physician to arrive to Hawai‘i. Chronology of Medical Events in Hawaii, 1778-1899 From, Nine Doctors and God, by Francis J. Halford, M. D. Unpublished

1820-09-13 19:09:20

Catarrh and Fever [11]

Since the arrival of foreigners catarrh and fever took native lives. The population was estimated at 150,000. [11]

1820-09-19 23:59:22


influenza [7]

1823-09-01 00:00:00

Dr Abraham Blatchely

Dr Abraham Blatchely a missionary arrived. Chronology of Medical Events in Hawaii, 1778-1899 From, Nine Doctors and God, by Francis J. Halford, M. D. Unpublished

1824-01-11 22:59:20

King Kamehameha II and Queen die of measles [4,5,11]

King Kamehameha II and Queen Kamamalu both die of measles in London.

1824-01-16 03:33:04

Whooping Cough Epidemic

Thousands of Native Hawaiian die from what is believed to be a whooping cough epidemic. [11]

1826-01-11 22:59:20

Maʻi ʻula: measles [4,5,10]

The death of the King and Queen in London due to measles [10]

1826-01-11 22:59:20

Maʻi Pālahalaha

Documented evidence describing epidemics of cough, congested lungs, sore throat, bronchitis, and influenza [5,12] Severe Epidemic kills chiefs and commoners. [5, 436] “In 1826 thousands died, especially in the country districts, of an epidemic of ʻcough, congested lungs, and sore throat’. Luanu'u Kahalai'a, George Humehume, and other chiefs died of this disease.” [5, pp. 237]

1826-01-13 16:29:23

Legislation between 1826 and 1849 to eliminate stills and regulate grog shops in Honolulu

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1827-07-11 22:59:20

Mosquitos arrive in Hawaiʻi [4]

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1828-07-03 11:45:36

Medical Missionaries in Hawaii

The first medical missionary, Dr. Gerrit P. Judd, arrives in Hawaii aboard the Parthian, the third company from the ABCFM to treat Native Hawaiians suffering from introduced diseases. He later starts Hawaii’s first medical school and trusted advisor to King Kamehameha III. [4]

1828-07-11 22:59:20

Dr. Gerrit P. Judd arrives in Hawai'i

Dr. G. P. Judd, a missionary physician, arrives aboard the Parthian, the third company from the ABCFM. He later starts Hawaii’s first medical school and trusted advisor to King Kamehameha III [4]

1831-02-01 00:00:00

Dr. Dwight Baldwin Arrived

Dr. Dwight Baldwin Arrived From: Chronology of Medical Events in Hawaii, 1778-1899 From, Nine Doctors and God, by Francis J. Halford, M. D. Unpublished

1831-12-12 10:00:56


Whooping cough

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