Over the past 600 years, West Hawai`i has been a focal point for numerous key events in the history of the State.
These have included: the development of a highly complex and structured Hawaiian civilization; the site of Captain James Cook’s grand reception and later his untimely death; the arrival of the first Christian missionaries; the launching pad for a military campaign that melded the Island chain into one kingdom; and finally, the place where Hawaiian royalty first broke the old ancient Polynesian Kapu religious system, precipitating cultural changes that would spin the island nation into the modern era.
The Kona-Kohala Coast has also been the birthplace and home to a number of culturally historical individuals over the centuries, from King Kamehameha the Great who united the Islands under a single rule, to Ellison Onizuka, the State’s first astronaut.
Along with museums, the numerous historical and cultural sites throughout West Hawaii provide a perspective on developments that are the legacy of present-day Hawai`i. These range from Hawaiian archaeological sites such as Mookini Heiau in Kohala, the graceful Hulihe’e Palace, Mokuaikaua Church in Kailua-Kona, Waimea’s Parker Ranch, and the modernistic Ellison Onizuka Space Museum at Kona International Airport.