Despite the land being millions of years old, Hawaii has only been a state since August 21, 1959. There was times of controversy and much debate, but eventually they were admitted under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Discovery, Kingdom, Statehood
Archaeologists and historians believe the Hawaiian Islands were uninhabited until around 500 A.D. Polynesians, well-known to be explorers, discovered and settled on the big island of Hawaii. The Polynesians were the sole inhabitants for approximately 500 years until the Tahitians arrived in 1000 A.D.
The islands were originally governed by individual chiefs and kings until the late 1700’s, when a few battles among the islands took place as Kamehameha attempted to unite the islands as one. In the early 1800’s, Kamehameha I succeeded with unification of the Hawaiian Islands. The town of Lahaina was named the capital in 1820 and then moved to Honolulu in 1845. A series of monarchs ruled the Kingdom until 1898 when the United States annexed Hawaii.
Once annexed, the Hawaiian Islands remained a U.S. territory until 1959. President Eisenhower signed the bill into law on March 18, 1959. The citizens of Hawaii voted on a referendum to accept statehood on June 27 and on August 21, 1959, Hawaii became the 50 state of the Union.