Hawaii for History Buffs: The Must-See Sites

January 21, 2013

The Hawaiian Islands offer unique ways to vacation. 

From those seeking adventure to those requiring relaxation, Hawaii appeals to all.  Hawaii is also a veritable treasure for history buffs as there is a fascinating amount of history scattered across the islands. 

Oahu and the Big Island are two of the best islands to visit if you’re looking to explore the historical sites of Hawaii.  One of the reasons Hawaii is such a treasure trove of historical insight is it is the only state that was once its own independent country. 
Oahu’s historical sites include:
Iolani Palace: Iolani Palace, the official residence of Hawaii’s monarchy, is a marvel of opulence, innovation, and political intrigue. Meticulously restored to its former grandeur, this National Historic Landmark in downtown Honolulu tells of a time when their Majesties, King Kalakaua, who built it in 1882, and his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani, walked its celebrated halls. 
Iolani Palace
Pearl Harbor:  The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941 brought the United States into World War II.  The Navy base itself was recognized on January 29, 1964 as a National Historic Landmark district and with the National Register of Historic Places since 1976. Within its bounds, it contains several other National Historic Landmarks associated with the attack on Pearl Harbor, including the Arizona, Bowfin, and Utah.
Bishop Museum:  One of Oahu’s most historic places, the museum holds millions of artifacts, documents and photos about Hawaii and other Polynesian cultures.  The Bishop Museum is dedicated to studying and preserving the history of Hawaii and the Pacific. It was originally designed to house the extensive collection of Hawaiian artifacts and royal family heirlooms of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a descendent of King Kamehameha I.
Punchbowl Crater: National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is the resting-place for almost 53,000 veterans (and eligible family members). The memorial, placed on the National Register of Historic Places, stands in honor of the sacrifices and achievements of the American Armed Forces.
Big Island historical sites:
Puukohola Heiau:  The majestic, stone Puukohola Heiau can be seen off the road, just north of the resorts of the Kohala Coast. This National Historic Site is home to one of the largest restored heiau (temple) in Hawaii and is part of the National Park System.  The Puukohola Heiau is also not far from a field marking the birthplace of King Kamehameha’s birthplace, marked by a simple plaque.  About an hour south of this site, you’ll find the Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park.  A recreated Hawaiian village is located here and there is great snorkeling located offshore.
Puako Petroglyph: Along the Kohala Coast, the Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve features more than a thousand petroglyphs, or kii pohaku, lava rock carvings etched into stone centuries ago by Native Hawaiians.
Puako Petroglyph
Mookini Heiau State Monument: Over 1500 years old, Mookini Heiau State Monument is one of Hawaii’s oldest and most sacred historical sites.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park:  Encompassing two active volcanoes: Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world's most massive volcano. The park gives scientists insight into the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and for visitors, the park offers dramatic volcanic landscapes as well as glimpses of rare flora and fauna.  In recognition of its outstanding natural values, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was designated as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and a World Heritage Site in 1987.
These are just a few of the significant historical sites on the Hawaiian Islands.  An abundance of culture can be found throughout the islands, all waiting to be discovered by you!

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