Over the past 600 or so years West Hawaii in particular has been a focal point for numerous key events in the history of the State. The Big island's fascinating natural and culture history may be elusive at first glance to visitor's and new residents who are mesmerized by our flora and fauna.
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 history making 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.
Numerous historical/cultural sites and museums throughout West Hawaii provide a perspective on developments that are the legacy of present-day Hawaii. These range from Hawaiian archeological sites such as Mookini Heiau in Kohala to graceful Hulihe’e Palace and Mokuaikaua Church In Kailua-Kona to Waimea’s Parker Ranch, and the modernistic Ellison Onizuka Space Museum at Kona International Airport.