two people standing on a beach looking out to the silhouette of a large ship sailing toward them

Hawaii (1778-1959): From Western Discovery to Statehood

by John Gerlach Author

Hawaii tells the story of an uncharted melting pot of cultures, homogenized and “conquered” by the United States. It traces Hawaii’s path from an undisturbed island chain to its current statehood, where only 10% of the population is Native Hawaiian.

The Simple History Series are intended to be informative and entertaining for interested readers of all ages. In an effort to provide a simple picture of how and why things happened, each edition explains an important historical moment in story form, with hand-drawn illustrations and maps.



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Comments & Reviews


Number five in Microcosm's Simple History Series chronicles the history of the Hawaiian Islands from their "discovery" by Caption Cook in 1778 to the eventual statehood granted by the United States in 1959. Hawaii's story is a tale of colonization, exploitation, imposed capitalism and governments and corporations slicing themselves up the biggest piece of the poi. It's a story of Kings, Queens, Politicians, Missionaries and, as always, ordinary People caught in the middle. And that, folks, is pretty much the history of everything everywhere. Unfortunately.

Hawai'i's history post 1959 would continue to have highs (the alleged birth of the 44th President of the United States) and lows (Honolulu's perpetual hosting of the National Football League's incredibly pointless Pro Bowl) and then of course there was Bobby Brady's "discovery" of an ancient tiki on September 22, 1972.


The book on Hawaii shows the path it took from western discovery through statehood including the battles between the corporate interest and the people of Hawaii. These points and others like them make all 9 books of the Simple History Series indispensable to a person with an interest in history. It is true that if you want to be able to argue current politics you need to have a good understanding of the past. These books will help you figure that out. I spent some time in the high school and adult education classroom as a teacher. If I was still there I would be ordering a few copies of these books for my students