The Hawaiian Islands were originally inhabited by Polynesians who migrated from central Polynesia possibly as early as the fourth or fifth century A.D. Captain James Cook, arriving in 1778, was the first in what became a series of both Western and Eastern influences on the islands. Exposure to new diseases rapidly decreased the indigenous population, and the introduction of non-Hawaiian ideas and material goods dramatically eroded the traditional economic, social, and political life, eventually leading to the overthrow of Hawaiian rule. Initially, Hawaii was a way...
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