This page has information and links to information related to history. See Biographical Research for history of individual people. For specific time periods, places/areas, and/or topics see left-hand side for topics.

Western Imperialism In Hawai'i Introduction

Hawaii is a group a 132 islands. The Western world first encountered them in 1778 by Captain James Cook. He called them the Sandwich Islands after his patron. Knowing that they were called the Sandwich Islands for a number of years is important when doing research about them. Time period for this Web page is late 18th century through the middle of the 19th century.

 View to the West, Kona Island, HI

Identifying Books Microformat Newspaper Articles
Example Titles Databases, Sources, & Texts Located in Hawaii (Hawaiian & English) United States Primary Sources
Primary Sources (in CSU's Collection) Indexes and Abstracts (Databases) Articles of Interest


Indentifying Books

 Birds of Paradise flowers, Kona Island, HI

Identifying Books in the Library Catalog

Do a Subject search for these terms in the library catalog (and Prospector). Terms also work in WorldCat. (Remove bullet before search.)

  • Hawaii Antiquities
  • Hawaii History
  • Hawaii History to 1893
  • Hawaii History to 1893 Historiography
  • Hawaii Politics and Government To 1893 [2 items]
  • Hawaii Religion
  • Missions Hawaii
  • Percival John
  • United States Foreign Relations Hawaii

Items may be requested from other libraries in Prospector, the Colorado Union Catalog, by Colorado State University affiliates. The titles listed below in the next three sections of items in the CSU Libraries collection includes many of the major titles that are owned. Make good use of these (along with items identified with the above subject terms) and the items that can be read online (links found in other sections on this page). Items identified in databases that are not owned by CSU Libraries may requested via InterLibrary Loan (ILL) by CSU affiliates, but keep in mind that rare, fragile, and special/archival materials will not be loaned.

Example Titles

Example Titles (a few of these might qualify as primary sources):

  • A History of the Customs Service in Hawaii, 1789-1989. T 17.27:11 Documents
  • Hawaii. DU625 .C47 2006 Morgan
  • Life in Hawaii: An Autobiographic Sketch of Mission Life and Labors (1835-1881). DU623 .C65 2013 Morgan
  • Merchant prince of the Sandalwood Mountains : Afong and the Chinese in Hawaiʻi. S-1-15D-11-03-020 Storage Access
  • Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition: During the Years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842. (Charles Wilkes.) Q115 .W55 1845 Special (Hours Monday to Friday 8:30-4:30)
  • Pacific Paradises: The discovery of Tahiti and Hawaii. DU870 .L87 2005 Morgan
  • Pacific Pioneers: Japanese Journeys to America and Hawaii, 1850-80. E184 .J3 V3 2000 Morgan
  • Paths of Duty: American Missionary Wives in Nineteenth-Century Hawaii. BV3680.H3 G75 1989 Morgan
  • Pilgrim Path: The First Company of Women Missionaries to Hawaii. S-1-25D-08-06-014 Storage Access
  • A Residence of Twenty-one years in the Sandwich Islands; or, The Civil, Religious and Political History of Those Islands: Comprising a Particular View of the Missionary Operations Connected with the Introduction and Progress of Christianity and Civilization among the Hawaiian People. (Hiram Bingham 1789-1869.) DU625 .B615 1969 Storage
  • Russia's Hawaiian Adventure, 1815-1817. X 3338 Storage Access
  • The Trial of the Cannibal Dog: The Remarkable Story of Captain Cook's Encounters in the South Seas. G246.C7 S25 2003 Morgan
  • Unfamiliar Fishes. DU625 .V68 2012 Current Awareness
  • Waikīkī, 100 B.C. to 1900 A.D.: An Untold Story. DU629 .H7 K358 1995 Morgan

Hawaiian Language

  • E kama'ilio Hawai'i kakou. Let's speak Hawaiian. S-A-28A-03-04-010 Storage Access
  • Hawaiian Dictionary: Hawaiian-English, English-Hawaiian. PL6446 .P795 1986 Reference

Primary Sources

The CSU affiliates only items on this list with Y 1.1/2 call numbers should be searched as titles in the library catalog for the link to the item. These are digitally located in the American State Papers and/or United States Congressional Serial Set (both available online to CSU affiliates).

Some of these listed materials include places that are not Hawaii, but Hawaii or the Sandwich Islands should be in there somewhere in the world voyager's travels.

 Captain Cook Memorial

  • The Art of Captain Cook's Voyages. 3 volumes in 4 parts. G420.C62 J66 1985 OVERSZ
  • Astorian Adventure: The Journal of Alfred Seton, 1811-1815. F884.A8 S48 1993 Morgan
  • A Botanist's Visit to Oahu in 1831: Being the Journal of Dr. F. J. F. Meyen's Travels and Observations about the Island of Oahu. QK 473 .H4 M49213 Morgan
  • China and Sandwich Islands. (To accompany Bills H.R. Nos. 720 and 721.) January 24, 1843. Y 1.1./2: Internet (CSU affiliates only)
  • Commissioner to the Sandwich Islands. February 17, 1846. Read, and laid upon the table. Y 1.1/2 Internet (CSU affiliates only)
  • The Hawaiian Archipelago; Six Months among the Palm Groves, Coral Reefs, and Volcanoes of the Sandwich Islands. Isabella Bird Bishop. DU623 .B63 Morgan
  • In the Senate of the United States. July 13, 1852. The Committee on Naval Affairs, to Whom was Referred the Memorial of Philip F. Voorhees, a Captain in the United States Navy, Asking to be Reimbursed for Expenses Incurred by Him in Carrying as Passengers on Board the United States ship Savannah, under his Command, Charles Eames, United States commissioner to the Sandwich Islands . . . Y 1.1/2 Internet (CSU affiliates only)
  • Incidents of a Whaling Voyage, to Which are added Observations on the scenery, Manners and Customs, and Missionary Stations of the Sandwich and Society Islands. Francis Allyn Olmsted [1819-1844] G545 .O51 1969 Morgan
  • Journal of a Voyage to California, and Life in the Gold Diggings. And also of a Voyage from California to the Sandwich Islands. Albert Lyman. F865 .L96 Special (Hours Monday to Friday 8:30-4:30)
  • The Journals of Captain James Cook on His Voyages of Discovery. S 7073 v. 2; S 7074 v. 3 pt. 1; S7075 v. 3 pt. 2 Storage Access
  • The Journals of Captain James Cook on His Voyages of Discovery. Charts & views, Drawn by Cook and his Officers and Reproduced from the Original Manuscripts. G420 .C6 1955 Charts OVERSZ
  • Ka Elele Hawaii. [Sandwich Island Mission.] Online CSU affiliates only.
  • Letters from the Sandwich Islands, Written for the Sacramento Union by Mark Twain. DU623 .C6 1972 Morgan
  • Narrative of a Journey across the Rocky Mountains, to the Columbia River, and a Visit to the Sandwich Islands, Chili, &c.; with a Scientific Appendix. John K. Townsend. F592 .T74 Special (Hours Monday to Friday 8:30-4:30) also F592 T74 1999 Morgan and Z1251 .W5 W22 No. 395 Storage Microtext Fiche
  • On the Claim of John Percival, Master Commandant of the Navy, for Expenses Incurred in Obtaining the Release of American Seamen from the Natives of the Mulgrave Islands, and in visiting the Sandwich Islands, in 1825 and 1826. Communicated to the House of Representatives, February 9, 1833. Y 1.1/2: Internet (CSU affiliates only)
  • Sandwich Islands and China. Message from the President of the United States, Respecting the Trade and Commerce of the United States with the Sandwich Islands, and of Diplomatic Intercourse with Their Government; also, in Relation to the New Position of Affairs in China, and Recommending Provision for a Diplomatic agent. December 31, 1842. Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Y 1.1/2: Internet (CSU affiliates only)
  • Steam Communication with China, and the Sandwich Islands. May 4, 1848. Y 1.1/2: Internet (CSU affiliates only)
  • The Victorian Visitors: An Account of the Hawaiian Kingdom, 1861-1866, Including the Journal Letters of Sophia Cracroft: Extracts from the Journals of Lady Franklin, and Diaries and Letters of Queen Emma of Hawaii. DU627.13 .K6eb Internet (CSU affiliates only)
  • A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and Round the World; in Which the Coast of North-west America has been Carefully Examined and Accurately Surveyed. Undertaken by His Majesty's Command Principally with a view to ascertain the Existence of any Navigable Communication between the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans; and Performed in the Years 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, in the Discovery Sloop of War, and Armed Tender Chatham, Under the Command of Captain George Vancouver. Special (Hours Monday to Friday 8:30-4:30)
  • What I Saw on the West Coast of South and North America, and at the Hawaiian Islands. H. Willis Baxley. F2213 B35 Storage


Ka'a'awa: A Novel about Hawaii in the 1850s. PS3552 .U823 K33 1980 Morgan


 Volcano steaming on Kona Island.

Microformat with Primary Sources of Interest

Some of these will need to be requested from Storage--so plan ahead. In addition microfilm will need to be read in Morgan Library. Get an overview of how to use the microfilm reader; microtext readers provide screen snapshots (including PDF format), but no Internet (and thereby no email) access.

  • Dispatches from United States Ministers in Hawaii, 1843-1900. 34 reels. JX1181 .A3 U56. Storage Microfilm Text
  • Records of General Courts Martial and Courts of Inquiry of the Navy Department, 1799-1867. KF7652.P47 U55 1959 Microfilm Text
  • Notes from the Hawaiian Legation in the United States to the Department of State, 1841-1899. JX1181 .A28 Storage Microtext Film
  • Speeches of Mr. Gwin of California, on the National Railroad Bill--Homestead Bill--Civil Fund Bill--California Indian War Debt--Appointment of Judge for the Northern District of California--and the Bill to Create a Line of Steamships from California via the Sandwich Islands to China; Delivered in the Senate of the United States, Dec. 12, 1853. Z1251.W5 W22 NO.165 Storage Microtext Fiche

Databases, Sources, & Texts Located in Hawai'i

 Palace of Hawai'ian Royalty, Kona Island, HI

Databases, Sources, & Texts Located in Hawaii (Hawaiian & English)

ABCFM Hawaii Missionary Journals & Letters. Digital Collection. Hawaiian Mission Houses.  Other categories are found on this page. Search by key word. Typescripts.

Early Hawaiian Society: Subtopics. Hawaii Alive. © Bishop Museum.  Subtopics provide an overview. Key resources include images. Aimed at a young audience, but has some very useful primary sources in the key resources.

  • Shelter and kauhale system
  • Makahiki
  • Sports and Games
  • Hula: Monarchy
  • Hōlua: From Past to Present
  • Hoe wa‘a, to paddle a canoe
  • Kalo and the Preservation of Culture
  • Whaling and its impacts
  • Ulana (Weaving), as Explored Through a Makaloa Protest Mat
  • Captain James Cook
  • Mana and the authority to rule
  • Hula: from the past to the present
  • Clothing and adornment
  • Feather work
  • Nā Ali`i
  • Fishing Traditions
  • The Pā'ū of Nāhi'ena'ena
  • Western Views of Hawai‘i
  • Kākau Uhi
  • Surfing
  • Cordage
  • Weapons and Warfare

See other subtopics: Unification and Monarchy, Origins and Migration, Overthrow and Contemporary Issues.

Indexes & Abstracts (Databases)

Helpful indexes and abstracts concerning Hawai'i

Hawaii Pacific Journal Index. University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Library. 

This is an online index that has been around for several years. It indexes "nearly 140 journals published in or about Hawaii and the Pacific." Coverage back to the 1890s. Pay attention to the instructions for access on this linked-to page (click on the name of the index near the top to start the process). There are over 1300 entries containing the keyword "sugar"--not all of them relate to Hawaiian history, so be judicious in your selections. Note: given our geographical location it is likely that CSU Libraries researchers will need to use InterLibrary Loan to access many of the indexed items. So do your research as far in advance as possible!

Hawaii State Archives Digital Collections. Kekauluohi Building, Iolani Palace Grounds, Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Selected material from the site includes:


Genealogy Index
Government Office Holders, 1843-1959
Hawaiian Genealogy Book Index
Land Index - People Names, 1838-1918 (O-Z)\
Land Index - Place Names, 1838-1918 (A, E and U)
Name Index, 1790-1950 (A-Bonnier)
Subject Index, 1790-1970 (A-Airports, Molokai)


Certificates of Registration, National Register of Republic of Hawaii
Mahele Book
Photograph Collection
Tax Ledgers, 1847-1900 (Hamakua & Hilo)
Vital Statistics Collection, 1826-1929 (Molokai, Niihau, Kauai, and Maui)
Vital Statistics Collection, 1826-1929 (Hawaii Island)

 Hawai'ian State Capital

Hoʻolaupaʻi: He ʻOhina Nūpepa ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Nūpepa Collection). ALU LIKE, Inc., Hale Kuamoʻo, and Bishop Museum. 

This is a collection of "historic Hawaiian-language newspapers published between 1834 and 1948. The newspaper images can be retrieved by word search, title, or date." Most are images.

Ka Huli Ao Digitial Archives. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. William S. Richardson School of Law. Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law. 

Roughly 300,000 images of historic documents. Browse Kingdom of Hawai'i, Provisional Government/Republic of Hawai'i, and Territory of Hawai'i (the first one of interest to the subject of this Web page). Search function allows searching of text, title, author, and subject. Much has been transcribed to text. Minutes sometimes include Hawaiian language.

Online Data. Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. Honolulu Hawaii. 

Online resources that cover Hawai'i and the Pacific region. Includes the "Government & Governance" digital initiative which has 50 full-text primary resources. The page also covers the Natural Sciences.

Cultural Sciences

Reference and Other Online Resources

Web page author note: if you ever find yourself in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Bishop Museum is well worth a visit!

Papakiolo Database. Office of Hawaiian Affairs. 

An "ongoing development of a cutting edge and comprehensive 'Database of Databases' consisting of varied collections of data pertaining to historically and culturally significant places, events, and documents in Hawai'i’s history." Special characters are readily available for the searcher. A few items are digitized and available to the long-distance user. Other items can only be seen on sight in a Hawaii location. Newspapers, primary sources, secondary sources with primary source images in them, and much more. Formats include PDF, HTML, image, etc.

Ruling Chiefs of Hawaii. Revised Edition. S.M. Kamakau Ulukau: The Hawaiian Electronic Library. 

Book is arranged chapter by chapter. Look in index to identify potential locations of interest.

Ulukau. Online Hawaiian Database. 

Find digitized items about Hawai'i that cover a broad spectrum of topics. Default language on search page is Hawaiian.

Indexes and Abstracts

Identify articles by topic in these sources (these indexes are Step 1 of how to find articles).   Some indexes have citations only and others have full text materials. Do multiple searches using different terms.

America, History & Life. 1954- . AHLonline via Articles & Databases tab. Only six CSU users at a time.
Z 1236 .A48 Reference (1954-1994).  America: History & Life is a useful index for identifying articles and books. Search by subject these and other terms:

  • Eminent domain Hawaii
  • Hawaii Description & travel
  • Hawaii History
  • Hawaii History 19th century
  • Hawaii History To 1893
  • Hawaii King & rulers
  • Hawaii politics & government
  • Hawaii Religion
  • Hawaii Social conditions 19th century
  • Law Hawaii History
  • Missions, American Hawaii
  • Missions Hawaii

 Queen Lili-uokalani  Father Damien
Statues outside the Hawai'i State Capital Building, Honolulu, HI

Historical Abstracts. 1954- . Only six CSU users at a time. Printed version D 299 .H5 Reference (covers history in years 1775-1945).  Search by subject: Hawaii

Humanities Index. 1974-March 1999. AI 3 .I495 Reference. 

Abstracting for core journals in the humanities, including many history titles.

JSTOR. For the most part, articles at least 3-5 years old. CSU affiliates only. 

Full text articles from broad range of subject areas, including history. Search for words in title, author, abstract, or full text. You may want to select area(s) of journals to complete a search. (E.g. History.) A search for Sandwich Islands brings up over 4300 results. Hawaii brings up over 170,000. Doing a search with OR brings up over 173,000 items so there are items that are findable only with the earlier name in the database.

Project MUSE. Various starting dates. CSU affiliates only. 

Articles (and books) from the humanities and social sciences, including over forty history journals. CSU does not have full-text access to all of them. Limit to journal articles if not seeking book reviews. Scroll up to see the NEXT page link.

Academic Search Premier. Various starting dates. CSU affiliates only. 

Search Hawaii by subject and narrow by adding AND 19th century.

See also The History Cooperative. You must be on a CSU computer to access reviews (or via your own library's computer--if it has purchased access). CSU affiliates may validate remotely via one of the title's record. Otherwise you will not be able to see the reviews.

purple lillies at the Dole Plantation Lillies at the Dole Plantation

Newspaper Articles

Newspaper Articles

New York Times Historical. 1851-2011. 

"Hawaii" first appears in 1852: "Volcanic Eruption at the Sandwich Islands" and there are follow-up articles about it. A Jun. 14, 1852 article includes: "At a recent session of the Hawaiian Parliament, a resolution was offered expressing the disapprobation of the House upon the reports in circulation abroad, to the effect that the people of that kingdom were desirous of coming under the American Government, and calling for an inquire as to the source from which such reports have emanated." When the date range is narrowed to 1852-1869 there are 118 results. The same time period contains 1593 results for "Sandwich Islands" (58 items have both terms). Thorough researchers with thereby search both "Sandwich Islands" and "Hawaii."

Times Digital Archives [London]. 1785-2008. Also 19th Century Newspapers

Find an article in the Times from 1792 about the Sandwich Islands. 19th Century American newspapers have articles (including letters from correspondents) published in 1806, 1809, 1813 and later years. There are over 5100 items that have the term in them. Starting in 1823 there is an article that references Hawaii ("Chiefs of Hawaii") within a "Sandwich Islands" search result. When Hawaii is searched independently, there are over 12,700 results as a keyword the first one from 1826; there are over 58,000 results from searching Hawaii in entire documents; the first the same article published in 1823 (the first five listed articles are "false drops" because the scanning software picked up items that did not say "Hawaii" at all). Thorough researchers with thereby search both "Sandwich Islands" and "Hawaii" in these databases .

United States Primary Sources

United States (Primary Sources)

See additional primary sources that may have items of interest in this section of the United States of America (History) page.

American Memory. Library of Congress. 

Search for American images by people, places time, topics, and events.  Excellent resource for primary research documents. over 700 items come up after a search for Hawaii.

American State Papers, 1789-1838. CSU affiliates only. 

Government materials. Shows scanned images of printed materials. View page by page.

Serial Set: U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1980. CSU affiliates only. 

Government materials. Shows scanned images of printed materials. View page by page.

Early American Imprints. Series I Evans 1639-1800. CSU affiliates only. .

See also the Early American Imprints Supplement, 1670-1800. Readex.  Search Hawaii to find 22 items in Series I (although not all are relevant), including journals of Captain Cook's voyages.

Forgiveness spot and watchers on Kona Island, Hawai'i.

Articles of Interest

Articles of Interest

Most of these article links are available to CSU affiliates (CSU Libraries has subscriptions to multiple JSTOR journals) and those with JSTOR access through their own libraries.

Author Information

Content: Naomi Lederer


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