Maui is the second biggest island of the Hawaiian Islands and is the seventeenth largest island in the United States. The island covers an area of seven hundred and twenty-seven square miles and has a population of over one hundred and seventeen thousand residents, making it the third most populous of the Hawaiian Islands. The biggest town on Maui is Kahului and it has a population of just over twenty thousand residents. Other towns of interest on Maui include Kapalua, Kula, Kihei, Lahaina, Paia, Makawao, Kaanapali, Hana and Haiku. The climate of the island is base upon a two season year with mild temperatures, high humidity and dominant trade wind flow.
The history of Maui can be attributed to the settlement of the island by the Polynesians in the fifth century. This settlement was then followed by two more successive waves of settlers which include people from Marquesas and Tahiti. The Tahitian settlers brought key elements of to the language, culture and customs of Hawaii. Up until the fifteenth century, the island was divided into three distinct chiefdoms. These include Wailuku, Lahaina and Hana. By the middle of the sixteenth century, these three kingdoms were joined together into the unified kingdom of Maui. During the eighteenth century, wars developed between the King of Maui and the other islands and soon all of Hawaii was under his control. It was during this time that Europeans first made contact with the island. In November of 1778, Capt. James Cook was the first non native to lay eyes on the island.
He never landed, however because of his inability to find a suitable landing point. The first European to set foot on the island was the French Admiral Jean Francois de Galaup. He landed at La Perouse Bay in 1786. All during the nineteenth century the island received a steady influx of visitors. This wasn’t such good news for the residents of Maui because they had no immunity against the diseases that were brought to the island by these visitors. Over half the population of the island was decimated due to diseases such as influenza, cholera, typhoid fever, smallpox and measles. So many native residents died, the Hawaiian political system fell apart and the Europeans stepped in to fill the vacuum.
One of Maui’s most popular destinations is the Wo Hing Society Hall that is located in Lahaina City. It was founded in the early twentieth century and was used as a place of worship by the local Asian population that lived in the city. As the Asian population slowly decreased after World War II, the build was left in a state of neglect. During the 1980s it was rediscovered and was put on Hawaii’s Register of Historic Places. The following year, a complete restoration was performed on the building. Eventually, it was opened up to the public as a museum. The Wo Hing Society Hall Museum contains two distinct parts. The first part consists of a cook house and two floors. The second part contains a Guan Ti Altar, Asian relics and a Taoist altar. Inside the cook house is a theater that often shows films that were taken by the inventor Thomas Edison during his visit to the island.
Another prominent attraction is Haleakala Crater. This attraction is a shield volcano crater that is located in the city of Kihei, though the remainder of it makes up about seventy-five percent of the island. The name “Haleakala” is a traditional Hawaiian phrase that translates to ‘House of the Rising Sun’ in English. The crater measure two miles wide, twenty-six hundred feet deep and is seven miles long. Around the circumference of the volcano is Haleakala National Park. Haleakala National Park covers an area of thirty thousand acres and its major features include Kipahulu, Summit Area and Wilderness Area.
Kapalua is another attraction that draws a lot of visitors to the island. Kapalua is a resort town that was founded by the Maui Land & Pineapple Company. It is bordered by Honolua Bay to the north and Kapalua Bay to the south. It covers an area of two square miles and has a population of about five hundred residents. Accommodations in the town are provided for by several different hotels and rental properties. These are the Ritz Carlton, Kapalua Villa, Ritz Carlton Club and Kapalua Luxury Homes. The town also contains two golf courses; Plantation Course and Bay Course. Every January, Plantation Course is home to the SBS Championship of the PGA Tour. Kapalua also has several beautiful beaches. These beaches include D.T. Fleming Beach, Oneloa Bay, Honolua Bay and Kapalua Bay.