Size: 597 Square Miles
Length: 44 Miles
Width: 30 Miles
Coastline: 120 Miles
Main Airport: Kahului Aiport (OGG)
Mileage and Drive Time From Kahului Airport:
Hana: 53 miles. 2.5 hrs.
Kaanapali: 31 miles. 50 min.
Kapalua: 38 miles. 1 hr.
Kihei: 9 miles. 20 min.
Lahaina: 27 miles. 45 min.
Makena: 19 miles. 40 min.
Maalaea: 13 miles. 35 min.
Wailuku: 6 miles. 10 min.
Like all the Hawaiian Islands, Maui is blessed by warm air temperatures year-round, and ocean waters that range from 72-77 degrees F in winter to 77-81 degrees in summer. The island's distance from other continents, the moderating effects of the surrounding water, and the tropical location combine to create this pleasant climate. Hawaii's topography, particularly the mountains and valleys and location of each island, contributes to the great variety of microclimates within very small areas.
Polynesians, from Tahiti and the Marquesas, were the original peoples to populate Maui. The Tahitians introduced the kapu system, a strict social order that affected all aspects of life and became the core of Hawaiian culture. Modern Hawaiian history began in the mid-1700s. King Kamehameha I took up residence (and later made his capital) in Lāhainā after conquering Maui in 1790, during the Battle of Kepaniwai.
On November 26, 1778, Captain James Cook became the first European explorer to discover Maui. Cook never set foot on the island because he was unable to find a suitable landing. The first European to visit Maui was the French admiral Jean Fran�ois de Galaup de La Perouse, who landed on the shores of what is now known as La Perouse Bay on May 29, 1786. More Europeans followed: traders, whalers, loggers (e.g., of sandalwood) and missionaries. The missionaries began to arrive from New England in 1823, choosing Lahaina because it was the capital. They clothed the natives, banned them from dancing hula, and greatly altered the culture. They tried to keep whalers and sailors out of the bawdy houses. The missionaries taught reading and writing, created the 12-letter Hawaiian alphabet, started a printing press in Lahaina, and began writing the islands' history, which until then existed only as oral accounts. Ironically, the work of the missionaries both altered and preserved the native culture. The religious work altered the culture while the literacy efforts preserved native history and language for posterity. They started the first school in Lahaina, which still exists today: Lahainaluna Mission School. The Mission school opened in 1831 and was the first secondary school to open west of the Rocky Mountains.
At the height of the whaling era (1840-1865), Lahaina was a major whaling center with anchorage in Lahaina Roads; in one season over 400 ships visited Lahaina and the greatest number of ships berthed at one time was about 100. A given ship tended to stay months rather than days which explains the drinking and prostitution in the town at that time. Whaling declined steeply at the end of the 19th century as crude oil (petroleum) replaced whale oil.
Kamehameha's descendants reigned in the islands until 1872. They were followed by rulers from another ancient family of chiefs, including Queen Liliuokalani who ruled in 1893 when the monarchy was overthrown. One year later, the Republic of Hawaii was founded. The island was annexed by the United States in 1898 and made a territory in 1900.