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The island of Hawaii dates back to around 300 BC when Polynesians first arrived from other islands, notably from Tahiti. The islands remained uncharted by the rest of the world until 1778 when the great explorer, captain James Cook from England discovered them and unfittingly named them the Sandwich Islands after the Earl of Sandwich.
The English were not the only foreigners interested in the beautiful islands. The Chinese arrived in 1789, but it was the Polynesisans who remained in control. The great King Kamehameha brought all of the Hawaiian islands together under his rule in 1810.
Foreigners continued coming to the islands: Japanese, Americans, Portuguese, Koreans. Conditions were greatly changed for the islands however, in 1959 when Hawaii became a state, and shortly thereafter, tourism began to increase.
Today, Hilo is Hawaii's second biggest city after Honolulu. Because of the great amount of rain the city receives, it has never rivaled Honolulu for the tourist dollar. But, luckily, because of this, Hilo has been able to save early island architecture, culture, and charm. The University campus at Hilo keeps the city young and alive, and the airport, access to waterfalls and Volcano National Park keep tourists coming.