Trans-Pacific Travel


Approximately 400 A.D.: Hawaii’s first inhabitants came from the Marquesas Islands sailed to Hawaii in canoes.

January 20, 1778: In the first known European contact with the Native Hawaiians, Captain James Cook and Captain Charles Clerke sailed to Waimea, Kauai, in what were probably the first foreign ships seen by the Native Hawaiians: the Resolution and the Discovery.

September 29, 1819: The first whale ships in Hawaii, the Balena (or Balaena) from New Bedford, Massachusetts and Equator from Newburyport, Massachusetts; arrived at Kealakekua Bay, Big Island.

1835: The first steamer in Hawaii, the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Beaver, arrived in Honolulu Harbor, but by sail and not by steam, due to its lack of paddle wheels.

May 22, 1846: The Cormorant, the first steamer to actually come by steam to Hawaii, came to Honolulu Harbor.

1855: The Regular Dispatch Line began shipping passengers and cargo through its scheduled sailing packet service Hawaii and the mainland United States.

1864: The Hawaiian Packet Line joined the Regular Dispatch Line in offering scheduled sailing packet service between Hawaii and the mainland, and those two lines combined had six vessels transporting cargo and passengers.

1866: With its steamer Ajax, California Steam Navigation Company started to offer regular trans-Pacific passenger and cargo service. However, the company stopped after two profitless journeys.

September 1867: The California, Oregon, and Mexico Steamship Company’s ship, SS Idaho, offered the first permanent scheduled steamer service between San Francisco and Honolulu.

October 29, 1881: King Kalakaua returned from his nine-month trip as the first monarch in the world to travel around the globe. He traveled through the continental United States, Europe, Southeast Asia , and East Asia. Kalakaua met heads of states including U.S. President Chester A. Arthur, Queen Victoria of England, Pope Leo XIII, and the Emperor of Japan.

August 31-September 10, 1925: Commander John Rodgers and his four crew members made the first flight from the continental United States to Hawaii, flying from San Pablo Bay, California in a two-engine PN-9 Navy seaplane. Due to the plane’s lack of fuel, the plane landed in the sea 300 miles from Maui and floated to Ahukini Harbor, Kauai.

March 21, 1927: John Rodgers Airport, the first official civilian airfield in Hawaii, is dedicated. It will eventually be renamed Honolulu International Airport and become one of the busiest airports in the United States with over 21 million passengers per year.

June 28-29, 1927: Lieutenant Lester J. Maitland and Lieutenant Albert F. Hegeberger made the first complete flight from the West Coast of the continental United States to Hawaii, when they flew a U.S. Army Fokker C-2 3 Wright 220 tri-motor, Bird of Paradise, from Oakland, California to Wheeler Field, Hawaii.

May 31-June 10, 1928: In a Fokker tri-motor, Charles Kingsford-Smith and his three crew members accomplished the first complete crossing of the Pacific by air, when they flew from Oakland, California to Wheeler Field, Hawaii; Suva, Fiji; Brisbane, Australia; and Sydney, Australia; respectively.

Mid-October-November 3, 1934: Kingsford-Smith and Patrick Gordon Taylor did another complete crossing of the Pacific, but this time flew eastward. Their single-engine Lockheed Altair, Lady Southern Cross, flew from Brisbane, Australia to Suva, Fiji, Wheeler Field, Hawaii, and Oakland, California. The last leg of the trip was the first eastbound flight from Hawaii to the continental United States.

April 16, 1935: A Pan American Airways seaplane made the first commercial airline flight, taking 17 hours and 14 minutes to fly from San Francisco, California to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

November 22-23, 1935: A Pan American Airways Martin M-130 four-engine flying boat, China Clipper, starts scheduled air mail and passenger service between the West Coast and Hawaii.

July 29, 1959: Qantas Empire Airways started the first commercial jet aircraft service in Hawaii, with a flight that linked Sydney, Australia; Nadi, Fiji; Honolulu, Hawaii; and San Francisco, California, with a Boeing 707 aircraft.

1976: The Hokulea, a replica of a Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe (waʻa kaulua), made its first successful trip to Tahiti with Polynesian navigation techniques. This voyage proved that the Polynesians, particularly the Hawaiians, deliberately sailed through the Pacific Ocean using celestial navigation, rather than passively drifting to their destinations. The success further fueled Native Hawaiian pride and the Hawaiian Renaissance.

Suggested Search Terms

In the field with the phrase, enter the query “shipping news” and select Hawaii in the Select State(s) list box, for the shipping news columns.

Articles From Chronicling America

Alameda Makes Round Trip in Continuous Rain Shower
San Francisco call, February 17, 1904, Page 14

“All Help to Boost Hawaii”
Evening bulletin, December 8, 1910, 2:30 EDITION, Image 7

“Circled Globe Five Times”
Evening bulletin, August 20, 1910, 3:30 EDITION, Image 1

“Cruisers Will Steam to Honolulu at Full Speed”
The Hawaiian gazette. (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii]) 1865-1918, August 06, 1909, Image 5

“Delayed Two Hours, Pacific Fleet Sails”
Evening bulletin, September 10, 1908, 2:30 EDITION, Image 1

“Nile Will Be A Favorite With Trans-Pacific Travelers”
Evening bulletin, March 16, 1912, 3:30 EDITION, Image 2

“Oceanic Steamer Sonoma Arrives From San Francisco”
Honolulu republican, January 2, 1902, Page 2

“Steamer Sierra Arrives in Port After Very Rough Trip”
Honolulu republican, January 22, 1902, Image 2

“Transport Line for Hawaii Is Plan”
Hawaiian gazette, June 10, 1913, Image 1

– Alice Kim


One Comment on “Trans-Pacific Travel”

  1. […] Read more about how people Hawaii traveled in “Trans-Pacific Travel.” […]

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