Why did the Hawaiians kill James Cook

The great British explorer was murdered by locals in Hawaii on February 14, 1779. At this point in time, Cook visited the archipelago in the Pacific for the third time.

About a year earlier, in January 1778, he was probably the first European to set foot on the island. Cook and his crew were originally given a very warm welcome by the Hawaiians. They were fascinated by the ships of the Europeans and their use of iron. Cook bought new supplies for his ship by trading in metal. His sailors, in turn, exchanged the iron nails for sexual acts. When the ship was loaded again, the sailors set out north to find the end of the Northwest Passage where the North Atlantic meets the Pacific.


Almost a year later, Cook's ships returned to the Hawaiian Islands and found accommodation in Kealakekua Bay. It is believed that the Hawaiians attributed religious significance to the Europeans' first visit to their island. With the second visit, this thought became even stronger: Kealakekua Bay was seen as the sacred port of Lono, the fertility god of the islanders. When Cook arrived, the locals were celebrating a festival in honor of Lono.


The dizziness is exposed


Thereupon Cook and his men were worshiped as gods, which they exploited in their favor over the coming months. However, when one of the crew members suddenly died, the Europeans were exposed as mortals and the relationship with the locals suddenly tightened. On February 4, 1779, the ships set sail from Kealakekua Bay, but the stormy sea damaged the ship's forward mast and the expedition was forced to return to the mainland. The Hawaiians then greeted the ship's crew by throwing stones at them.


The situation escalates


Negotiations with King Kalaniopuu came to an abrupt end when a local tribal chief was shot dead and a mob attacked Cook's men. The captain and his sailors fired at the angry Hawaiians but were soon overwhelmed. Only a few men escaped. Captain Cook was killed by the pack. A few days later, the British retaliated by firing their cannons on the coast. About 30 Hawaiians lost their lives as a result. The ships eventually returned to England.