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Protestant missionaries arrive

The first missionaries to arrive in the Islands were Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Dutch Reformists from New England. Sailing in the Thaddeus, 14 missionaries (seven mission couples) and four Hawaiian boys left Boston, funded by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. They arrived in Hawai'i after 164 days. During the time they were at sea, Kamehameha I had died, his son Liholiho had become ruler, and the ancient kapu system had been abolished, with no alternative belief system provided to take its place. The Thaddeus stopped first at Kawaihae and Kailua on Hawai'i island in search of the king. The missionaries were not given immediate permission from Liholiho to settle. Instead, he placed them under probation and monitored them closely. Reverend Hiram Bingham established mission headquarters in Honolulu on land assigned to them by the king and chiefs and the company quickly set about establishing a written form for the Hawaiian language. They were the first to give the spoken Hawaiian language a consistent written form and set up the first island printing press at the Mission Houses in Honolulu. Succeeding companies of missionaries arrived in Hawai'i up through the mid-19th century, heavily influencing changes in Hawaiian society as well as developments in education, organization of government and entrepreneurism.

 Sites for further information

"Kamehameha Dynasty Confronts World of Change: The arrivals of missionaries and traders bring new diseases and religion that overturn old taboos" (Star-Bulletin)

"Religious hope, hardships fuel missionary lives" (Star-Bulletin)

"Arrival of New Religion: Missionaries come to Hawaii" (National Park Service)

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