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In the 1500s, Maui was a place where wars ensued and battles took place in hopes of gaining control of the island. White men began arriving on the island in the late 1700s. And when they got there, it quickly became their favorite place. All kinds of Hawaiian kings, missionaries, and farmers started flocking to the island and started developing the land. Up until the early part of the 1900s, the island was an amazing place. Whalers were setting up shop there, merchants were starting business, and missionaries were building churches. But by the beginning of the 1900s, the island became obscure. That was until about the 1960s, when tourists started visiting the island and making it a favorite island to visit.
Captain Cook is the one who is given official credit for discovering Maui. At the time King Kahekili was ruling Maui. But right after Captain Cook arrived, Kamehameha gained control of all the islands of Hawaii and made it under one rule.
In recent years, it was the construction of the Pioneer Hotel in 1901 that brought on the first inklings of the great things to come on the island in the tourism realm. Despite the downfall of Maui during this time, some farmers continued to use the land on the island to grow mainly sugar cane. The town of Paia became the dominant town on Maui because of the places for plantation workers to stay and live. Once air travel became the prevalent way of travel to the Hawaiian islands in the late 1950s and 1960s, tourists started flocking to Maui along with the other islands. Today, Maui is certainly seeing its better days. Its towns are very much developed and are doing what they can to attract tourism and farmers, the two main industries on the island. Today, Maui is the second most frequently visited Hawaiian island, next to Oahu.
Most of the island today is owned by large private owners and developers. The second largest owner of land on the island are small private owners, including people who live on the island. The state also owns much of the land, as does the federal government.