On January 19th 1778 Captain James Cook discovered the Hawaiian Islands. Of course, they had been discovered prior to then, as they were already inhabited, but Cook was the first European to visit them.
This was the third voyage of exploration commanded by Captain Cook, and the intent was to try and discover the Northwest Passage. Cook commanded the HMS Resolution and was accompanied by Clerke's HMS Discovery, both of which set sail in 1776 from Plymouth.
Captain Cook named the archipelago the Sandwich Islands, after the fourth Earl of Sandwich, who was the acting First Lord of the Admiralty, and claimed them for the crown.
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