Hawaii, obviously, is the native name for the island state. Havaiki in the Marquesan tongue is the mythical homeland of the Polynesians. The Marquesans were likely the ones who first settled on the islands and brought the name with them.
In 1778, Captain James Cook was the first European to visit the islands. He dubbed them the Sandwich Islands, after the Earl of Sandwich. Yes, he of culinary fame fame was also the First Lord of the Admiralty and a sponsor of Cook’s voyage.1
1Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, edited by Philip Babcock Gove (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1993), 1040;
Illustrated Dictionary of Place Names, edited by Kelsie B. Harder (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1976), 227.
Copyright 1997-2015, by David Wilton