The Hawaiian islands were formed by a volcanic hotspot beginning about 28 million years ago. After volcanic activity formed Maui Nui (“Greater Maui”) a combination of rising sea water and subsidence of the islands led to the form of the present island of Maui about 200,000 years ago.
Maui, like the other Hawaiian islands, was settled by the Polynesians between 300 and 800 AD. Many chieftains established control over portions of these fertile islands. The first independent sovereign of Maui was Prince Maui-Loa who after many battles established his rule over all Maui. Maui-Loa ceded the Hana area to his uncle Prince Haho, King of the island of Hawai’i, who had assisted Maui-Loa in establishing his supremacy. Maui-Loa took the title Mo’i, Ruler of Maui, and designated Lahaina as the capital of his kingdom.