据说,最早到达夏威夷的中国人是Felice和Iphigenia船上的中国船员，这两艘船曾于1788年抵达Honolulu港.但最早的中国移民是在1852年才到达的.当时有293名中国契约劳工来到“Fragrant Tree Country”，按合同在种植园做五年苦工，每月工钱3美元.有些人在合同期满后又回到了中国，但大多数人留了下来.他们和当地夏威夷人成了婚，用他们的血汗钱在Nuuanu河口附近盖起店铺.
Around 1860 a number of the Chinese who had left the plantations began to open small businesses in an area of Honolulu known as Chinatown. These businesses were mostly small shops specializing in specific trades such as grocers, jewelers, bakers and tailors, as well as the restaurant trade.
Today, Chinatown is a triangle shaped area in Honolulu bordered by Nuuanu Avenue on the east, N. Beretania Street on the north, and S. King Street forming the diagonal. It is an area that has seen much history since the late 1800's.
Within a period of 4 years, two major fires struck Chinatown. The first was in 1886 and the second in 1900. The 1900 fire was deliberately set, officially, to burn out rats which had brought bubonic plague to Honolulu. However, the fire got out of control and the entire district was virtually destroyed. There are those who believe that, in fact, the fire was intended to destroy the area and with it the economic threat of the Chinese businesses.
From Chinese in Hawaii, John Fischer, http://gohawaii.about.com/mbiopage.htm
The Chinese in Hawaii constitute about 4.7% of the state's population, most of whom (75%) have ancestors from Zhongshan* in Guangdong. This number does not include people of mixed Chinese and Hawaiian descent. If all people with Chinese ancestry in Hawaii (including the Chinese-Hawaiians) are included, they form about 1/3 of Hawaii's entire population.
* a town just to the north of Macau in Gunagdong Province, originally named Xiangshan (香山) but changed to Zhongshan (中山) in honor of Sun Yat Sen.
Historical records indicated that the earliest immigration of the Chinese came from Guangdong province: a few sailors in 1778 with Captain Cook, more in 1788 with Kaina, and some in 1789 with an American trader who settled in Hawaii in the late 18th century.
By 1790, a handful of Chinese lived on the island of Oahu, including the 1789 group. They lived together with the chief Kamehameha the Great. Because these Chinese men had not brought any Chinese women with them, they intermarried with Hawaiian women. They became assimilated and created Chinese-Hawaiian surnames like Akaka, Ahina, etc, in which words of Chinese origin are pronounced with a soft Hawaiian tone.
Most of the Chinese immigrants to Hawaii arrived in the mid-to-late 19th century, when 46,000 people immigrated to the islands. Although many came as laborers, they concentrated on getting education for their children. By 1950 most Chinese American men in Hawaii were educated and held good jobs. Today 95% of Chinese Americans in Hawaii live in Honolulu and work at professional jobs.