Captain James Cook was a British explorer and navigator who became the first European to make contact with the lands of Australia and New Zealand. He was also the first Westerner to have sighted the islands of Hawaii. He landed on the island, specifically at the mouth of Waimea River on January 20, 1778. On the sport where he landed, Captain Cook?s monument was erected to commemorate Cook?s role in Hawaii and in the history of navigation and exploration.
It is believed that the land where Cook landed has since grown because of deposition of sediments, thus the exact spot is unknown. Regardless, the monument marker was erected at the suspected spot. The site was declared a National Historic Landmark on December 29, 1962. Across the Waimea river is the Russian Fort Elizabeth, which serves as a State Park.