Ukulele History

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Jackie Berger, Editor

Believe it or not, the ukulele was originally known as the machete and was first developed in the Maderia Islands of Portugal. There are many different legends on how the ukulele gained its name, but we cannot prove any of them. It was later introduced to Hawaii in 1879. Augusto Dias, Manuel Nunes, and Jose do Espirito Santo are said to have been the first makers of the Hawaiian ukulele. Dias, Nunes, and Santo originally moved to the islands to work in sugarcane fields. Some of the most famous ukulele players today include Jake Shimabukuro, Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, and Grace Vanderwaal.