Why is ukulele tuned as it is? I play violin and have started the tenor uke to play chords and such. But I am so used to the order of the violin tuning that the uke seems like chaos.
The ukulele is an instrument descended from the Portuguese style of guitar playing, with ancestors like the rajuo and machete de braça. The string tuning represents the dexterity of Portuguese guitar music- the player was able to play both the melody line and a harmonic accompaniment at the same time. This type of tuning, where the strings are not in pitch order is called reentrant tuning and was present in plucked strings from the Baroque period. Other instruments which use reentrant tuning include the 10-string guitar and banjo. As seen in this picture, the ukulele's body shape is very close to that of a machete de braça. (its tuning of GCEA is closer to the rajuo's tuning of DGCEA.
The answer below might also be helpful:
What is the practical reason for reentrant tuning on ukulele and similar instruments?
Hope this answered your question!