Archaeologists Date Prehistoric Temples in Hawaii to establish origins of First Kingdom

Archaeologists Date Prehistoric Temples in Hawaii to establish origins of First Kingdom

The prehistoric religious temples of Hawaii are being dated by researchers with the help of small sea creatures.

Indigenous temples of Hawaii, known as heiau, can be found across the islands. Dr. Patrick Kirch of the University of California at Berkeley and colleagues have been studying these temples to determine when exactly the native peoples first united under a single ruler, after generations of living under multiple smaller chiefdoms. Establishing a timeline will give historians and archaeologists a better understanding of the origins of Hawaii’s first kingdom.

To do this the researchers first examined the temples, which consist of small shrines and the ruins of larger monuments, and then analyzed the contents found within, specifically on the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui.

A depiction of a royal heiau (Hawaiian temple) at Tiritatéa Bay (now Kealakekua Bay). Illustration circa 1816.

According to science news website Western Digs , Kirch says the temple sites have remained mostly untouched over time, noting “[Maui] is one of the few places in the Hawaiian islands where the archaeological landscape of an entire ancient district is still intact, not disturbed either by plantation agriculture or modern tourism or housing developments.” This preservation allowed the research team to access the various types of temples and locate the sea creatures they’re looking for: stony coral branches called Pocillopora meandrina, or Cauliflower coral.

Pocillopora meandrina coral in natural habitat, Hawaii. Wikimedia, ( CC BY SA 2.0 )

Kirch explains that temple creation was an important part of ensuring political consolidation by the chiefs. Ancient rulers of Hawaii increased religious authority by building temples and shrines and bolstering the importance of both. This allowed them to “wield economic and political authority,” writes Western Digs. It is thought that the placement of religious sites near agricultural land created a symbolic connection between the leaders and the gods who were believed responsible for the bounty of food. Due to this increased association, tributes of the harvest would be directed to the leaders more readily.

Hundreds of years ago, the coral were built into the walls of shrines and temples, and were also left as offerings on altars. "We do not know the exact ideology behind this, but there are hints in Hawaiian traditions that the corals may have represented the god Kane — the god of flowing waters, irrigation, and the taro plant — or possibly the god Lono, the god of dryland farming and the sweet potato," explains Kirch.

Hawaiian Sweet Potato God, possibly a depiction of Lono. Wikimedia, ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

A study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science by Kirch and colleagues reports that the team analyzed coral remains found at 26 different temples sites. Previous studies had radiocarbon dated the charcoal from the temples, and results suggested construction dated between the years 1400 and 1650. However, Kirch and team recently tested the coral from the sites to determine uranium levels, instead of radiocarbon dating. Observing the predictable decay rates of the uranium levels in the coral gives scientists a more precise dating system, with smaller margins for error.

Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora meandrina).

Based on the new findings from the coral found at the Maui Island temples, it is believed that a surge of religious construction in ancient Hawaii occurred within a relatively short period of time, beginning in 1550 A.D. and continuing until 1700 A.D. This determination corresponds with the historical understandings of the area. The study abstract offers that this dating matches closely with "the reigns of Maui rulers credited in Hawaiian traditions with establishing and strengthening the first island-wide polity, and underscores the importance of monumental ritual architecture in the emergence of archaic states in ancient Hawai'i."

Hawaiian deity figure, possibly the God of canoe carvers.

These new discoveries shed light on the ancient power structures of the island culture, and how that power came to be centralized. And even though the original temple structures are no more, thanks to the Cauliflower coral researchers now have a richer understanding of the potential motivations, practices, and everyday lives of the people who lived there.

Featured Image: One side of Puʻukohola Heiau, a Hawaiian temple used as a place of worship and sacrifice. Wikimedia, Bamse/GFDL

By Liz Leafloor

The tides have revealed a gallery of petroglyphs on a beach in Hawaii that experts say have never been recorded before.

The glyphs are pecked into the sandstone floor of the beach at Waianae, on the western coast of Oahu, which is typically covered with a thick blanket of sand.

But in late July, tourists arrived at the beach to find the bedrock exposed and the rock festooned with a series of human-shaped figures, their feet pointing toward the ocean.

Most of the petroglyphs are about a third of a meter (about 1 foot) tall, but at least one is 1.5 meters (5 feet) in length.

U.S. Army archaeologist Alton Exzabe, who was called to the site to survey it, said that the glyphs have likely been exposed before, thanks to similarly random acts of time and tide, but they’ve never been recorded before by scientists. The largest of the glyphs depicts a nearly-life-size person with articulated fingers and toes. (Photo courtesy Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources)

“What’s exciting for me is, I grew up coming to this beach, and now as an archaeologist working for the Army, helping to manage this site, we discovered these petroglyphs that have never been recorded,” said Exzabe, in a press statement.

“Some people have said they’ve seen them before, but this is quite a significant find.”

At least 17 petroglyphs have been discovered so far, spanning more than 18 meters (60 feet) of sandstone.

The most salient of the glyphs is a nearly-life-size anthropomorph, complete with articulated fingers and toes.

“The ones with the fingers, for me, are pretty unique,” Exzabe said.

“I believe there are some elsewhere with fingers, but fingers and hands are pretty distinct, as well as the size of them.

“We find a lot of petroglyphs that are a foot or so tall, but this one measures four to five feet from head to toe. It’s pretty impressive.”

Exzabe added that this kind of find is a first for military property on the island.

“The Army in Hawaiʻi manages several thousand archaeological sites, but this is the first one with petroglyphs directly on the shoreline,” he said.

However, similar beach-bench petroglyphs have been found elsewhere on Oahu and throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

In 2014, a freak winter storm brought on by El Niño revealed a series of petroglyphs etched into the volcanic bedrock at Waimea, on Oahu’s North Shore. [See the briefly-exposed glyphs: “Monster Surf Exposes Rare Petroglyphs in Hawaii“]

There, more than 70 images were found, mostly of humans and dogs. And although that rock art had been recorded before, it hadn’t been seen since at least 2010.

By contrast, even locals at Waianae do not appear to have been aware of the newly-recorded petroglyphs there.

Glen Kila is a descendant of the first inhabitants of Nene’u, a beach settlement just north of the site, and he, too, was unfamiliar with the rock art gallery that appeared just a short walk from his house.

At least 17 petroglyphs depicting human forms have been discovered on the beach. (Photo courtesy Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources)

He added that the significance of such glyphs is best understood by the cultural group that made them.

“These petroglyphs can only be interpreted by the lineal descendants who are familiar with its history and culture,” Kila said, in the same press statement.

“It’s very important to know about the lineal descendants of the area and their understanding of these petroglyphs.”

Regarding the meaning of the images, he said: “They record our genealogy and religion.” [Learn about recent finds from Hawaii’s ancient history: “Prehistoric Temples on Maui Reveal Origins of Island’s First Kingdom“]

Archaeologists believe Native Hawaiian petroglyphs, known as kii pohaku, have served many functions, from telling stories, to providing directions to passersby, to commemorating significant local events.

And the Waianae images were probably carved a century or two before the first European contact with the islands.

According to Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, the glyphs are believed to be about 400 years old. The images span more than 18 meters (60 feet) of sandstone bedrock on the beach. (Photo courtesy Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources)

Given the uniqueness of the Waianae petroglyphs — and the fact that they’re the newest to the archaeological record — Exzabe and his colleagues documented them quickly before the sands returned and obscured them from view once more.

But the state’s historic preservation officer said that his office intends to protect the images so their legacy can remain unspoiled.

“They are an important part of Hawaii’s culture,” said Alan Downer, with Hawaii’s historic preservation office.

“And while sands have covered them again, in time they will reappear, and we want to make sure people know that they are fragile and culturally sensitive and should only be viewed, not touched.”

Archaeologists Date Prehistoric Temples in Hawaii to establish origins of First Kingdom - History

Generally believed to be the first inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands, the Polynesians migrated throughout the Pacific in sailing canoes. The Polynesian migrations most likely began from the islands of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, spreading east, south and north, covering millions of square miles of ocean.

Archaeological evidence combined with the degree of similarity in languages, cultural practices and transported plants indicate that the order of migration was first to the east to the Cook Islands, then on to Tahiti Nui, the Society Islands, the Marquesas islands, Easter Island, Hawaii, and finally south to New Zealand.

The Polynesian Voyaging Society was founded more than 25 years ago with a primary goal of finding out if the canoes and navigational skills were sufficient to intentionally cross the vast distances between the islands.

Since 1975, the Society has built and launched two replicas of ancient sailing canoes - Hokulea and Hawaiiloa - and completed six voyages to the South Pacific to retrace migration routes and recover traditional canoe-building and wayfinding (non-instrument navigation) arts.

Hawaiians regard the voyages as tangible proof of the nautical abilities of their ancestors, and see the canoes as symbols of their heritage as an exploring, pioneering people.

Some historians claim that sometime around the fourth or fifth century A.D., the first planned migrations came from the Marquesas, in extreme eastern Polynesia. For five centuries the Marquesans settled and lived peacefully on the new land - Hawaii. Around 1,200 A.D., the Tahitians arrived and subjugated the settled islanders. Tahitian customs, legends, and language became the Hawaiian way of life.

Traditional Hawaiian society before contact with the outside world was characterized by a complex religious, governmental and cultural system that reflected the harmonious relationship the early Hawaiians had with the natural world. Like all societies, the Hawaiians had a set of rules or laws (kapu) to help guide their people. The Kapu System outlined actions that were appropriate and inappropriate for people of different ranks. For example, in the case of conservation, an alii (chief) could forbid people from eating or using certain plants, animals, or other resources. These restrictions could be for certain people and for certain times of the year. With the aid of kapu, the scarce island resources were protected from over-exploitation.

  • the alii, chiefs who ruled specific territories and who held their positions on the basis of family ties and leadership abilities - the chiefs were thought to be descendants of the gods and the highest chiefs, alii kapu, were considered gods
  • the kahuna, priests or skilled craftspersons that performed important religious ceremonies and served the alii as close advisers
  • the makaainana, commoners (by far the largest group) who raised, stored, and prepared food, built houses and canoes, and performed other daily tasks and
  • the kauwa, outcasts forced to lead lives segregated from the rest of Hawaiian society.

No one knows the origins of the kapu system. Some say the Hawaiians remembered the One Supreme God Io and worshipped him in relative peace until Paao, a high priest and famous navigator, came from Tahiti around A.D. 1300. Fornander writes that prior to the arrival of Paao ". the kapus were few and the ceremonials easy human sacrifices were not practiced and government was more of a patriarchal than of a regal nature."

Many believe the kapu were established as a result of the Tahitian migrations, bringing to Hawaii a system of laws and rituals protecting the mana (spiritual power or energy) which existed in all living things. In part, this was symbolized by the worship of many gods (akua), the four principal ones being: Kane, the God of Life Ku, the God of War Lono, the God of Agriculture and Kanaloa, the God of the Ocean. These gods took many shapes and forms and presided over families of deities. Hawaiians also had ancestral spirits called aumakua. The aumakua were both "guardian angels" and were spirits that could be called upon in times of need.

In its brochure Yesterday and Beyond: Archaeology and Hawaii's Past, the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology (SHA) notes: "Traditional histories tell of illustrious chiefs who led expeditions between 'Kahiki' (possibly Tahiti or elsewhere in eastern Polynesia) and Hawaii around 1200 A.D. - 1400 A.D. These chiefs founded the later ruling dynasties and brought many major rituals and practices to the islands. The archaeological evidence for the Kahiki Connection is as yet inconclusive. However, the fact that major heiau [temple] construction did not begin until after A.D. 1200 lends support to the idea that new rituals were being introduced."

Because the early Hawaiians depended on nature for everything, the kapu system was intimately connected with reverence and respect for the natural world. This Aloha Aina (love of the land) made the kapu system one of the earliest examples of environmental protectionism.

Hawaiian society was turned upside-down with the arrival of the white man in the late 18th century.


Discovery and settlement Edit

The date of the first settlements of the Hawaiian Islands is a topic of continuing debate. [7] Patrick Vinton Kirch's books on Hawaiian archeology, standard textbooks, date the first Polynesian settlements to about 300, with more recent suggestions by Kirch as late as 600. Other theories suggest dates as late as 700 to 800. [7] The most recent survey of carbon-dating evidence puts the arrival of the first settlers at around A.D. 940–1130. [8]

The history of the ancient Polynesians was passed down through genealogy chants that were recited at formal and family functions. The genealogy of the high chiefs could be traced back to the period believed to be inhabited only by gods. The pua aliʻi ("flower of royalty") were considered to be living gods. [9]

By about 1000, settlements founded along the perimeters of the islands were beginning to cultivate food in gardens. [10]

A Tahitian priest named Pā‘ao is said to have brought a new order to the islands around 1200. The new order included new laws and a new social structure that separated the people into classes. The aliʻi nui was the king, with his ʻaha kuhina just below them. The aliʻi were the royal nobles with the kahuna (high priest) below them, the makaʻāinana (commoners) next with the kauā below them as the lowest ranking social caste. [11]

The rulers of the Hawaiian islands (noho aliʻi o ko Hawaiʻi Pae ʻAina) are a line of Native Hawaiians who were independent rulers of various subdivisions of the islands of Hawaii. Their genealogy is traced to Hānalaʻanui and others. [12] The aliʻi nui were responsible for making sure the people observed a strict kapu (a code of conduct relating to taboos). The system had rules regarding many aspects of Hawaiian social order, fishing rights and even where women could eat. After the death of Kamehameha I, the system was abolished, and the Hawaiian religion soon fell as the gods were abandoned. [13]

By 1500 Hawaiians began to spread to the interiors of the islands and religion was more emphasized. [10]

Religion Edit

Religion in Hawaii is much the same as most other Polynesian cultures, with a theology, ritual and a code of conduct. [14] There are many gods and heroes. Wākea, the Sky Father, wed Papahānaumoku, the Earth Mother. From their union came all others, including the other gods. [14]

Hawaiian religion was polytheistic, with four deities most prominent: Kāne, Kū, Lono and Kanaloa. Other notable deities include Laka, Kihawahine, Haumea, Papahānaumoku, and, most famously, Pele. In addition, each family is considered to have one or more guardian spirits or family gods known as ʻaumakua to protect them. [15] One such god is Iolani, the god of aliʻi families. [14]

One breakdown of the Hawaiian pantheon [16] consists of the following groups:

  • four major gods (ka hā) – Kū, Kāne, Lono, Kanaloa
  • forty male gods or aspects of Kāne (ke kanahā)
  • four hundred gods and goddesses (ka lau)
  • a multitude of gods and goddesses (ke kini akua)
  • spirits (na ʻunihipili)
  • guardians (na ʻaumākua)

Another breakdown [17] consists of three major groups:

  • four gods, or akua: Kū, Kāne, Lono, Kanaloa
  • many lesser gods, or kupua, each associated with certain professions
  • guardian spirits, ʻaumakua, associated with particular families

Liloa, Hākau and ʻUmi a Līloa Edit

Liloa Edit

Līloa was a legendary ruler of the island of Hawaii in the late 15th century. [18] His royal compound was in Waipiʻo Valley. His line is traced to Hawaiian "creation". [19]

Līloa had two sons his firstborn Hākau from his wife Pinea, (his mother's sister), and his second son, ʻUmi a Līloa from his lesser ranking wife, Akahi a Kuleana. [20] Upon his death, elevated Hākau as ruler and delegated religious authority to ʻUmi. [21] Akahi a Kuleana was of a lesser line of chiefs who Liloa had fallen in love with when he discovered her bathing in a river. The couple met when Liloa was visiting Hamakua. He claimed his right to her as King and she accepted.

Liloa's Kāʻei is his sacred feathered sash, now kept at the Bishop Museum. [22] : p. 120

Līloa was the first born son of Kiha nui lulu moku, one of the noho aliʻi (ruling elite). He descended from Hāna laʻa nui. [12] [23] Līloa's mother, Waioloa, his grandmother, Neʻula and great grandmother, Laʻa kapu were of the ʻEwa aliʻi lines of Oahu. [12] [21] Liloa's father ruled Hawaii as aliʻi nui and upon his death elevated Līloa. Kiha had had four other sons, Kaunuamoa, Makaoku, Kepailiula and Hoolana, whose descendants are the Kaiakea family of Molokai, distant relatives of Abraham Fornander's daughter. [24]

In his book, David Malo described how Liloa originated the practice of moe āikane, the sexual relationship between males. [25] The relationships had no social stigma and were accepted practice beginning with the aliʻi and then copied by the other classes. Warriors engaged in the practice. The relationships cannot be defined as bisexuality. In many cases the men involved felt it an honor and responsibility to honor their hana lawelawe. [25]

Hākau Edit

Just before his death, Liloa bestowed on Hākau the succession as Chief, telling Umi that he was to serve as his "man" (Prime Minister) and that both were to respect the other and should either have issue with the other it would be for them to decide. At first a decent king, Hākau soon became brutal. To avoid his brother's anger, 'Umi exiled himself to another district.

Hākau refused to help Nunu and Ka-hohe, his father's two favorite, ailing Kahuna who had requested food. This was considered highly insulting. [26] The two were of the priestly class of the god Lono. They resented their treatment and plotted to see the kingdom in someone else's hand. [27] Hākau did not believe the priests to have any power and disrespected them as 'Umi was the spiritual authority [19] This was a period in when no King could defy a Kahuna. Many had a royal bloodline, land and could leave their temples as warriors when needed, but could never relinquish their spiritual responsibilities. [28] Through a messenger of Kaoleioku, of Waipunalei, the high-priest of the temple of Manini, at Koholalele the two priests contacted Umi's court. The two priests traveled to Waipunalei where they supported Umi's revolt. [19]

When Hākau received news that his brother was preparing to war against him, he sent his main forces out to immediately prepare by seeking feathers to adorn their war regalia. After the men had left and Hākau was undefended, Umi's men came forward with a deception that they were there with bundles of offerings for the king. When the bundles were dropped to the ground they were filled with rocks they used to stone Hākau to death.

ʻUmi-a-Līloa Edit

ʻUmi-a-Līloa was a ruling aliʻi ai moku (district high chief of Hawai'i). He became chief after the death of his half brother Hākau [29] and was considered a just ruler, religious [30] and the first to unite almost all of the Big Island. [31] The legend of ʻUmi-a-Līloa is one of the most popular hero sagas in Hawaiian history. [32]

ʻUmi's wife was Princess Piʻikea, [33] daughter of Piʻilani. They had one son, Kumalae [34] [35] and one daughter, Aihākōkō.

Liloa told Akahi that, if she were to have a male child, she should present the boy to him along with royal tokens he gave her as gifts, to prove her boy was the son of the king. Akahi hid the tokens from her husband and later gave birth to a son. At the age of 15 or 16, his stepfather was punishing the boy when his mother intervened and told the man not to touch him because the boy was his lord and chief. She uncovered the tokens to present to her husband to prove the high treason he would have committed. Akahi gave her son the royal malo and lei niho palaoa given to her by 'Umi's biological father. Only high chiefs wore these items. She sent 'Umi to Waipiʻo Valley to present himself to the king as his son.

Liloa's palace was guarded and attended by several Kahuna. The entire enclosure was sacred. Entering without permission carried the death penalty. Umi entered the enclosure with attendants afraid to stop someone wearing the royal insignia and walked straight to Liloa's sleeping quarters, waking him there. When Liloa asked who he was, he said "It is I, 'Umi your son". He then placed the tokens at his father's feet and Liloa proclaimed him to be his son. After learning of 'Umi, Hākau became upset. Liloa assured his first born that he would be king after his death and his brother would serve him. 'Umi was brought to court on an equal footing with Hākau. Living within Liloa's court alongside his brother, Umi found great favor from his father, increasing Hākau's dislike. [36]

In exile, 'Umi took wives and began building forces and followers. Chiefs began to believe him to be of the highest chiefly nature from signs they observed. He gave food to people and became known for caring for all.

After Hākau's death the other aliʻi of the island claimed their districts for themselves. 'Umi took the advice of the two priests by marrying many woman of high noble rank, including his half sister Kapukini and the daughter of the ruler of Hilo, where he had been given sanctuary during Hākau's reign. Eventually Umi conquered the entire island. [29] [32]

After unifying the island of Hawaii, 'Umi was faithful to those who had supported him, and allowed his three most faithful companions, and the two Kahuna who had aided him, to help him govern. [32]

Aikāne Edit

Aikāne relationships or (mostly male) homosexual or bisexual activity in the pre-colonial era was an accepted tradition. [37] These relationships were accepted as part of ancient Hawaiian culture. [38] Such sexual relationships may begin in the teens and continue thereafter, even though they have heterosexual partners. [39] The Hawaiian aikāne relationship was a part of Hawaiian noble life, including that of Kamehameha I. Some myths refer to women's desires and therefore some women may have been involved in aikāne relationships as well. [40]

Lieutenant James King stated that "all the chiefs had them" and recounts a tale that James Cook was actually asked by one chief to leave Lt. King behind, considering such offer a great honor. Members of Cook's crew related tales of the tradition with great disdain. American adventurer and sailor John Ledyard commented in detail about the tradition. [41]

Land division system Edit

Land was divided up in strict adherence to the wishes of the Ali‘i Nui. The traditional system of land has four hierarchical levels:

  • mokupuni (island)
  • moku (subdivisions of an island)
  • ahupuaʻa (subdivision of moku)
  • ʻili (two or three per ahupuaʻa, but Kahoolawe for example had eight)

Some oral history relates that ʻUmi a Līloa created the ahupuaʻa system. [42] The system exploited the fact that communities were already organized along stream systems. The community governance system of Kānāwai is attributed specifically to shared water usage.

The Hawaiian agricultural system contained two major classes irrigated and rain-fed (dryland) systems. Irrigated systems mainly supported taro (kalo) cultivation. Rain-fed systems were known as the mala. There they cultivated uala (sweet potatoes), yams, and dryland taro [43] along with coconuts (niu), breadfruit (ʻulu), bananas (maiʻa) and sugarcane (ko). The kukui tree (Aleurites moluccanus) was sometimes used as a shade to protect the mala from the sun. [44] Each crop was carefully placed in an area most suitable to its needs. [45]

Hawaiians domesticated dogs, chickens and pigs. They also grew personal gardens at home. Water was a very important part of Hawaiian life it was used for fishing, bathing, drinking, and gardening, and for aquaculture systems in the rivers and at the shore's edge. [43]

Ahupuaʻa most frequently consisted of a section of an island that went from the top of the local mountain to the shore, often following the boundary of a stream. Each ahupuaʻa included a lowland mala and upland forested region. [46] Ahupuaʻa varied in size depending on the economic means of the location and political divisions of the area. "As the native Hawaiians used the resources within their ahupuaʻa, they practiced aloha (respect), laulima (cooperation) and malama (stewardship) which resulted in a desirable pono (balance)". The Hawaiians believed that the land, the sea, the clouds and all of nature had a certain interconnectedness which is why they used all of the resources around them to reach the desired balance in life. [47] Sustainability was maintained by the konohiki and kahuna: priests, who restricted the fishing of certain species during specific seasons. They also regulated the gathering of plants. [48]

The term "ahupuaʻa" is derived from the Hawaiian words ahu "heap, cairn" and puaʻa "pig". The boundary markers for ahupuaʻa were traditionally heaps of stones used to hold offers to the island chief, which was often a pig.

Each ahupuaʻa was divided into smaller sections called ʻili and the ʻili were divided into kuleana. These were individual plots of land that were cultivated by commoners who paid labor taxes to the land overseer each week. These taxes went to support the chief. [48] Two possible reasons for this subdivision have been offered:

  • travel: in many areas of Hawaiʻi, it is easier to travel up- and downstream than from stream valley to stream valley.
  • economy: having all climate and economic exploitation zones in each land division ensured that each could be self-sufficient for a large portion of its needs.

Governance Edit

The Kingdom was administered by an ali'i chief. [48] [49] Divisions were under the control of other smaller chiefs and managed by a steward. [50] The headman of a land division or ahupua`a is a konohiki. [48] Mokus were ruled by an aliʻi ʻaimoku. Ahupua'as were run by a headman or chief called a Konohiki. [22] | : p. 71

Konohiki Edit

In Keelikolani vs Robinson, kononiki is defined as a Land Agent. In Territory vs Bishop Trust Co. LTD., when the agent was appointed by a chief, they were referred to as konohiki. The term could also be a designated area of land owned privately as compared to being owned by the government. [51] A chief of lands retained life tenure on the land even after being discharged from the position, but a head man overseeing the same land had no such protection. [52]

Often ali'i and konohiki are treated synonymously. However, while most konohiki were ali'i nobility, not all ali'i were konohiki. The Hawaiian dictionary defines konohiki as a headman of a land division, but also to describe fishing rights. Kono means to entice or prompt. Hiki refers to something that can be done. The konohiki was a relative of the ali'i and oversaw the property, managing water rights, land distribution, agricultural use and any maintenance. The konohiki also ensured that the right amounts of gifts and tribute were properly made at the right times. [53]

As capitalism was incorporated into the kingdom, the konohiki became tax collectors, landlords and fishery wardens. [53]

Captain James Cook led three separate voyages to chart unknown areas of the globe for the British Empire. [54] On his third voyage he encountered Hawaii. [55] He first sighted the islands on 18 January 1778. [56] He anchored off the coast of Kauai and met with the local inhabitants to trade and obtain water and food for their continued voyage. On 2 February 1778, Cook continued on to the coast of North America and Alaska searching for a Northwest Passage for approximately nine months. He returned to the Hawaii chain to resupply, initially exploring the coasts of Maui and Hawaii Island to trade. He anchored in Kealakekua Bay in January 1779. After departing Kealakekua, he returned in February 1779 after a ship's mast broke in bad weather. [57]

On the night of 13 February, while anchored in the bay, one of his only two longboats (lifeboats used to ferry to/from ship/shore) was stolen by the Hawaiians. [58] In retaliation, Cook tried to kidnap the aliʻi nui of Hawaii Island, Kalaniʻōpuʻu. On 14 February 1779 Cook confronted an angry crowd. Kanaʻina approached Cook, who reacted by striking the royal attendant with the broad side of his sword. Kanaʻina picked up the navigator and dropped him while another attendant, Nuaa, killed Cook with a knife. [59]

The Kingdom of Hawaii lasted from 1795 until its overthrow in 1893 with the fall of the House of Kalakaua. [60]

House of Kamehameha Edit

The House of Kamehameha (Hale O Kamehameha), or the Kamehameha dynasty, was the reigning Royal Family of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, beginning with its founding by Kamehameha I in 1795 and ending with the deaths of Kamehameha V in 1872 and William Charles Lunalilo in 1874. [61]

The origins of the House of Kamehameha can be traced to half brothers, Kalaniʻōpuʻu and Keōua. Kalaniʻōpuʻu's father was Kalaninuiʻīamamao while Keōua's father was Kalanikeʻeaumoku, both sons of Keaweʻīkekahialiʻiokamoku. [62] They shared a common mother, Kamakaʻīmoku. Both brothers served Alapaʻinui, the ruling King of Hawaii Island. Hawaiian genealogy notes that Keōua may not have been Kamehameha's biological father, and that Kahekili II might have been his biological father. [62] [63] Regardless, Kamehameha I's descent from Keawe remains intact through his mother, Kekuʻiapoiwa II, a granddaughter of Keawe. Keōua acknowledged him as his son and this relationship is recognized by official genealogies. [62]

The traditional mele chant of Keaka, wife of Alapainui, indicates that Kamehameha I was born in the month of ikuwā (winter) around November. [64] Alapai gave the young Kamehameha to his wife Keaka and her sister Hākau to care for after the ruler discovered the boy had lived. [65] [66] Samuel Kamakau, wrote, "It was during the time of the warfare among the chiefs of [the island of] Hawaii which followed the death of Keawe, chief over the whole island (Ke-awe-i-kekahi-aliʻi-o-ka-moku) that Kamehameha I was born". However, his general dating was challenged. [67] Abraham Fornander wrote, "when Kamehameha died in 1819 he was past eighty years old. His birth would thus fall between 1736 and 1740, probably nearer the former than the latter". [68] William De Witt Alexander lists the birth date as 1736. [69] He was first named Paiea but took the name Kamehameha, meaning "The very lonely one" or "The one set alone". [70] [71]

Kamehameha's uncle Kalaniʻōpuʻu raised him after Keōua's death. Kalaniʻōpuʻu ruled Hawaii as did his grandfather Keawe. He had advisors and priests. When word reached the ruler that chiefs were planning to murder the boy, he told Kamehameha:

"My child, I have heard the secret complaints of the chiefs and their mutterings that they will take you and kill you, perhaps soon. While I am alive they are afraid, but when I die they will take you and kill you. I advise you to go back to Kohala." "I have left you the god there is your wealth." [62]

After Kalaniʻōpuʻu's death, Kīwalaʻō took his father's place as first born and ruled the island while Kamehameha became the religious authority. Some chiefs supported Kamehameha and war soon broke out to overthrow Kīwalaʻō. After multiple battles the king was killed and envoys sent for the last two brothers to meet with Kamehameha. Keōua and Kaōleiokū arrived in separate canoes. Keōua came to shore first where a fight broke out and he and all aboard were killed. Before the same could happen to the second canoe, Kamehameha intervened. In 1793 Captain George Vancouver sailed from the United Kingdom and presented the Union Flag to Kamehameha, who was still in the process of uniting the islands into a single state the Union Jack flew unofficially as the flag of Hawaii until 1816, [72] including during a brief spell of British rule after Kamehameha ceded Hawaii to Vancouver in 1794.

By 1795, Kamehameha had conquered all but one of the main islands. For his first royal residence, the new King built the first western-style structure in the Hawaiian Islands, known as the "Brick Palace". [73] The location became the seat of government for the Hawaiian Kingdom until 1845. [74] [75] The king commissioned the structure to be built at Keawa'iki point in Lahaina, Maui. [76] Two ex-convicts from Australia's Botany Bay penal colony built the home. [77] It was begun in 1798 and was completed after 4 years in 1802. [78] [79] The house was intended for Kaʻahumanu, [80] but she refused to live in the structure and resided instead in an adjacent, traditional Hawaiian-styled home. [76]

Kamehameha I had many wives but held two in the highest regard. Keōpūolani was the highest ranking aliʻi of her time [81] and mother to his sons, Liholiho and Kauikeaouli. Kaʻahumanu was his favorite. Kamehameha I died in 1819, succeeded by Liholiho. [82]

Kamehameha II Edit

After Kamehameha I's death, Liholiho left Kailua for a week and returned to be crowned king. At the lavish ceremony attended by commoners and nobles he approached the circle of chiefs, as Kaʻahumanu, the central figure in the group and Dowager Queen, said, "Hear me O Divine one, for I make known to you the will of your father. Behold these chiefs and the men of your father, and these your guns, and this your land, but you and I shall share the realm together". Liholiho agreed officially, which began a unique system of dual-government consisting of a King and co-ruler similar to a regent. [83] Kamehameha II shared his rule with his stepmother, Kaʻahumanu. She defied Hawaiian kapu by dining with the young king, separating the sexes during meals, leading to the end of the Hawaiian religion. Kamehameha II died, along with his wife, Queen Kamāmalu in 1824 on a state visit to England, succumbing to measles. He was King for 5 years. [82]

The couple's remains were returned to Hawaii by Boki. Aboard the ship The Blond his wife Liliha and Kekūanāoʻa were baptized as Christians. Kaʻahumanu also converted and became a powerful Christian influence on Hawaiian society until her death in 1832. [84] Since the new king was only 12 years old, Kaʻahumanu was now senior ruler and named Boki as her Kuhina Nui.

Boki left Hawaii on a trip to find sandalwood to cover a debt and was lost at sea. His wife, Liliha took the governorship of Maui and unsuccessfully attempted to whip up a revolt against Kaʻahumanu, who upon Boki's departure, had installed Kīnaʻu as a co-governor. [84]

Kaʻahumanu Edit

Kaʻahumanu was born on Maui around 1777. Her parents were aliʻi of a lower-ranking line. She became Kamehameha's consort when she was fourteen. George Vancouver states: "[O]ne of the finest woman we had yet seen on any of the islands". [85] To wed the young woman, Kamehameha had to consent to make her children his heirs to the Kingdom, although she had no issue. [19]

Before his death, Kamehameha selected Kaʻahumanu to rule along with his son. Kaʻahumanu had also adopted the boy. [86] She had the highest political clout in the islands. A portrait artist remarked of her: "This Old Dame is the most proud, unbending Lady in the whole island. As the widow of [Kamehameha], she possesses unbound authority and respect, not any of which she is inclined to lay aside on any occasion whatsoever". [87] She was one of Hawaii's most influential leaders. [88]

Sugar reciprocity Edit

Sugar became a major export from Hawaii soon after Cook's arrival. [89] The first permanent plantation began in Kauai in 1835. William Hooper leased 980 acres of land from Kamehameha III and began growing sugarcane. Within thirty years plantations operated on the four main islands. Sugar completely altered Hawaii's economy. [90]

American influence in Hawaiian government began with U.S. plantation owners demanding a say in Kingdom politics. This was driven by missionary religion and sugar economics. Pressure from these plantation owners was felt by the King and chiefs as demands for land tenure. After the brief 1843 takeover by the British, Kamehameha III responded to the demands with the Great Mahele, distributing the lands to all Hawaiians as advocated by missionaries including Gerrit P. Judd. [91] Kamehameha III also tried to modernize Hawaii's legal system by replacing indigenous traditions with Anglo-American common law. [92]

During the 1850s, the U.S. import tariff on sugar from Hawaii was much higher than the import tariffs Hawaiians were charging the U.S., and Kamehameha III sought reciprocity. [93] The monarch wished to lower U.S. tariffs and make Hawaiian sugar competitive with other foreign suppliers. In 1854 Kamehameha III proposed a policy of reciprocity between the countries, but the proposal died in the U.S. Senate. [94]

U.S. control of Hawaii was considered vital for the defense of its west coast. The military was especially interested in Pu'uloa, Pearl Harbor. [95] The sale of one harbor was proposed by Charles Reed Bishop, a foreigner who had married into the Kamehameha family, had risen to be Hawaiian Minister of Foreign Affairs and owned a country home near Pu'uloa. He showed two U.S. officers around the lochs, although his wife, Bernice Pauahi Bishop, privately disapproved of selling Hawaiian lands. As monarch, William Charles Lunalilo, was content to let Bishop run most business affairs, but the ceding of lands became unpopular with Hawaiians. Many islanders thought that all the islands, rather than just Pearl Harbor, might be lost and opposed any cession. By November 1873, Lunalilo canceled negotiations and returned to drinking, against his doctor's advice his health declined swiftly, and he died on February 3, 1874. [95]

Lunalilo left no heirs. The legislature was empowered by the constitution to elect the monarch in these instances [96] and chose David Kalākaua as Lunalilo's successor. [97] The new ruler was pressured by the U.S. government to surrender Pearl Harbor to the Navy. [97] Kalākaua was concerned that this would lead to annexation by the U.S. and to violating the traditions of the Hawaiian people, who believed that the land ('Āina) was fertile, sacred and not for sale. [97] From 1874 through 1875, Kalākaua made a state visit to Washington DC to gather support for a new treaty. [98] [99] Congress agreed to the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875 for seven years in exchange for Ford Island. [100] [101] After the treaty, sugar production expanded from 12,000 acres to 125,000 acres in 1891. [102] At the end of the seven-year term, the United States showed little interest in renewal. [103]

Rebellion of 1887 and the Bayonet Constitution Edit

On January 20, 1887, the United States began leasing Pearl Harbor. [104] Shortly afterwards, a group of mostly non-Hawaiians calling themselves the Hawaiian Patriotic League began the Rebellion of 1887. [105] They drafted their own constitution on July 6, 1887. [106] The new constitution was written by Lorrin Thurston, the Hawaiian Minister of the Interior who used the Hawaiian militia to threaten Kalākaua. [104] Kalākaua was forced to dismiss his cabinet ministers and sign a new constitution that greatly lessened his power. [97] It would become known as the "Bayonet Constitution" due to the threat of force. [104]

Grover Cleveland was president at the time, and his secretary of state Thomas F. Bayard sent written instructions to the American minister George W. Merrill that in the event of another revolution in Hawaii, it was a priority to protect American commerce, lives and property. Bayard specified, "the assistance of the officers of our Government vessels, if found necessary, will therefore be promptly afforded to promote the reign of law and respect for orderly government in Hawaii." [107] In July 1889, there was a small scale rebellion, and Minister Merrill landed Marines to protect Americans the State Department explicitly approved his action. Merrill's replacement, minister John L. Stevens, read those official instructions, and followed them in his controversial actions of 1893. [108]

Although Kalākaua's signature alone had no legal power, the new constitution allowed the monarch to appoint cabinet ministers, but stripped him of the power to dismiss them without approval from the Legislature. [109] Eligibility to vote for the House of Nobles was altered, requiring that both candidates and voters own property valued three thousand dollars or more, or have an annual income of six hundred dollars or more. [110] This disenfranchised two thirds of native Hawaiians and other ethnic groups who had previously been eligible to vote. [111] This constitution benefited the foreign plantation owners. [112] With the legislature now responsible for naturalizing aliens, Americans and Europeans could retain their home country citizenship and vote as citizens of the kingdom. [113] Along with voting privileges, Americans could hold office and still retain their American citizenship, something not afforded in any other nation [114] and even allowed Americans to vote without becoming naturalized. [115] Asian immigrants were no longer able to acquire citizenship or vote. [116]

Wilcox Rebellion of 1888 Edit

The Wilcox Rebellion of 1888 was a plot to overthrow King David Kalākaua and replace him with his sister in a coup d'état. This was in response to increased political tension between the legislature and the king under the 1887 constitution. Kalākaua's sister, Princess Liliʻuokalani and wife, Queen Kapiolani returned from Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee immediately after news reached them in Great Britain. [117]

Kalākaua's distant cousin, a native Hawaiian officer and veteran of the Italian military, Robert William Wilcox returned to Hawaii at about the same time as Liliʻuokalani [118] in October 1887 when the funding for his study program stopped. Wilcox, Charles B. Wilson, Princess Liliʻuokalani, and Sam Nowlein plotted to overthrow King Kalākaua and replace him with Liliʻuokalani. 300 Hawaiian conspirators hid in Iolani Barracks and an alliance was formed with the Royal Guard, but the plot was accidentally discovered in January 1888, less than 48 hours before the revolt. [119] No one was prosecuted, but Wilcox was exiled. On February 11, 1888, Wilcox left Hawaii for San Francisco, intending to return to Italy with his wife.

Princess Liliʻuokalani was offered the throne several times by the Missionary Party who had forced the Bayonet Constitution on her brother, but she believed she would become a powerless figurehead like her brother and rejected the offers. [120] In January 1891, Kalākaua traveled to San Francisco for his health, staying at the Palace Hotel. He died there on January 20. [121] She then ascended the throne. Queen Liliʻuokalani called her brother's reign "a golden age materially for Hawaii". [122]

Liliʻuokalani's attempt to re-write Constitution Edit

Liliʻuokalani assumed the throne in the middle of an economic crisis. The McKinley Act had crippled the Hawaiian sugar industry by removing the duties on sugar imports from other countries into the US, eliminating the previous Hawaiian advantage due to the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875. [123] Many Hawaii businesses and citizens lost revenue in response Liliʻuokalani proposed a lottery system to raise money for her government. Controversially, opium licensing was proposed. [124] Her ministers and closest friends were all opposed to this plan they unsuccessfully tried to dissuade her from pursuing these initiatives, both of which came to be used against her in the brewing constitutional crisis. [125]

Liliʻuokalani's chief desire was to restore power to the monarch by abrogating the 1887 Bayonet Constitution and promulgating a new one. [126] The 1893 Constitution would have extended suffrage by reducing some property requirements. It would have disenfranchised many non-citizen Europeans and Americans. The Queen toured several islands on horseback, talking to the people about her ideas and receiving overwhelming support, including a lengthy petition in support of a new constitution. However, when the Queen informed her cabinet of her plans, they withheld their support, uncomfortable with what they expected her opponent's likely response to be. [127]

Liliʻuokalani's attempt to promulgate a new constitution on January 14, 1893, was the precipitating event leading to the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii three days later. [128] The conspirators' stated goals were to depose the queen, overthrow the monarchy, and seek Hawaii's annexation to the U.S. [129] [130] The conspirators were five American, one English and one German national. [131]

Overthrow Edit

The overthrow was led by Thurston, who was the grandson of American missionaries [132] and derived his support primarily from the American and European business class and other supporters of the Reform Party of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Most of the leaders of the Committee of Safety that deposed the queen were American and European citizens who were Kingdom subjects. [133] [134] [135] They included legislators, government officers and a Supreme Court Justice of the Hawaiian Kingdom. [136]

On January 16, the Marshal of the Kingdom, Charles B. Wilson was tipped off by detectives of the planned coup. Wilson requested warrants to arrest the 13 Council members and put the Kingdom under martial law. Because the members had strong political ties with U.S. Government Minister John L. Stevens, the requests were repeatedly denied by Attorney General Arthur P. Peterson and the Queen's cabinet, fearing if approved, the arrests would escalate the situation. After a failed negotiation with Thurston, [137] Wilson began to collect his men for the confrontation. Wilson and Captain of the Royal Household Guard Samuel Nowlein rallied a force of 496 men who were kept at hand to protect the Queen. [138]

The overthrow began on January 17, 1893. A policeman was shot and wounded while trying to stop a wagon carrying weapons to the Honolulu Rifles, the paramilitary wing of the Committee of Safety. The Committee feared the shooting would bring government forces to rout the conspirators and stop the coup before it could begin. The Committee of Safety initiated the overthrow by organizing the Honolulu Rifles made of about 1,500 armed local (non-native) men. The Rifles garrisoned Ali'iolani Hale across the street from ʻIolani Palace and waited for the Queen's response.

As these events were unfolding, the Committee of Safety expressed concern for the safety and property of American residents in Honolulu. [139]

United States military support Edit

The coup efforts were supported by U.S. Government Minister John L. Stevens. [140] The coup left the queen under house arrest at Iolani Palace. The Kingdom briefly became the Republic of Hawaii, before annexation by the United States in 1898. Advised about supposed threats to non-combatant American lives and property [141] by the Committee of Safety, Stevens summoned a company of uniformed U.S. Marines from the USS Boston and two companies of U.S. sailors to take up positions at the U.S. Legation, Consulate and Arion Hall on the afternoon of January 16, 1893. 162 armed sailors and Marines aboard the USS Boston in Honolulu Harbor came ashore under orders of neutrality. The sailors and Marines did not enter the Palace grounds or take over any buildings, and never fired a shot, but their presence intimidated royalist defenders. Historian William Russ states, "the injunction to prevent fighting of any kind made it impossible for the monarchy to protect itself." [142]

Annexation Edit

In March 1897, William McKinley, a Republican expansionist, succeeded Democrat Grover Cleveland as U.S. President. He prepared a treaty of annexation but it lacked the needed 2/3 majority in the Senate given Democratic opposition. A joint resolution, which does not have the power to annex, written by Democratic Congressman Francis G. Newlands to annex Hawaii passed both the House and Senate it needed only majority support. The Spanish–American War had broken out and many leaders wanted control of Pearl Harbor to help the United States to become a Pacific power and protect the West Coast. In 1897 Japan sent warships to Hawaii to oppose annexation. The possibility of invasion and annexation by Japan made the decision even more urgent, especially since the islands' fourth population was Japanese who were largely sympathetic to their country's goal in doing so. [143]

McKinley signed the Newlands Resolution annexing Hawaii on July 7, 1898, creating the Territory of Hawaii. On 22 February 1900 the Hawaiian Organic Act established a territorial government. Annexation opponents held that this was illegal, claiming the Queen was the only legitimate ruler. McKinley appointed Sanford B. Dole as territorial governor. The territorial legislature convened for the first time on February 20, 1901. Hawaiians formed the Hawaiian Independent Party, under the leadership of Robert Wilcox, Hawaii's first congressional delegate. [144]

Plantations Edit

Sugarcane plantations in Hawaii expanded during the territorial period. Some companies diversified and came to dominate related industries including transportation, banking and real estate. Economic and political power was concentrated in what were known as the "Big Five".

A 1909 by Japanese farm workers led to a brief experiment importing Russian laborers, mostly from Siberia. False promises of land grants by a recruiter named Perelstrous resulted in strikes among the Russian workers as well. Experiencing many hardships including a measles outbreak, lack of ability to communicate with Hawaiians, and culture clashes, most Russians ended up moving to California, New York, or back to Russia (mostly after the 1917 Russian Revolution). [145]

World War II Edit

Attack on Pearl Harbor Edit

Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, by the Imperial Japanese Navy, killing almost 2,500 people and sinking the main American battleship fleet. Fortuitously for the Americans, the four Pacific aircraft carriers were not in port and escaped damage. Hawaii was put under martial law until 1945. Unlike the West Coast of the United States in which 100,000 ethnic Japanese citizens were interned, the Japanese American population in Hawaii completely avoided such similar fate, though hundreds of pro-Japan leaders were arrested. Pearl Harbor was the U.S.' main forward base for the Pacific War. The Japanese tried to invade in summer 1942 but were defeated at the Battle of Midway. Hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen passed through on their way to the fighting. [146]

Many Hawaii residents served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a U.S. Army infantry regiment. The regiment was composed almost entirely of American soldiers of Japanese ancestry. The regiment fought primarily in Italy, southern France and Germany. The 442nd Regiment was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in American history. Its 4,000 members had to be replaced nearly 2.5 times due to casualties. In total, about 14,000 men served, earning 9,486 Purple Hearts. The unit was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations (five in one month). Twenty-one of its members, including Hawaii U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, were awarded Medals of Honor. Its motto was "Go for Broke". [147]

Democratic Party Edit

In 1954 a series of non-violent industry-wide strikes, protests and other civil disobedience transpired. In the territorial elections of 1954 the reign of the Hawaii Republican Party in the legislature came to an abrupt end, replaced by the Democratic Party of Hawaii. Democrats lobbied for statehood and held the governorship from 1962 to 2002. The events also unionized the labor force, hastening the plantations' decline.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Hawaii Admission Act on March 18, 1959, which allowed for Hawaiian statehood. After a popular referendum in which over 93% voted in favor of statehood, Hawaii was admitted as the 50th state on August 21, 1959. [ citation needed ]

Annexation legacy Edit

For many Native Hawaiians, the manner in which Hawaii became a U.S. territory was illegal. Hawaii Territory governors and judges were direct political appointees of the U.S. President. Native Hawaiians created the Home Rule Party to seek greater self-government. Hawaii was subject to cultural and societal repression during the territorial period and the first decade of statehood. [ citation needed ] The 1960s Hawaiian Renaissance led to renewed interest in the Hawaiian language, culture and identity.

With the support of Hawaii Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, Congress passed a joint resolution called the "Apology Resolution" (US Public Law 103-150). It was signed by President Bill Clinton on November 23, 1993. This resolution apologized "to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893. and the deprivation of the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination." The implications of this resolution have been extensively debated. [148] [149]

In 2000, Akaka proposed what was called the Akaka Bill to extend federal recognition to those of Native Hawaiian ancestry as a sovereign group similar to Native American tribes. The bill did not pass before his retirement. [150]

The arrival of Europeans

Capt. James Cook, the British explorer and navigator, is generally credited with having made the first European discovery of Hawaii he landed at Waimea, Kauai Island, on January 20, 1778. Upon his return the following year, he was killed during an affray with a number of Hawaiians at Kealakekua Bay.

The initial appearance of Cook was followed by a period of intermittent contact with the West. During this period King Kamehameha I used European military technology and weapons to emerge as an outstanding Hawaiian leader, seizing and consolidating control over most of the island group. For 85 years thereafter monarchs ruled over the Hawaiian kingdom. In the early 19th century the American whaling fleet began wintering in Hawaii, and the islands were visited with mounting frequency by explorers, traders, and adventurers. Capt. George Vancouver introduced livestock to the islands in 1792. In 1820 the first of 15 companies of New England missionaries arrived. By the middle of the century there were frame houses, horse-drawn vehicles, schools, churches, taverns, and mercantile establishments. A written language had been introduced, and European and American skills and religious beliefs—Protestant and Roman Catholic—had been imported. Hawaiian culture was irrevocably changed.


In ancient Hawaiʻi, society was divided into multiple classes. At the top of the class system was the aliʻi class [13] with each island ruled by a separate aliʻi nui. [14] All of these rulers were believed to come from a hereditary line descended from the first Polynesian, Papa, who would become the earth mother goddess of the Hawaiian religion. [15] Captain James Cook became the first European to encounter the Hawaiian Islands, on his third voyage (1776–1780) in the Pacific. He was killed at Kealakekua Bay on the island of Hawaiʻi in 1779 in a dispute over the taking of a longboat. Three years later the Island of Hawaiʻi was passed [ by whom? ] to Kalaniʻōpuʻu's son, Kīwalaʻō, while religious authority was passed to the ruler's nephew, Kamehameha.

The warrior chief who became Kamehameha the Great, waged a campaign lasting 15 years to unite the islands. He established the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1795 with the help of western weapons and advisors, such as John Young and Isaac Davis. [16] Although successful in attacking both Oʻahu and Maui, he failed to secure a victory in Kauaʻi, his effort hampered by a storm and a plague that decimated his army. Eventually, Kauaʻi's chief swore allegiance to Kamehameha (1810). The unification ended the ancient Hawaiian society, transforming it into an independent constitutional monarchy crafted in the traditions and manner of European monarchs. The Kingdom of Hawaiʻi thus became an early example of the establishment of monarchies in Polynesian societies as contacts with Europeans increased. [17] [18] Similar political developments occurred (for example) in Tahiti, Tonga, and New Zealand.

Kamehameha dynasty (1795–1874) Edit

From 1810 to 1893 two major dynastic families ruled the Hawaiian Kingdom: the House of Kamehameha (to 1874) and the Kalākaua Dynasty (1874–1893). Five members of the Kamehameha family led the government, each styled as Kamehameha, until 1872. Lunalilo ( r . 1873–1874 ) was also a member of the House of Kamehameha through his mother. Liholiho (Kamehameha II, r . 1819–1824 ) and Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III, r . 1825–1854 ) were direct sons of Kamehameha the Great.

During Liholiho's and Kauikeaouli's reigns, the primary wife of Kamehameha the Great, Queen Kaʻahumanu, ruled as Queen Regent and Kuhina Nui, or Prime Minister.

Economic and demographic factors in the 19th century reshaped the islands. Their consolidation into one unified political entity led to international trade. Under Kamehameha (1795–1819), sandalwood was exported to China. That led to the introduction of money and trade throughout the islands.

Following Kamehameha's death the succession was overseen by his principal wife, Kaʻahumanu, who was designated as regent over the new king, Liholiho, who was a minor.

Queen Kaʻahumanu eliminated various prohibitions (kapu) governing women's behavior. They included men and women eating together and women eating bananas. She also overturned the old religion as the Christian missionaries arrived in the islands. A major contribution of the missionaries was to develop a written Hawaiian language. That led to very high levels of literacy in Hawaiʻi, above 90 percent in the latter half of the 19th century. The development of writing aided in the consolidation of government. Written constitutions enumerating the power and duties of the King were developed.

In 1848, the Great Māhele was promulgated by King Kamehameha III. [19] It instituted formal property rights to the land and followed the customary control of the land prior to this declaration. Ninety-eight percent of the land was assigned to the aliʻi, chiefs or nobles. Two percent went to the commoners. No land could be sold, only transferred to lineal descendant land manager. For the natives, contact with the outer world represented demographic disaster, as a series of unfamiliar diseases such as smallpox decimated the natives. The Hawaiian population of natives fell from approximately 128,000 in 1778 [20] to 71,000 in 1853 and kept declining to 24,000 in 1920. Most lived in remote villages. [21]

American missionaries converted most of the natives to Christianity. The missionaries and their children became a powerful elite into the mid-19th century. They provided the chief advisors and cabinet members of the kings and dominated the professional and merchant class in the cities. [22]

The elites promoted the sugar industry in order to modernize Hawaiʻi's economy. American capital set up a series of plantations after 1850. [23] Few natives were willing to work on the sugar plantations and so recruiters fanned out across Asia and Europe. As a result, between 1850 and 1900 some 200,000 contract laborers from China, Japan, the Philippines, Portugal and elsewhere came to Hawaiʻi under fixed term contracts (typically for five years). Most returned home on schedule, but large numbers stayed permanently. By 1908 about 180,000 Japanese workers had arrived. No more were allowed in, but 54,000 remained permanently. [24]

The Hawaiian army and navy developed from the warriors of Kona under Kamehameha I, who unified Hawaiʻi in 1810. The army and navy used both traditional canoes and uniforms including helmets made of natural materials and loincloths (called the Malo) as well as western technology like artillery cannons, muskets, and European ships. [ citation needed ] European advisors were captured, treated well and became Hawaiian citizens. [ clarification needed ] When Kamehameha died in 1819 he left his son Liholiho a large arsenal with tens of thousands of soldiers and many warships. This helped put down the revolt at Kuamoʻo later in 1819 and Humehume's rebellion on Kauaʻi in 1824.

During the Kamehameha dynasty the population in Hawaiʻi was ravaged by epidemics following the arrival of outsiders. The military shrank with the population, so by the end of the Dynasty there was no Hawaiian navy and only an army, consisting of several hundred troops. After a French invasion that sacked Honolulu in 1849, Kamehameha III sought defense treaties with the United States and Britain. During the outbreak of the Crimean War in Europe, Kamehameha III declared Hawaiʻi a neutral state. [25] The United States government put strong pressure on Kamehameha IV to trade exclusively with the United States, even threatening to annex the islands. To counterbalance this situation Kamehameha IV and Kamehameha V pushed for alliances with other foreign powers, especially Great Britain. Hawaiʻi claimed uninhabited islands in the Pacific, including the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, many of which came into conflict with American claims.

Following the Kamehameha dynasty the royal guards were disbanded under Lunalilo after a barracks revolt in September 1873. A small army was restored under King Kalākaua but failed to stop the 1887 Rebellion by the Missionary Party. In 1891, Queen Liliʻuokalani came to power. The elections of 1892 were followed with petitions and requests from her administration to change the constitution of 1887. The US maintained a policy of keeping at least one cruiser in Hawaiʻi at all times. On January 17, 1893, Liliʻuokalani, believing the US military would intervene if she changed the constitution, waited for the USS Boston to leave port. Once it was known that Liliʻuokalani was revising the constitution, the Boston was recalled and assisted the Missionary Party in her overthrow. Following the overthrow and the establishment of the Provisional Government of Hawaii, the Kingdom's military was disarmed and disbanded. One hundred years later, in 1993, the U.S. Congress passed the Apology Resolution, admitting wrongdoing and issuing a belated apology.

Under the rule of Queen Kaʻahumanu, the powerful, newly converted Protestant widow of Kamehameha the Great, Catholicism was illegal in Hawaiʻi, and in 1831 French Catholic priests were forcibly deported by chiefs loyal to her. Native Hawaiian converts to Catholicism claimed to have been imprisoned, beaten and tortured after the expulsion of the priests. [26] Resistance toward the French Catholic missionaries remained the same under the reign of her successor, the Kuhina Nui Kaʻahumanu II.

In 1839 Captain Laplace of the French frigate Artémise sailed to Hawaiʻi under orders to:

Destroy the malevolent impression which you find established to the detriment of the French name to rectify the erroneous opinion which has been created as to the power of France and to make it well understood that it would be to the advantage of the chiefs of those islands of the Ocean to conduct themselves in such a manner as not to incur the wrath of France. You will exact, if necessary with all the force that is yours to use, complete reparation for the wrongs which have been committed, and you will not quit those places until you have left in all minds a solid and lasting impression.

Under the threat of war, King Kamehameha III signed the Edict of Toleration on July 17, 1839 and paid the $20,000 in compensation for the deportation of the priests and the incarceration and torture of converts, agreeing to Laplace's demands. The kingdom proclaimed:

That the Catholic worship be declared free, throughout all the dominions subject to the King of the Sandwich Islands the members of this religious faith shall enjoy in them the privileges granted to Protestants.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu returned unpersecuted and as reparation Kamehameha III donated land for them to build a church upon.


There have been changing views about initial Polynesian discovery and settlement of Hawai'i. [2] Radiocarbon dating in Hawai'i initially indicated a possible settlement as early as 124 CE. [3] [4] Patrick Vinton Kirch's books on Hawaiian archeology, standard textbooks, date the first Polynesian settlements to about 300 with more recent suggestions by Kirch as late as 600. Other theories suggest dating as late as 700 to 800. [2]

In 2010 researchers announced new findings using revised, high-precision radiocarbon dating based on more reliable samples than were previously used in many dating studies. [5] This new data indicates that the period of eastern and northern Polynesian colonization took place much later, in a shorter time frame of two waves: the "earliest in the Society Islands c. 1025–1120, four centuries later than previously assumed then after 70–265 y, dispersal continued in one major pulse to all remaining islands c. 1190–1290." [1] According to this research, settlement of the Hawaiian Islands took place circa 1219–1266. [1] This rapid colonization is believed to account for the "remarkable uniformity of East Polynesia culture, biology and language". [1]

According to Hawaiian mythology, there were other settlers in Hawaiʻi, peoples who were forced back into remote valleys by newer arrivals. They claim that stories about menehune, little people who built heiau and fishponds, prove the existence of ancient peoples who settled the islands before the Hawaiians. [6]

The colonists brought along with them clothing, plants (called "canoe plants") and livestock and established settlements along the coasts and larger valleys. Upon their arrival, the settlers grew kalo (taro), maiʻa (banana), niu (coconut), ulu (breadfruit), and raised puaʻa (pork), moa (chicken), and ʻīlio (poi dog), although these meats were eaten less often than fruits, vegetables, and seafood. Popular condiments included paʻakai (salt), ground kukui nut, limu (seaweed), and ko (sugarcane) which was used as both a sweet and a medicine. [7] In addition to the foods they brought, the settlers also acquired ʻuala (sweet potato), The sweet potato is native to South America. Recently, an analysis of the DNA of 1,245 sweet potato varieties from Asia and the Americas was done. Researchers have found a genetic link that proves the root made it to Polynesia from the Andes around 1100 CE. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offer more evidence that ancient Polynesians may have interacted with people in South America long before the Europeans set foot on the continent. [8] Article and Maps

The Pacific rat accompanied humans on their journey to Hawaiʻi. David Burney argues that humans, along with the vertebrate animals they brought with them (pigs, dogs, chickens and rats), caused many native species of birds, plants and large land snails to become extinct in the process of colonization. [9]

Estuaries and streams were adapted into fishponds by early Polynesian settlers, as long ago as 500 CE or earlier. [10] Packed earth and cut stone were used to create habitat, making ancient Hawaiian aquaculture among the most advanced of the original peoples of the Pacific. [11] A notable example is the Menehune Fishpond dating from at least 1,000 years ago, at Alekoko. At the time of Captain James Cook's arrival, there were at least 360 fishponds producing 2,000,000 pounds (900,000 kg) of fish per year. [10] Over the course of the last millennium, Hawaiians undertook "large-scale canal-fed pond field irrigation" projects for kalo (taro) cultivation. [12]

The new settlers built hale (homes) and heiau (temples). Archaeologists currently believe that the first settlements were on the southern end of the Big Island of Hawaiʻi and that they quickly extended northwards, along the seacoasts and the easily accessible river valleys. As the population increased, settlements were made further inland. With the islands being so small, the population was very dense. Before European contact, the population had reached somewhere in the range of 200,000 to 1,000,000 people. After contact with the Europeans, however, the population steeply dropped due to various diseases including smallpox. [13]

A traditional town of ancient Hawaiʻi included several structures. Listed in order of importance:

  • Heiau, temple to the gods. There were two major types. The agricultural mapele type was dedicated to Lono, and could be built by the nobility, priests, and land division chiefs, and whose ceremonies were open to all. The second type, luakini, were large war temples, where animal and human sacrifices were made. They were built on high-rising stone terraces and adorned with wood and stone carved idols. A source of great mana or divine power, the luakini could only be entered by aliʻi, the king, important chiefs and nobility, and kahuna who were members of the Kū priesthood. [14]
  • Hale aliʻi, the house of the chief. It was used as a residence for the high chief and meeting house of the lesser chiefs. It was always built on a raised stone foundation to represent high social standing. Kāhili, or feather standards, were placed outside to signify royalty. Women and children were banned from entering.
  • Hale pahu, the house of the sacred hula instruments. It held the pahu drums. It was treated as a religious space as hula was a religious activity in honor of the goddess Laka.
  • Hale papaʻa, the house of royal storage. It was built to store royal implements including fabrics, prized nets and lines, clubs, spears and other weapons.
  • Hale ulana, the house of the weaver. It was the house where craftswomen would gather each day to manufacture the village baskets, fans, mats and other implements from dried pandanus leaves called lauhala.
  • Hale mua, the men's eating house. It was considered a sacred place because it was used to carve stone idols of ʻaumakua or ancestral gods. The design was meant for the men to be able to enter and exit quickly.
  • Hale ʻaina, the women's eating house. Women ate at their own separate eating house. Men and women could not eat with each other for fear that men were vulnerable while eating to have their mana, or divine spirit, stolen by women.
  • Hale waʻa, the house of the canoe. It was built along the beaches as a shelter for their fishing vessels. Hawaiians also stored koa logs used to craft the canoes.
  • Hale lawaiʻa, the house of fishing. It was built along the beaches as a shelter for their fishing nets and lines. Nets and lines were made by a tough rope fashioned from woven coconut husks. Fish hooks were made of human, pig or dog bone. Implements found in the hale lawaiʻa were some of the most prized possessions of the entire village.
  • Hale noho, the living house. It was built as sleeping and living quarters for the Hawaiian family unit.
  • Imu, the communal earth oven. Dug in the ground, it was used to cook the entire village's food including puaʻa or pork. Only men cooked using the imu.

Ancient Hawaiʻi was a caste society developed from Polynesians. The main classes were:

  • Aliʻi. This class consisted of the high and lesser chiefs of the realms. They governed with divine power called mana.
  • Kahuna. Priests conducted religious ceremonies, at the heiau and elsewhere. Professionals included master carpenters and boatbuilders, chanters, dancers, genealogists, physicians and healers.
  • Makaʻāinana. Commoners farmed, fished, and exercised the simpler crafts. They labored not only for themselves and their families, but to support the chiefs and kahuna.
  • Kauwā. They are believed to have been war captives or the descendants of war captives. Marriage between higher castes and the kauwā was strictly forbidden. The kauwā worked for the chiefs and males were often used as human sacrifices at the luakini heiau. (Lawbreakers of other castes and defeated political opponents were also sometimes used as human sacrifices.)

Hawaiian youth learned life skills and religion at home, often with grandparents. For "bright" children [15] a system of apprenticeship existed in which very young students would begin learning a craft or profession by assisting an expert, or kahuna. As spiritual powers were perceived by Hawaiians to imbue all of nature, experts in many fields of work were known as kahuna, a term commonly understood to mean priest. [16] The various types of kahuna passed on knowledge of their profession, be it in "genealogies, or mele, or herb medicine, or canoe building, or land boundaries", [17] etc. by involving and instructing apprentices in their work. More formal schools existed for the study of hula, and likely for the study of higher levels of sacred knowledge.

The kahuna took the apprentice into his household as a member of the family, although often "the tutor was a relative". [15] During a religious "graduation" ceremony, "the teacher consecrated the pupil, who thereafter was one with the teacher in psychic relationship as definite and obligatory as blood relationship". [15] Like the children learning from their grandparents, children who were apprentices learned by watching and participating in daily life. Children were discouraged from asking questions in traditional Hawaiian culture.

In Hawaiian ideology, one does not "own" the land, but merely dwells on it. The belief was that both the land and the gods were immortal. This then informed the belief that land was also godly, and therefore above mortal and ungodly humans, and humans therefore could not own land. The Hawaiians thought that all land belonged to the gods (akua).

The aliʻi were believed to be "managers" of land. That is, they controlled those who worked on the land, the makaʻāinana.

On the death of one chief and the accession of another, lands were re-apportioned—some of the previous "managers" would lose their lands, and others would gain them. Lands were also re-apportioned when one chief defeated another and re-distributed the conquered lands as rewards to his warriors.

In practice, commoners had some security against capricious re-possession of their houses and farms. They were usually left in place, to pay tribute and supply labor to a new chief, under the supervision of a new konohiki, or overseer.

This system of land tenure is similar to the feudal system prevalent in Europe during the Middle Ages.

The ancient Hawaiians had the ahupuaʻa as their source of water management. Each ahupuaʻa had a sub-division of land from the mountain to the sea. The Hawaiians used the water from the rain that ran through the mountains as a form of irrigation. Hawaiians also settled around these parts of the land because of the farming that was done. [18]

Religion held ancient Hawaiian society together, affecting habits, lifestyles, work methods, social policy and law. The legal system was based on religious kapu, or taboos. There was a correct way to live, to worship, and even to eat. Examples of kapu included the provision that men and women could not eat together (ʻAikapu religion). Fishing was limited to specified seasons of the year. The shadow of the aliʻi must not be touched as it was stealing his mana.

The rigidity of the kapu system might have come from a second wave of migrations in 1000–1300 from which different religions and systems were shared between Hawaiʻi and the Society Islands. Hawaiʻi would have been influenced by the Tahitian chiefs, the kapu system would have become stricter, and the social structure would have changed. Human sacrifice would have become a part of their new religious observance, and the aliʻi would have gained more power over the counsel of experts on the islands. [19]

Kapu was derived from traditions and beliefs from Hawaiian worship of gods, demigods and ancestral mana. The forces of nature were personified as the main gods of Kū (God of war), Kāne (god of light and life), Kanaloa (god of death), and Lono (god of peace and growth). Well-known lesser gods include Pele (goddess of fire) and her sister Hiʻiaka (goddess of dance). In a famous creation story, the demigod Māui fished the islands of Hawaiʻi from the sea after a little mistake he made on a fishing trip. From Haleakalā, Māui ensnared the sun in another story, forcing him to slow down so there were equal periods of darkness and light each day.

The Hawaiian mystical worldview allows for different gods and spirits to imbue any aspect of the natural world. [20] From this mystical perspective, in addition to his presence in lightning and rainbows, the god of light and life, Kāne, can be present in rain and clouds and a peaceful breeze (typically the "home" of Lono).

Although all food and drink had religious significance to the ancient Hawaiians, special cultural emphasis was placed on ʻawa (kava) due to its narcotic properties. This root-based beverage, a psychoactive and a relaxant, was used to consecrate meals and commemorate ceremonies. It is often referred to in Hawaiian chant. [21] Different varieties of the root were used by different castes, and the brew served as an "introduction to mysticism". [20]

The four biggest islands, the island of Hawaiʻi, Maui, Kauaʻi and Oʻahu were generally ruled by their own aliʻi nui (supreme ruler) with lower ranking subordinate chiefs called aliʻi ʻaimoku, ruling individual districts with land agents called konohiki.

All these dynasties were interrelated and regarded all the Hawaiian people (and possibly all humans) as descendants of legendary parents, Wākea (symbolizing the air) and his wife Papa (symbolizing the earth). Up to the late eighteenth century, the island of Hawaiʻi had been ruled by one line descended from Umi-a-Liloa. At the death of Keaweʻīkekahialiʻiokamoku, a lower ranking chief, Alapainui, overthrew the two sons of the former ruler who were next in line as the island's aliʻi nui.

Assuming five to ten generations per century, the Aliʻi ʻAimoku dynasties were around three to six centuries old at 1800 CE. The Tahitian settlement of the Hawaiian islands is believed to have taken place in the thirteenth century. The aliʻi and other social castes were presumably established during this period.

The ancient Hawaiian economy became complex over time. People began to specialize in specific skills. Generations of families became committed to certain careers: roof thatchers, house builders, stone grinders, bird catchers who would make the feather cloaks of the aliʻi, canoe builders. Soon, entire islands began to specialize in certain skilled trades. Oʻahu became the chief kapa (tapa bark cloth) manufacturer. Maui became the chief canoe manufacturer. The island of Hawaiʻi exchanged bales of dried fish.

European contact with the Hawaiian islands marked the beginning of the end of the ancient Hawaiʻi period. In 1778, British Captain James Cook landed first on Kauaʻi, then sailed southwards to observe and explore the other islands in the chain.

When he first arrived at Kealakekua Bay in 1779, some of the natives believed Cook was their god Lono. Cook's mast and sails coincidentally resembled the emblem (a mast and sheet of white kapa) that symbolized Lono in their religious rituals the ships arrived during the Makahiki season dedicated to Lono.

Captain Cook was eventually killed during a violent confrontation and left behind on the beach by his retreating sailors. The British demanded that his body be returned, but the Hawaiians had already performed funerary rituals of their tradition. [22]

Within a few decades Kamehameha I used European warfare tactics and some firearms and cannons to unite the islands into the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.

Hawaiian History

The Hawaiian Islands are of volcanic origin. They were created by a so-called hot spot on the ocean floor about 70 million years ago. The oldest Hawaiian island is Kure Atoll and the youngest one is the Big Island of Hawaii, which rose to the surface about one million years ago.

The First Settlers

It is believed that the first settlers, who were originally from the Marquesas Islands, arrived in Hawaii some time around the 4th or 5th century AD. They crossed 2,500 miles of ocean in double-hulled voyaging canoes and used the stars to guide them. With them they brought some crops, such as taro and breadfruit, as well as animals. Archaeologists believe that a second wave of Polynesian voyagers arrived around 1000 AD, who were from Tahiti.

It was this second group of settlers who established the kapu system. Kapu means “taboo” or “forbidden” in the Hawaiian language. It was a law system that prohibited many things and was designed to keep order. So it was forbidden for commoners to merely walk in the shadow of an ali'i (chief). Also, women were not allowed to eat together with men, or to eat bananas or pork. One wasn't allowed to interrupt a chief if he was speaking, and the list goes on.

The punishment for breaking a kapu was usually death. If the offense was very serious, the entire family of the offender was killed as well. During this time, human sacrifices were common.

The first Europeans arrived much later in Hawaii, beginning with English explorer Captain James Cook in 1778, who named the islands he discovered the Sandwich Islands after the English Earl of Sandwich.

The natives greeted Cook with bewilderment and joy, believing that he was Lono, the god of fertility of the land. Cook was eventually killed after a dispute in Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii. At the time of Cook's visit, the archipelago was divided into three kingdoms: Hawaii, Oahu and Maui, and Lanai and Molokai.

Unifying the Islands

King Kamehameha the Great (1758-1819) was Hawaii's most powerful king. Born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Kamehameha participated in numerous battles in his early years. After he became ruler of the Big Island, his next goal was to rule all the other islands as well. In 1795 his warriors arrived on Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Oahu and later Kauai, defeating the local rulers of these islands. In that year Kamehameha conquered and unified the Hawaiian Islands. Shortly after his death, the kapu system was abolished.

The Missionaries and the Monarchy

In 1820, the missionaries arrived in Hawaii. King Kamehameha III ruled the Islands from 1825 until his death in 1854. He listened to advice from the missionaries and allowed them to establish schools and preach Christianity. The missionaries developed the Hawaiian alphabet and taught it to the people. They also used it to translate the Bible into the Hawaiian language. Kamehameha III instituted religious freedom in 1839, and a year later established a constitutional monarchy.

The Sugar Industry

The sugar industry was introduced in Hawaii in the 1830s. Also, businesspeople from all over the world arrived in the Islands to exploit Hawaii's sandalwood and whales. During the same time, plantation workers were brought to Hawaii from foreign countries. Hawaii's feudal land system was abolished in 1848, which made private ownership legal.

From this point on, capital investment in the land was possible. The leaders of Hawaii themselves participated in these ventures and became more affluent. The Hawaiian government sold large chunks of land to foreigners, government officials and royalty. The ones who suffered were the Hawaiian commoners because they were stripped of their land where they had lived on for generations.

Threatened by European nations wanting to add Hawaii to their empires, American businessmen began to seek annexation by the United States. In 1875, a treaty of reciprocity was negotiated and renewed in 1884, but not ratified. It was ratified in 1887 when an amendment was added that gave the U.S.A. the exclusive right to establish a naval base at Pearl Harbor.

Lili'uokalani's Rise to Power

Queen Lili'uokalani took the oath to maintain the constitution of 1887. The legislative session of 1892 was extended to eight months because of Lili'uokalani's determination to carry through the opium and lottery bills and to have a workable cabinet.

Lili'uokalani had a new constitution drawn up, which resulted in an absolute monarchy and disfranchised a large group of citizens who had voted since 1887. At a public meeting a Committee of Safety was appointed, which issued a proclamation declaring the monarchy to be abolished and establishing a provisional government.

In the meantime, volunteer troops arrived and occupied the grounds. By the advice of her ministers, the Lili'uokalani surrendered under protest, appealing to the United States to reinstate her authority.

The Republic

A treaty of annexation was negotiated with the United States during the next month, just before the close of President Benjamin Harrison's administration, but it was withdrawn in March 1893 by President Harrison's successor, President Cleveland.

A constitution for the Republic of Hawaii was framed in 1894, with Sanford B. Dole as its first president. A plot was formed to overthrow the republic and to restore the monarchy. But that plan was broken up when a police squad alarmed the town in advance.

Queen Lili'uokalani was arrested and imprisoned for nine months in the former palace after weapons and ammunition and incriminating documents were found on her premises. She renounced all claim to the throne in January 1895 and took an oath of allegiance to the new republic.

Department of Agriculture

This is a first attempt to assemble a history of agriculture in Hawaii. A history of U.S. agriculture can be found here and we have used their format. A brief history of Hawaii can be found here. We have worked to include what we could find, but we are always looking for more suggestions. Please contact Jim Hollyer with suggestions.

Other Hawaii Agricultural Histories
History of Sugar (HARC)

Today we grow more than 40 crops commercially. That’s compared to only 28 fruit and vegetables grown commercially in 1954.

The state acquires ownership of the Waiahole Ditch guaranteeing a steady source of irrigation water at an affordable price allowing for growth of diversified agriculture in Central and Leeward Oahu (July 9).

Pioneer expands and establishes a seed processing plant at Waialua, Oahu.

The seed business has grown since 1966 to a $27 million industry which is still growing and ranks seventh among diversified agricultural industries. In addition to corn, crops now include soybeans, sunflower, and sorghum.

Hawaii’s macadamia nut industry is the second largest in the world with 45% of the world’s production.

Information provided by:
Ann Takeguchi, Jim Hollyer, Wendell Koga, Miles Hakoda, Ken Rohrbach, HC Skip Bittenbender, Brent Buckley, J.B. Friday, Richard Bowen, Richard Manshardt, James Leary, Glenn Teves, Eileen Herring, Halina Zaleski, Ken Leonhardt, Bill Eger.

Cox, Thomas R. 1992. The Birth of Forestry in Hawaii: The web of influences. Pacific Historical Review 61(2): 169-192.

Crawford, David. 1937. Hawaii’s Crop Parade.

Hall, W.T. 1998. The History of Kailua, Hawaii. Dolphin Printing and Publishing, Kailua, Hawaii.

Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service.

Hosmer, Ralph S. 1950. The beginning five decades of forestry in Hawaii. Journal of Forestry 57(2): 83-89.

Hugh, W.I., T. Tanaka, J.C. Nolan, Jr., and L.K. Fox. 1986. The Livestock Industry in Hawaii. HITAHR Information Text Series 025. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii.

LeBaron, Russell. The History of Forestry in Hawaii: From the Beginning thru World War II. Aloha Aina, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Little, Elbert L., and Skolmen, Roger G. Common Forest Trees of Hawaii, Native and Introduced. USDA Forest Service Agricultural Handbook No. 679.

Nelson, Robert E. 1989. The USDA Forest Service in Hawaii: The First 20 Years (1957-1977). USDA Forest Service General Technical Report PSW-111.

Philipp, Perry. 1953, Diversified Agriculture in Hawaii.

Shigeura, T. and Hiroshi Ooka. 1984. Macadamia Nuts in Hawaii. Information Text Series 025. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii.

Watch the video: Ancient Hawaiian Temples Reveal Islands First Kingdom