Reconstructed Polynesian Sailing Canoe in Honolulu Harbor

Iolani Palace in Honolulu, the only former royal palace in the United States

According to a2zcamerablog, Hawaii has been known since about 400 AD. inhabited by Polynesians, probably from the Marquesas Islands. Later groups would be about 1100 AD. from around Tahiti. Both groups were very good navigators using large sailing canoes. The islands and their population would remain isolated from the rest of the world for centuries.

Although it is quite possible that the Spaniards have already seen the islands in the 16th century, the islands are just north of the route of the Manila Galleon, James Cook is the official European discoverer of the islands (1778, during his third world tour). which he named the Sandwich Islands after the then First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Sandwich (1718-1792).

Kingdom of Hawaii

In 1810, under the influence of contacts with Europeans, King Kamehameha I united all previously often hostile islands to form the Kingdom of Hawaii. This was done violently with the help of European weapons. Only Kauai joined the kingdom voluntarily. Over time, the archipelago became a constitutional monarchy with a parliament.

Under King Kamehameha II, the old caste system with the kapu (taboo) system was abolished in 1819. From then on, women were allowed to eat together with men or to eat food that was previously forbidden to them. Human sacrifices were banned and strict rules regarding high persons were relaxed. These changes were encouraged by Keōpūolani, the mother of Kamehameha II, and Kaahumanu. Both women were wives of Kamehameha I. Also the Hawaiian religion (including the gods Pele and Kupua) was abolished, although adherents can still be found. This policy was reinforced by the arrival of the first American Protestant missionaries in 1820. The Hawaiian kings pursued a policy of hospitality to foreigners, while playing the English against the Americans. For example, despite its strategic location, the archipelago managed to remain an independent state for most of the 19th century . There were, however, a few short-lived invasions by the British and French.

Revolution & annexation

In 1842, a trade treaty was signed between the Kingdom of Hawaii and the United States. The American missionaries and plantation owners began to demand more say, advocating for annexation by the United States. In 1893, a number of American sugar planters staged a coup, placed Queen Liliuokalani under arrest and opened the door for American conscription. When it became clear that US President-elect Grover Cleveland was against annexation, outgoing President Benjamin Harrison attemptedquickly push an annexation law through parliament. The Senate did not rush, however, and was still pending the bill when the handover took place in Washington on March 4, 1893. A week later, Cleveland withdrew the law.

Hawaii was a republic between 1893 and 1898. However, in 1895 the Wilcox Rebellion took place in which supporters of Liliuokalani tried to restore the monarchy. Cleveland was defeated in the 1897 election and Republicans returned to government. However, when President McKinley was in no hurry to annex Hawaii, Under Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt invented an incident involving a Japanese cruiser on March 22, 1898, prompting McKinley to spring into action. The Annexation Act was ratified on July 7, 1898, and from April 30, 1900, the area belonged to the United States as the Territory of Hawaii. Due to the strategic location of the islands, the naval base Pearl Harbor was established in 1899.

Over time, Hawaii’s main source of income shifted from sandalwood exports to whaling, sugarcane, pineapple, and finally tourism. To work in agriculture, many workers came to Hawaii from the 19th century on, successively from Japan, China, the Philippines and Portugal.

From 1941

The burning USS West Virginia during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (on the island of O’ahu) on December 7, 1941 by the Imperial Japanese Navy drew the United States into World War II. The Japanese population on the islands was mistrusted and many were detained in camps as a preventive measure. There were also many Japanese Americans who went into the military. The 442nd Infantry Regiment and the 100th Infantry Battalion were made up almost entirely of Japanese Americans, the majority of whom came from Hawaii. The 100th Infantry Battalion would go down in history as the most honored battalion nicknamed The purple heart brigade. Nearly one in three of its infantrymen would not survive the war.

The islands remained a US Territory until 1959. Meanwhile, the original population had become a minority (23% in 2000) and decided to become a US state (94.3% of the population voted), which happened on August 21, 1959. After this, strong political and economic reforms took place and tourism really took off. Only the island of Niihau has retained its original character. It is entirely privately owned and not accessible to outsiders except by invitation.

Hawaii History

Hawaii History
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