A Brief History:
Sometime after the beginning of the Christian era, Polynesians set foot on these islands. Linguistic and cultural evidence suggests that the first inhabitants came form the Marquesas group, to the north of Tahiti.
During the 13th and 14th centuries, waves of immigrants from Tahiti overwhelmed and absorbed the original people. Since the earliest Hawaiians were possibly somewhat smaller than the immigrants, they may form the basis for the menehunes, who were pictured by the Hawaiians as hardworking elves.
Captain James Cook, the great explorer, happened upon the islands during his third voyage in 1778. Hawaii's long isolation ended at that moment. Soon King Kamehameha embarked on his successful campaign to overthrow and unite all of the islands of Hawaii into one kingdom under his rule. At about the same time, Hawaii assumed importance in the east-west fur trade and later as the center for the Pacific whaling industry. Whaling and the provisioning fleet brought new money to the island economy. At times, as many as 500 whaling ships wintered in Hawaiian ports, principally Lahaina and Honolulu.
In 1820 the brig Thaddeus from Boston arrived with the first missionary families. Change came at a rapid pace as both education and commerce assumed growing importance. The old polytheistic and superstitious Hawaiian culture disappeared rapidly under the onslaught of new ways and new peoples. Ways and peoples that brought not only good Christian values, but many diseases, to which the previously isolated Hawaiians were all too susceptible.
In 1835, the first production of sugar cane began and this crop took on ever increasing economic importance, especially after the decline of the great whaling fleets. Native Hawaiians did not take kindly to the tedious labor of a plantation worker and, in any case, the native Hawaiian population had been seriously depleted by disease. Thus began the importation of labor from Asia, the Philippines, and other areas of the world. It is this varied population that gave rise to the immense variety of Hawaii's present inhabitants.
Threatened constantly by European nations eager to add Hawaii to their empires, sugar planters and American businessmen began to seek refuge and annexation by the United States. This would give Hawaii the advantages of a sugar market free of tariff duties. And a State and or Nation free of European control, domination, and taxation. Finally a treaty of reciprocity was negotiated in 1875 and this brought new prosperity to Hawaii. Because Hawaii sought freedom over domination, American wealth poured into the investment seeking islands.
Political control by the Hawaiian royalty and the growing influence of Americans began to cause conflict. In 1889 there was an uprising of the native islanders against the constitution which had been agreed upon by King Kalakaua two years earlier. The rebellion was suppressed.
In 1893 with Queen Liliuokalani on the throne, the Americans, along with the queen, formed a Committee of Safety and declared the monarchy ended. In 1894 the Republic of Hawaii was established. On August 12, 1898, a treaty of annexation was negotiated with the United States and a formal transfer of sovereignty was made with the promise of eventual statehood. Hawaii became a territory of the United States in 1900.
The pattern of growth then began to accelerate even more rapidly. The U.S. Navy set up its giant Pacific Headquarters at Pearl Harbor and the Army built a huge garrison at Schofield Barracks. Pineapple, sugar cane, cattle ranching, and tourism slowly began to take on greater importance in the island economy.
The attack on Pearl Harbor marked America's entry into World War II. Hawaii and its citizens played a major role in the conflict.The postwar period saw many rapid changes with the descendants of plantation laborers rising to the highest prominence in business, labor, and government.
Hawaii proved eager to take on the full responsibility of statehood. Under the leadership of Hawaii's last delegate to Congress, John A. Burns. The 86th Congress approved statehood and the bill was signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on March 18, 1959. Hawaii was admitted as the 50th state of the union on August 21, 1959.
Though we Polynesians have suffered hardships(as have many godly cultures), we appreciate and thank God for the freedom He has given us through Jesus Christ and the United States of America.
The hardships we have faced, coupled with our generosity, our need to share all that God has given us, and our love for mankind will prove to be our lasting trademarks when all that is seemingly important is gone.
A huge mahalo to those of you, who like us, will endure to the end!
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