Hawaii History - the history of Hawaii
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Hawaii   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Hawaii History


Hawaii History

Hawaii was first settled by Polynesian people. The process by which this took place is still a matter of debate among archaelogists, with some favoring in a theory of a single continuous migration, and others favoring a theory involving two separate waves of migration.

It is not certain when the Europeans first visited the islands, but it is possible that Spanish explorers may have reached the islands during the 16th century. When British navigator, Captain James Cook encountered the islands in 1778, he was surprised to find them, and named them the Sandwich Islands after the First Lord of the Admiralty, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu.

Hawaii was united under a single ruler, Kamehameha I, for the first time in 1810. Until 1816, the chiefs considered the islands under British protection and flew the Union Jack. Hawaii then adopted a similar flag to the present Hawaiistate flag with a Union Jack in the canton (the top corner nearest the flagpole) and eight horizontal stripes representing the eight islands. In 1820, missionaries from a New England Congregationalist group arrived. Gradually they converted first the leading chiefs, and later the commoners to Protestant Christianity.

In the 1870s, Hawaii gradually drew closer to the United States. An 1874 treaty granted Americans exclusive grading rights. The 1876 Reciprocity Treaty allowed duty free importation of Hawaiian grown sugar and rice into the United States. Following these treaties, the Hawaiian landscape was greatly altered by the irrigation requirements of new sugar cane plantations. Additionally, an influx of immigrants from Asia (initially Chinese and later Japanese) was encouraged, in order to work the plantations.

During the 19th century, there were several periods of instability. This culiminated in the Hawaiian Revolution of 1893 when the Queen was overthrown, with the wrongful involvement of (according to the then US President, Grover Cleveland), of US diplomatic and military representatives. Grover Cleveland was however unsuccessful in his attempts to get the Queen reinstated, and eventually accepted the legitimacy of her overthrow and the new government of the Republic of Hawaii. In 1896, William McKinley became President, and two years later he signed the Newlands Resolution which annexed Hawaii to the United States.

After annexation, Pearl Harbor became (and still is) an important US Navy base. The Empire of Japan's attack on this base on December 7th 1941 was the trigger for the entry of the US into World War II. The Japanese attack resulted in severe damage to the US fleet, including the sinking of nine ships, four of which were battleships.

In 1935 and 1937, US Congress deliberated on whether Hawaii should be admitted as a US state. However, southern states opposed the admission of non-white majority territory, and the question was put on hold. In 1950, Hawaii began a new campaign for statehood by putting the question on its ballots. In 1959 the goal of statehood was finally achieved, and Hawaii was admitted as the 50th state of the Union on August 21st.

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By James A. Michener

Random House Trade Paperbacks
Released: 2002-07-09
Paperback (937 pages)

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  • Dial Press
Product Description:
Pulitzer Prize–winning author James A. Michener brings Hawaii’s epic history vividly to life in a classic saga that has captivated readers since its initial publication in 1959. As the volcanic Hawaiian Islands sprout from the ocean floor, the land remains untouched for centuries—until, little more than a thousand years ago, Polynesian seafarers make the perilous journey across the Pacific, flourishing in this tropical paradise according to their ancient traditions. Then, in the early nineteenth century, American missionaries arrive, bringing with them a new creed and a new way of life. Based on exhaustive research and told in Michener’s immersive prose, Hawaii is the story of disparate peoples struggling to keep their identity, live in harmony, and, ultimately, join together.
Praise for Hawaii
“Wonderful . . . [a] mammoth epic of the islands.”The Baltimore Sun
“One novel you must not miss! A tremendous work from every point of view—thrilling, exciting, lusty, vivid, stupendous.”Chicago Tribune
“From Michener’s devotion to the islands, he has written a monumental chronicle of Hawaii, an extraordinary and fascinating novel.”Saturday Review
“Memorable . . . a superb biography of a people.”Houston Chronicle

Captive Paradise: A History of Hawaii

By James L. Haley

Released: 2015-12-08
Paperback (464 pages)

Captive Paradise: A History of Hawaii
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The most recent state to join the union, Hawaii is the only one to have once been a royal kingdom. After its "discovery" by Captain Cook in the late 18th Century, Hawaii was fought over by European powers determined to take advantage of its position as the crossroads of the Pacific. The arrival of the first missionaries marked the beginning of the struggle between a native culture with its ancient gods, sexual libertinism and rites of human sacrifice, and the rigid values of the Calvinists. While Hawaii's royal rulers adopted Christianity, they also fought to preserve their ancient ways. But the success of the ruthless American sugar barons sealed their fate and in 1893, the American Marines overthrew Lili'uokalani, the last queen of Hawaii.

James L. Haley's Captive Paradise is the story of King Kamehameha I, The Conqueror, who unified the islands through terror and bloodshed, but whose dynasty succumbed to inbreeding; of Gilded Age tycoons like Claus Spreckels who brilliantly outmaneuvered his competitors; of firebrand Lorrin Thurston, who was determined that Hawaii be ruled by whites; of President McKinley, who presided over the eventual annexation of the islands. Not for decades has there been such a vibrant and compelling portrait of an extraordinary place and its people.

Timeline Hawaii: An Illustrated Chronological History of the Islands

By Daniel Harrington

Mutual Pub Co
Paperback (224 pages)

Timeline Hawaii: An Illustrated Chronological History of the Islands
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This highly illustrated timeline, with over 300 photographs, moves readers through the history of Hawaiian Islands, telling a story point by point until a fuller picture emerges. In this volume are collected the dates and names of the men and women who have affected these Islands, some for the better, some for worse. Here is Kamehameha I, unifier of the Islands, alongside Captain Cook, whose voyages to the Islands precipitated years of contact with the West and the near eradication of Hawaiian culture. Here are a multitude of people and events that have shaped and made these Islands into what they have become. This timeline is not a picture of Hawaiian history in its totality; that would require a work of numerous volumes. It does, however, provide the reader with a starting point for further investigation and he or she is encouraged to read the entries gathered in the succeeding pages and seek out further volumes of history to gain a fuller understanding of the events.

Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen

By Liliuokalani

Mass Market Paperback (409 pages)

Hawaii s Story by Hawaii s Queen
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  • Hawaii s Story By Hawaii s Queen
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The Hawaiian kingdom's last monarch wrote her biography in 1897, the year before the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States. Her story covers six decades of island history told from the viewpoint of a major historical figure. Introduction by Glen Grant.

Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Venture

By Julia Flynn Siler

Julia Flynn Siler
Paperback (415 pages)

Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Venture
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"Only one American state was formally a sovereign monarchy. In this compelling narrative, the award-winning journalist Julia Flynn Siler chronicles how this Pacific kingdom, creation of a proud Polynesian people, was encountered, annexed, and absorbed." —Kevin Starr, historian, University of Southern California

Around 200 A.D., intrepid Polynesians paddled thousands of miles across the Pacific and arrived at an undisturbed archipelago. For centuries, their descendants lived with almost no contact from the Western world but in 1778 their profound isolation was shattered with the arrival of Captain Cook. Deftly weaving together a memorable cast of characters, Lost Kingdom brings to life the ensuing clash between the vulnerable Polynesian people and the relentlessly expanding capitalist powers. Portraits of royalty, rogues, sugar barons, and missionaries combine into a sweeping tale of the Hawaiian kingdom’s rise and fall.

At the center of the story is Lili‘uokalani, the last queen of Hawaii. Born in 1838, she lived through the nearly complete economic transformation of the islands. Lucrative sugar plantations owned almost exclusively by white planters, dubbed the "Sugar Kings," gradually subsumed the majority of the land. Hawaii became a prize in the contest between America, Britain, and France, each of whom were seeking to expand their military and commercial influence in the Pacific.

Lost Kingdom is the tragic story of Lili‘uokalani’s family and their fortunes. The monarchy had become a figurehead, victim to manipulation from the wealthy sugar-plantation owners. Upon ascending to the throne, Lili‘uokalani was determined to enact a constitution reinstating the monarchy’s power but she was outmaneuvered and, in January 1893, U.S. Marines from the USS Boston marched through the streets of Honolulu to the palace. The annexation of Hawaii had begun, ushering in a new century of American imperialism.

Hawai'i:: A History of the Big Island (Making of America)

By Robert F. Oaks

Brand: Arcadia Publishing
Released: 2003-11-06
Paperback (160 pages)

Hawai i:: A History of the Big Island (Making of America)
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Although its soils are the youngest in the Hawaiian chain, the Big Island's chronicles are at times epic, tragic, and heroic, but always fascinating. Modern Hawai'i is filled with tradition and mythology, accommodating influences as diverse as its inviting landscape. Kamehameha stood tall to mold this nascent region into a unified kingdom and others fought to sustain it, while outside forces molded and shaped this island in astonishing ways.

Paradise of the Pacific: Approaching Hawaii

By Susanna Moore

Susanna Moore
Released: 2016-08-02
Paperback (320 pages)

Paradise of the Pacific: Approaching Hawaii
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  • Paradise of the Pacific Approaching Hawaii
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The dramatic history of America's tropical paradise

The history of Hawaii may be said to be the story of arrivals―from the eruption of volcanoes on the ocean floor 18,000 feet below, the first hardy seeds that over millennia found their way to the islands, and the confused birds blown from their migratory routes, to the early Polynesian adventurers who sailed across the Pacific in double canoes, the Spanish galleons en route to the Philippines, and the British navigators in search of a Northwest Passage, soon followed by pious Protestant missionaries, shipwrecked sailors, and rowdy Irish poachers escaped from Botany Bay―all wanderers washed ashore, sometimes by accident. This is true of many cultures, but in Hawaii, no one seems to have left. And in Hawaii, a set of myths accompanied each of these migrants―legends that shape our understanding of this mysterious place.
In Paradise of the Pacific, Susanna Moore, the award-winning author of In the Cut and The Life of Objects, pieces together the elusive, dramatic story of late-eighteenth-century Hawaii―its kings and queens, gods and goddesses, missionaries, migrants, and explorers―a not-so-distant time of abrupt transition, in which an isolated pagan world of human sacrifice and strict taboo, without a currency or a written language, was confronted with the equally ritualized world of capitalism, Western education, and Christian values.

Shoal Of Time: A History Of The Hawaiian Islands (Fiftieth Anniversary Edition)

By Gavan Daws

Released: 2015-06-30
Kindle Edition (512 pages)

Shoal Of Time: A History Of The Hawaiian Islands (Fiftieth Anniversary Edition)
Product Description:
"The loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean." --Mark Twain

A tropical paradise in mid-Pacific, eternal, undisturbed--that is the seductive myth of Hawaiʻi.

In SHOAL OF TIME, the alltime bestselling history of the islands, Gavan Daws tells the real-life story: how the winds of change, blowing from the big world, gusted through human life in Hawaiʻi for more than two centuries, at hurricane force.

The islands were mapped for the first time in 1778. Immediately, Western traders started trafficking in guns. American missionaries brought the Ten Commandments. Con men turned up. Dreamers and delusionals. And all kinds of escapees from civilization--hang your conscience on Cape Horn and have your way with brown-skinned native girls. By mid-nineteenth century, with the Pacific whaling industry at its peak, drunken sailors were coming ashore at Honolulu and Lahaina in thousands, looking for sex, finding it--and spreading diseases of the big world. Syphilis, gonorrhea, cholera, typhus, influenza, measles, tuberculosis, smallpox, bubonic plague, leprosy. In 1778 there were hundreds of thousands of Hawaiians; by 1900, no more than forty thousand.

The Hawaiian kingdom was tiny, and the big world was huge. The nineteenth century was the high water mark of Western imperialism, worldwide, and the great powers were planting their flags across the Pacific. Hawaiʻi was in their sights, and often enough there were warships in Honolulu harbor.

By late in the century, two strong American currents were running, one east from the islands, one west from the continent.

Sugar plantations had become Hawaiʻi's biggest moneymaker. American dollars were lifeblood to Hawaiʻi. And many of the biggest names in the business were of American blood--the sons of missionaries, devout capitalists.

Big plantations demanded a big work force. White men were not going to slave in tropical heat, and there were not enough Hawaiians left alive. The planters turned to Asia. Chinese were shipped in, then Japanese, Koreans, and Filipinos--contract labor, human units of work, tens of thousands.

At the same time, the United States was beginning to envision itself as an imperial naval power in the Pacific. This was the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, and Hawaiʻi's Pearl Harbor was a strategic key.

Manifest Destiny was powered by an absolute certainty that the white race was born to rule. The "mission boys" were citizens of the Hawaiian kingdom by birth--but their blood ran American and their bank accounts were in dollars. In 1893, with an American warship in Honolulu harbor and Marines on the streets, they forced Queen Liliʻuokalani to surrender the kingdom to them, and straight away they offered Hawaiʻi to the United States.

The Hawaiians resisted, but they could not hold off the big world.

From warrior culture to constitutional government, to unstable monarchy, to revolution, to provisional government, to republic, to annexation, it had taken barely a hundred years.

From annexation to statehood took six decades more struggle. Class war--big business breaking strikes with shotguns. World War II--the bombing of Pearl Harbor, martial law, forcible internment of Hawaiʻi Japanese. Cold War--investigation after investigation of the islands as an alleged hotbed of communism. And in Congress, decades of white resistance to multiracialism.

Finally, in 1959, Hawaii was admitted the Union . . . Fiftieth Star . . . Aloha State.

Queen Liliuokalani: The Hawaiian Kingdom's Last Monarch, Hawaii History, A Biography

By Kale Makana

Makana Kale
Paperback (50 pages)

Queen Liliuokalani: The Hawaiian Kingdom s Last Monarch, Hawaii History, A Biography
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  • Queen Liliuokalani The Hawaiian Kingdom s Last Monarch Hawaii History a Biography
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Discover Queen Liliuokalani, The Hawaiian Kingdom's Last Monarch...

The 1800’s, particularly the latter half of that century, was a time full of change, orchestrated chaos, and new beginnings. England was in the throes of the Industrial Revolution. The United States of America was blazing a trail for the western half of the country. In addition to the exploration of the continent, the country broke out in a civil war over the matter of states’ rights. South America was in a sort of Cultural Revolution as they drifted away from the control of Spain and their governments were ruled by military dictators. Yet, located in the center of Pacific Ocean, a string of islands existed making waves in World History comparable to any other much larger country or nation. This string of islands is referred to today as Hawaii.

From how the archipelago measuring over three thousand kilometers long formed the first settlement to the unification of the islands by King Kamehameha the Great, Hawaii’s rich culture, and history takes a hold of you and takes you on a ride of the highs and lows of the monarchy—that is, until subterfuge, trickery, and greed snatch the islands from the hands of the last monarch—Queen Lili’uokalanai.

Watch as in a matter of forty eight years, the population of native Hawaiians drops from ninety five percent to a tiny fifteen percent. The young princess must make a decision that could cost many of those under her control the loss of financial prosperity and choose between the lives of her people or their livelihood. Follow along as William McKinley deals a final blow to the Hawaiian Kingdom with his McKinley Tariff Act of 1890.

Then came the day that the tiny kingdom would find itself absorbed into another—the day that Hawaii became a territory of the United States of America in 1898 after the overthrow & imprisonment of the Queen sliced through the heart of a kingdom forever changing its history.

Hawaii: An Uncommon History

By Edward Joesting

W.W. Norton & Co
Paperback (353 pages)
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  • Beautiful red cover - paperback 353 pages
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"Even if you know Hawaiian history you will find much here that is new, besides Knowledge, both love and understanding of th islands " Jacob Adler

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