In modern times the US state of Hawaii is certainly one of the top travel destinations on the planet, and to quote the American author, Mark Twain, Hawaii is the finest fleet of islands that is anchored in any ocean…”
However, the first inhabitants to set foot here sometime around 500 AD were not on holiday but rather wandering Polynesians from the Marquesas looking for a new land and a new beginning 500 years later the Tahitians also discovered these beautiful islands and throughout the 13th century thousands of immigrants from Tahiti made the long, perilous journey across the Pacific to Hawaii.
In 1778 the famous British explorer Captain James Cook arrived in this paradise and he named this yet unexplored archipelago the Sandwich Islands, after the Earl of Sandwich. Captain Cook was at first revered as a (sort of) God by the locals, but he was later stabbed to death on the Big Island. Shortly thereafter, the reign of ‘King Kamehameha the Great’ began. He established a monarchy, united the islands into one great kingdom, and began trading with Western courts. Soon the potential generosity of Hawaii spread far and wide. Sailors by a count found their way here, and in the early 1800s whaling ships were anchored in Hawaiian ports, as the islands were now the epicenter for Pacific Ocean whaling.
Hundreds of ships and thousands of crew brought new money, but they also brought (yet unknown to the islanders) weak social values and disease. Christian missionaries would later introduce religion and much stricter social mores in an attempt to curtail the somewhat pagan way of life then prevalent throughout the islands – and for the most part – they succeeded.
In the mid-1800s, Hawaii’s sugar industry was established, and because many of the original locals were now dead and others refused to work in manual labor, the plantation owners brought in foreign workers from China, Japan, and even from the Philippines.
The wildly successful sugar industry desired sanctuary from greedy outsiders, so they sought protection from the US. After years of negotiations with the United States, an agreement was signed, US dollars flooded the islands, and Hawaii found a golden ring of prosperity.
In 1893, foreign commercial interests were the primary catalyst for the end of the Hawaiian monarchy. Much to the dismay of Queen Liliuokalani and others, the last Hawaiian queen was overthrown by force, and one year later the Republic of Hawaii was established. In 1900, Hawaii became a territory of the United States.
To protect its interests, the US Navy established its Pacific headquarters at Pearl Harbor. This component of stability has helped the islands flourish; the pineapple industry flourished, and cattle ranching and tourism developed into important economic factors.
Then on December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. and World War II (in the Pacific) began. The islands and countless Hawaiians played a significant role in that war, a role that America will never forget. After the end of the war, statehood negotiations were in the air and the 86th Congress proudly approved statehood for Hawaii as it was admitted to the union on August 21, 1959 as the 50th state.
- Topschoolsintheusa: Guides to study in Hawaii, including geography, climate, economy, and tourism of the state.
- A2zcamerablog: Offers general information about Hawaii, covering history, population, economy and county list.
- Campingship: State outline of Hawaii, including geography location, state capital, brief history and a list of largest counties by area.
Statehood brought development, and subsequently transformed Hawaii into a major tourist destination and a strong economic force in the Pacific.
However, the return of Hawaiian sovereignty is once again on the political front burners of many native Hawaiian sons and daughters. In short, they want all their islands back, and some even want the traditional monarchy restored.
For now, the island’s long fortification into the US federal and state bureaucracy, as well as significant non-Hawaiian investment throughout the islands are the obvious major obstacles to the same.
Flags of Hawaii
The flag originally represented the independent kingdom of Hawaii and was designed at the request of King Kamehameha I.
The British National Flag of the United Kingdom (upper left) recalls a similar flag presented to the King by a British officer in 1793.