History of Hawaii

If you are interested in the history of Hawaii, here is an article for you.
Hawaii is the land of beaches, hibiscus, fun and frolic. Apart from that Hawaii has an interesting history, which attracts less attention but is also important to understand the culture of Hawaii and its people. At present Hawaii is a part of United States and has two representatives of United States of America stationed there. Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii. The origin of the name of Hawaii is unknown though some are of the opinion that it is named after its traditional discoverer Hawaii Loa or it was named after the name of the traditional home of the Polynesians.

Brief History Of Hawaii

Much of the Hawaiian history is shrouded in a veil of mystery because most of the details when the Polynesians entered the island are unknown. The reason behind this is that the people of Hawaii did not have writing system therefore the period before the Europeans stepped on the island is unknown. They maintained their records with the help of legends and chants, which disappeared, with the deaths of the learned people of the Hawaiians who shouldered the responsibility of passing on the history to the next generation.

After the Polynesians came the British explorer Captain James Cook and after him came the new phase in the history of Hawaii. It happened on January 20 in 1778 when Captain Cook entered the islands of Kauai and Niihau. He described the Hawaiian Islands as the Sandwich Islands. After a decade came the Chinese and then the Spanish who started using Hawaii's fertile lands for the cultivation of pineapple. King Kamehameha united the islands of Hawaii in 1810 and till 1816 the leaders of the islands used the Union Jack, to signify that they were under British protection. Then after 1816 a flag somewhat similar to the modern flag was adopted by the State of Hawaii which has the Union Jack at the top with the eight horizontal strips that represent the eight major islands of Hawaii that are as follows:
  • Hawaii
  • Kahoolawe
  • Maui
  • Lanai
  • Molokai
  • Oahu
  • Kauai
  • Niihau
With so many visitors coming in to the previously unexplored came with many diseases which led to a downfall in the original Hawaiian population. The influence of foreign visitors also did some good things for Hawaii like the abolition of Kapu according which men and women could not eat together though the contribution of King Kamehameha's mother and his father's queen were considerable.

After this the Christian missionaries started coming in around in 1820 and converted the chiefs and the remaining population of Hawaii. The death of bachelor king Kamehameha was great blow to the monarchy of Hawaii. So now the next king was chosen by popular election and Lunalio won it. After Lunalio nobody else had the potential to hold the reins of the kingdom which is why it went into the hands of some American and British businessmen who mad sure that they earned maximum income from these Hawaiian Islands. Ultimately Hawaii became a republic in 1894 but then the United States of America soon annexed it on July 7, 1898.
By Poushali Ganguly
Published: 1/23/2008
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