The History of Aloha
In 1959, Hawaii become the 50th state in the United States but the history of our islands goes back millennia.
Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands arrived in Hawaii about 1,500 years ago. Voyaging the immense Pacific Ocean, these fearless travelers used only the stars, waves and other natural phenomenon to guide them.
The first voyage surely would have been an accidental discovery after an astonishing 2,000 miles in small canoes.
It was 500 years later that voyagers from Tahiti set foot on shore and brought their gods, demi-gods and a strict social hierarchy based on a kapu or taboo system.
Over the next centuries the Hawaiian culture flourished resulting in a diverse and complex society. They gave rise to the Hula, the sport of surfing, but also spawned conflicts between competing chieftains.
English explorers, Captain James Cook landed on the Island of Kauai at Waimea Bay in 1778, quickly naming the entire chain as "Sandwich Islands" in honor of an English Lord.
On a return trip, Cook was killed by Islanders on the Big Island at Kealakekua Bay.
Island rivalries remained until 1791 when King Kamehameha managed to unite the warring factions into one kingdom in 1810. A year after Kamehamea's death, his son Liholiho, abolished the ancient kapu system.
Protestant missionaries arrived on the islands in 1820, and precipitously stepped into the void created by the banned kapu system. Soon Hawaii became a port of call for seamen, traders and whalers.
Whaling brought a boom especially to Maui, but western diseases ravaged the natives.
Over time American Colonists came to control much of Hawaii's business trade and in 1898, they overthrew the Hawaiian Kingdom in a peaceful coup that remains controversial. That year, the United States declared Hawaii a territory.
Economics & Conflict
Agriculture expanded quickly in Hawaii especially sugar and pineapple plantations. To staff these operations, workers were imported from China, Japan, Philippines and Portugal.
In particular the Island of Lanai, led by James Dole, became known as the "Pineapple Island" and the world's top producers of that fruit.
Hawaii has not been without its difficulties. In particular in 1941 the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attacked on Oahu's Pearl Harbor that resulted in the death of thousands and the United States entry into World War II in the Pacific.
Japan's unconditional surrender took place on the USS battleship Missouri, which still rests in Pearl Harbor.
As 1959 arrived, Hawaii was welcomed as the 50th State of the United States. Still today, America's armed forces are ideally suited in Hawaii to respond to threats all across the Pacific.
Hawaii's location in the middle of the giant Pacific Ocean, has also allowed it to become a truly global gathering place for travelers and business.
Culture & Arts
Perhaps the most memorable and even surprising realization for visitors is the revelation of music, dance, story telling and theatre that permeates every corner of the Hawaiian Islands.
Here the arts are not just for enjoyment, but for the celebration of life and to which everyone is invited.
While many travel destinations around the world can boast sun, surf and good weather, visitors come to explore a society that is more welcoming, more accepting and more comforting than any other.
Over the centuries, and contrary to expectations that mixing so many diverse groups could lead to conflict, it is Hawaii's mix of cultures that makes today's Hawaii population so diverse and welcoming.
The spirit of Aloha is not an advertising slogan or jingle. Hawaii is known to be the place where compassion, understanding and diversity were first realized and treasured
Please, come visit our islands. Soak in the spirit of Aloha. Receive our gracious Mahalo and return again and again to a place blessed with all that is good in life..
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