A History of Our Hawaiian Islands - from various sources . . .
by Al Gonzales, OurFutureHawaii.com
AD 400 - Estimated to be the time of the first migrations to Hawai`i from Southeast Asia and the Marquesas Islands, a gentle people free of class subjugation and war. Their intricate work on the exquisite fish pond and Menemhune ditch are great examples of their work. Sometimes called the Melanesian Polynesians and even thought to have been the mythical Menehune of Hawaiian legends.
AD 900-1100 - The immigration of war-like people from Tahiti enslaved the previous migrations of people and the leaders maintained rule by fear and violence: smashed heads, gouged eyes, branding, drowning, strangulation, decapitation, live burials and roasting alive to name only a few of the methods of rule. The Tahitian immigration brought a warring people who took peace from the land for nearly a thousand years. The common people lived in everyday fear of death and in slavery. Even the shadow of a commoner falling across the feet on an Ali`i could cause instant death.
1758 - King Kamehameha was born on Hawaii Island in Kohala. And grew to see a dream of unifying the Island under his absolute authority.
1/18/1778 - Isolated by time and space, alone and surrounded by the Pacific Ocean for thousands of miles in all directions lies Hawaii, the uttermost parts of the earth. The Estimated population of Hawaii at this time was between 300,000 to 500,000. Captain James Cook did not discover Hawaii until 286 years after the discovery of the Americas. Cook took a year exploring the Islands laying in provisions and making ships repairs. The first contact with Hawaii fit a prophesy concerning the coming of the god. Lono. The ship was royally greeted and supplied this first time. But unfortunately, Cook did not know that the prophesy concerning Lono did not predict a return visit. Cook returned needing repairs and provisions. Due to the attempted theft of a shore boat for the metal by the Hawaiians and suspicion that Capt. Cook was not really the god Lono. On February 14th, a skirmish broke out at Kealakekua Bay. Capt. Cook tried to intervene and was struck and began to bleed. The Hawaiians then knew that he was a mere mortal and not Lono. Capt. Cook was killed with the next blows. Captain Clarke the second in command of the mission wanted to smooth things over with the Hawaiian's and make peace with the chiefs. A few more skirmishes occurred but on the 21st of February 1778 the Hawaiians returned some of Captain Cook's bones and there was a tenuous peace.
179? - The chiefs and Ali`i were constantly fighting for power. From among these warring chiefs arose Kamehameha, known as the Great. Kamehameha was born in Kohala on the Island of Hawai`i. There are temple sites, like Mo’okini Heiau that date back to perhaps 1,000 AD. In Kohala the war god of Kamehameha, Kuka’ilimoku, was the inspiration for this 100' x 224' heiau in 1791. The temple was dedicated with the blood sacrifice to Ku of Kamehameha’s invited cousin Keoua.
The death of Keoua ended all opposition to Kamehameha on the Island of Hawai`i. Two young British seaman, Isaac Davis & John Young were responsible for bringing Kamehameha into the knowledge of gun powder and cannon. This is considered a primary factor in the conquest of the Hawaiian Islands by Kamehameha. He was greatly impressed by the English technology and craftsmanship.
The King found tutors and advisors and gathered war expertise in exchange for lands, slaves and wives. With this British expertise he began to control trade and later subjugated Mau`i and O`ahu by cannon on war canoes from his base on Island of Hawaii and by 1810 had become a very powerful and wealthy Hawaiian King. Kauai was not conquered but later did submit to Kamehameha's rule to become their King and unify the Hawaiian Islands.
The fur traders and merchant ships heading to China realized they could economically barter for provisions in Hawaii. For instance any type of iron, a common nail, chisel, or knife, could fetch far more fresh fruit meat and water than a large sum of money would in any other port. The Hawaiian Ali`i and chiefs were eager to obtain modern weapons and rewarded those captains who supplied them handsomely.
The captains of these ships not only sought food and supplies, but manpower. As it was a frequent occurrence for sailors to die or desert on these voyages good sailors were hard to find. The strong adventurous Hawaiians were more than up to the task of sailing on these tall ships.
Five of these adventurous Hawaiian sailors Henry Obookiah*, Thomas Hopu, William Kanui, John Honolii, and George Tamoree made it to New England where they became Christians. These young men looking for adventure, all were converted to Christ as Lord in there own unique way.
Their desire was to return to Hawaii to bring the “torch of life” , Christianity, to their people. These trader contacts also began the serious plagues of the “trader’s diseases” including STD’s, Leprosy, and many other diseases for which the Hawaiians had no immunities. In time the Hawaiian population would plummet from 300,000 to 500,000 in 1778 to only 30,000 by 1900.
The Hawaiian religious system demanded death for the breaking of a kapu. If men and women ate together, the penalty was death. If a woman ate pork or certain fish or bananas the penalty was death. If the shadow of a commoner fell on an Ali`i or chief the penalty was death. The Hawaiian gods were hard taskmasters demanding all manner of sacrifice and offerings.
The Kapu system was enforced by the Ali`i who gave authority to the high chiefs and the high chiefs gave power to their various sub‑chiefs and at the bottom of the system was the commoner. All of the commoners were slaves to the chiefs and the chiefs were slaves to the Ali`i. Nothing was ever owned by the people, it could only be used by the permission of the chief or Ali`i for his purposes.
1800 - By this time King Kamehameha I was ruling like a British Crown Colony with uniforms of the Court of St. James with helmets, gold-brad, cannons and the Union Jack. Many Hawaiians were killed due to his forced unification of the Islands of Hawai`i. Whole villages were pushed off of the Pali in Oahu to their death.
In one of these battles for power between two warring chiefs, Henry Obookiah* at the age of about 12, helplessly watched as his parents were butchered before his eyes. Henry escaped with his infant brother, but as he was running with his brother slung over his back the child was struck with a spear and also died. Henry was then forced to live as a slave with the man who killed his mother and father. It appeared he would be sacrificed to a god as the other prisoners with him had just been thrown over a cliff as a sacrifice. Being alert to the peril he took a chance and escaped.
Shortly after that an uncle who was a priest rescued him and took him in. Life in Hawai`i had not been good to Henry and when he saw that tall ship, the Triumph, in Kealakekua Bay he swam out to it, with all the hopes and desires of leaving Hawai`i for a better life.
Captain Caleb Brintnall through interpreters realized Henry wanted to leave Hawai`i on his ship. Henry now about 15 was signed on as a cabin boy. Henry met Thomas Hopu another Hawaiian boy in search of adventure on the ship. Both Henry and Thomas would become original members of the American Board Mission to Hawai`i; though only one would return to Hawai`i.
As fate would have it at the age of 26 in Cornwall Connecticut, Henry would succumb to the typhus fever on February 17th, 1818. Henry's Christian testimony was published and became a best seller. The profits of the book "Memoirs of Henry Obookiah" were used to finance the missionary journeys to Hawai`i and other lands. Inspired and encouraged by the dramatic testimony and conversion of Henry Obookiah the first missionaries sailed for Hawaii, on October 23rd, 1819 aboard the Thaddeus.
The Missionaries had left all their future in America and had sold all that they possessed, farms, homes to come to Hawai`i. They had made a solemn commitment to God and each other to spend the rest of their lives serving the Hawaiian people in virtual poverty with only their stipends from New England. Yet, they knew all to well that they needed the approval of King Kamehameha and that the Kapu Priests would not welcome their presence. On the morning of March 30th, 1820 the missionaries saw Hawai`i for the first time.
The Thaddeus cruised along the Kohala coast on a southwest course nearing Kawaihae. The wind and water became calm so Captain Blanchard sent a small rowboat with James Hunnewell a ships officer, Thomas Hopu and John Honoli`i two of the Hawaiian Missionaries ashore. Their task was to find out the whereabouts of King Kamehameha and the state of his Kingdom. One disapproving word from the King and the mission would be over before it had begun. Minutes passed like hours as they watched for the boats return. Finally after three hours, an eternity, the boat returned. Thomas and John were so excited they could only speak in Hawaiian.
Nov. 1819 - After the death of Kamehameha I, in November of 1819 and before the arrival of Christian missionaries, doubts about the ancient religion led to its abandonment by the regent, Ka’ahumanu, and Liholiho (Kamehameha II).Traditionalists rallied to Kekuakalani, custodian of the war god. Here, in the Battle of Kuamo’o they were defeated by the Monarchy troops led be the premier, Kalanimoku, and the old religion died in a blaze of musket fire.
Both sides had firearms, and more than 300 were killed, including Kekuaokalani and his wife Manono. The dead were interred in the rock cairns visible on this lava field in the Lekeleke Burial Grounds at Kuamo’o Bay at Keauhou. The kapu system was finally destroyed by the Hawaiian Monarchy and the priests & kahunas were overthrown, killed or dispersed, temples were demolished and the kapu’s shattered. This was the end result of the bondage and pain caused by the kapu system and the privileged treatment that was demanded by the kahunas. This action resulted in both peace and a great spiritual vacuum for the Hawaiians as a people.
3/30/1820 - The ship Thaddeus arrived with Congregational Missionaries to Hawaii. And began to teach the people against the orgies, opium dens, soliciting of native women and other forms of vice. The missionaries were not versed in Hawaiian customs but they did know about the serious problems concerning the STD’s of their days and tried to, unsuccessfully, help the Hawaiian people avoid this great scourge.
It is my personal opinion that the Hawaiian people who remained after the great plagues of death through that century owe their lives to the 1820 missionaries. These missionaries came by invitation of Henry Opuakahaia of 1809 and the Hawaiian Ali`i. The Hawaiian people had heard about the “Torch of Life” of Jesus Christ and were searching for a new spiritual ethos. So as the Christian faith came in 1820 and thousands were taught “The Way” and found peace in the Christian faith It was obvious to the missionaries that God had prepared the way for them. The great Hawaiian miracle had taken place, and all of the obstacles that could have prevented the Gospel from being preached had been removed.
Even Hewahewa the highest kahuna (priest) and direct descendant of Pa`au, the original Kahuna from Tahiti, was the first to set fire to a heiau (temple). He declared: "I knew the wooden images of deities, carved by our own hands, could not supply our wants, but worshiped them because it was a custom of our fathers. My thoughts has always been, there is only one great God, dwelling in the heavens." Hewahewa also prophesied that a new God was coming and he went to Kawaihae to wait for the new God, at the very spot were the missionaries first landed. King Kamehameh died five months before the missionaries sailed but they had no knowledge of his death before their departure. In less than the span of one year from his death, and as the missionaries were at sea, the Kapu system had been dissolved, and a civil war had taken place. In the midst of this chaos, the stage is divinely set for the entrance of the missionaries with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The missionaries brought a message of peace, tranquility, and Aloha.
6/7/1839 - Declaration of Rights by Kamehameha III
6/17/1839 - Edict of Toleration for ALL religions.
8/8/1840 - Written Constitution was made with missionary influence to maintain Hawaiian independence from foreign countries like the United States, Britain and France
7/31/1843 - Kamehameha III spoke the words that have become the motto of Hawaii: “Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono” at Kawaiahao Church “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”
1848-50 - The Great Mahele, land reapportionment, the distribution of land ownership to the common people. Although meant with good intentions, unfortunately, the Great Mahele enabled foreigners to buy most of the land. Eventually, 90% of Hawai`i was owned by FOREIGNERS!
1853 - By this time the Hawaiian population was being greatly reduced by the “trader’s diseases”. By 1900 there was less than 10% of the original Hawaiian population left or about 30,000 Hawaiian people. The people were generally not heeding the missionary’s cry for celibacy or a monogamous relationships in marriage. We have the same problem today with STD’s and AIDS worldwide. Had the missionaries not come in 1820 it is doubtful that any of the Hawaiian people would be alive today.
12/15/1861 - King Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho) and Queen Victoria of England with the concurrence of the Archbishop of Canterbury did establish the Hawaiian Reformed Catholic Church. This church remains to this date but the property was turned over to the Episcopal Church of the United States with the take over of the provisional government in 1902. This original church was the Anglican Church of England, selected by the Monarchy as their choice of worship for themselves.
1865 - The church/home support was terminated for the Congregational Missionaries. Other faiths were also now at work: Catholic, Mormon, Episcopal and other religions from the Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Filipinos and Puerto Ricans. The missionaries now found themselves responsible for their own support in Hawai`i. When it became necessary for the missionaries to either return to New England with all of their families or to become self supporting in Hawai`i, they elected to stay and to become self supporting.
1874 - The reign of King Kalakaua lasted 17 years and enjoyed a great resurgence of Hawaiian culture. Queen Liliuokalani was defeated as sovereign under a Constitutional Monarchy vote. Kalakaua and Liliuokalani were not friends and were not in accord as to how to rule Hawai`i.
1875 - King Kalakaua signs the Reciprocity Treaty with the United States
1891 - King Kalakaua was a 33 degree Mason and built the Iolani Palace requiring many loans. He was known for gross extravagance and placed the Hawaiian Kingdom into very serious debt. Large tracts of land were also traded for the money to build the palace. He died of Bright’s disease at the age of 54.
1/29/1891 - Queen Liliuokalani was sworn into office, and immediately began to try to quickly undue the political legacy of King Kalakaua and ratify a new constitution restoring power to the Hawaiian people. At this time the immigrants to Hawaii outnumbered the Hawaiian people by four to one.
The last census done in the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1890 listed the entire population at 89,990. Here follows the breakdown by nationality:
1/4/1893 - The Queen forced the former Wilcox cabinet of Kalakaua to resign and headed in a new direction for Hawai`i with a new constitution in which the monarchy and the 30,000 remaining Hawaiian’s would restore authority of the small Nation of Hawaii to the Monarchy.
1/14/1893 - The Queen signed the lottery and the opium bills into law and proclaimed the new constitution. The new constitution would restore power to the crown. The newly selected Queen’s Cabinet Ministers refused to sign the new constitution into law and justly feared a violent conflict between the different interest groups now in Hawai`i.. The new constitution was tabled for 2 weeks due to threats of violence and possible loss of property. During those two weeks a provisional government was appointed. The then provisional Government of Hawaii then requested to be placed under the United States for protection during the ensuing negotiations.
2/19/1893 - The provisional government sent a five man commission to Washington, D.C. to negotiate a treaty of union with the U.S. The Queen’s envoys were also sent to Washington but against the Queen’s instructions they also talked freely in favor of Hawaiian annexation when they arrived in Washington, D.C.
7/4/1894 - The Republic of Hawaii was instituted out of fear that the U.S. might not extend protection to the emigrants, settlers and business owners in Hawai`i.
1894-98? - Queen Liliuokalani proposed to issue licenses for the importation and sale of opium. I did think it would be wise to adopt measures for restricting and controlling a trade which it is impossible to suppress. With a Chinese population of over twenty thousand persons, it is absolutely impossible to prevent smuggling, unlawful trade, bribery, corruption, and every abuse. Some of the most prominent citizens have been connected with these affairs, and frauds have been unearthed even in the custom-house itself. The Provisional Government seems to have had no scruples in the matter. The sons of the missionaries exported a large quantity of confiscated opium, and sold it for fifty thousand dollars a pound in British Columbia.
1897 - In protest to the annexation of Hawaii to the U.S. a Japanese warship arrives in Pearl Harbor. The U.S. Congress debates the annexation treaty over the next three years. About 40% of the Hawaiian population was Japanese at this time.
6/14/1900 - A Territorial Treaty is signed with the United States. The population then stood at: 30,000 Hawaiians, 10,000 part Hawaiians, 27,000 Caucasians, 26,000 Chinese, 61,000 Japanese. There was a major concern that the Japanese would try to incorporate Hawaii due to the high number of Japanese immigrants. The total population was at about 151,000 at this time.
Ancient Hawaiʻi was a caste society. The main classes were:
- Aliʻi. This class consisted of the high and lesser chiefs of the realms. They governed with divine power calledmana.
- Kahuna. Priests conducted religious ceremonies, at the heiau and elsewhere. Professionals included master carpenters and boatbuilders, chanters, dancers, genealogists, physicians and healers.
- Makaʻāinana. Commoners farmed, fished, and exercised the simpler crafts. They labored not only for themselves and their families, but to support the chiefs and kahuna.
- Kauwā. They are believed to have been war captives, or the descendants of war captives. Marriage between higher castes and the kauwa was strictly forbidden. The kauwa worked for the chiefs and were often used as human sacrifices at the luakini heiau. (They were not the only sacrifices; law-breakers of all castes or defeated opponents were also acceptable as victims.).
Do you know what caste you are descended from? Imagine, if we weren't Americans! Perhaps, Hawai`i would be like modern day India . . . THINK ABOUT IT!
Unfortunately, most of us "Native Hawaiians" have not been educated in the "true" history of these islands. We have all been given the "slanted" or "fairy tale" version! This version, puts the blame on foreign interference and greed! What could be "more greedy" than what Kamehameha I did?
If we would only go to the library, do a Google search, etc., we would find an amazing array of literature on the "true" story of our history:
1. Kamehameha I slaughtered THOUSANDS of Hawaiians when he "united" these Islands and forced his will on the conquered!
2. What of the legacy, history, religion, descendants, etc. of the defeated ali`i? My family is from Kaua`i, we are, definitely, not descended from Kamehameha and his people from the Big Island!
3. For almost a THOUSAND years, the last migrations from Tahiti ruled these islands! They slaughtered, tortured and enslaved the "indigenous people" who were already here! Kamehameha was one of the last descendants that ruled in the brutal footsteps of his ancestors! What if Kamehameha I had been white, he'd be the most reviled person in our history! We certainly would NOT have a "Kam Day Parade" for him!
4. WHAT IF? We all know that English sailors, Davis & Young were an integral part of Kamehameha's campaign to unite the Islands! What if, Kamehameha had been mortally wounded and on his death bed, instructed Kekuhapi`o and his chiefs to follow and obey Ali`i Nui, John Young? Would we be celebrating "John Young Day"? Of course not!!
5. To put it all in perspective, simply, compare what Kamehameha I did, slaughtering THOUSANDS, to the "bloodless coup" supported by the US!
6. As I mentioned, before: there were people living here before the Tahitian migration. These "indigenous people" were enslaved, tortured and killed for almost a THOUSAND YEARS by Kamehameha's ancestors and continued through his reign, also! Are you a descendant of the "indigenous people" or the "Tahitian Immigrants"?
7. Most of us "Native Hawaiian" are of mixed blood: Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese, Spanish, Caucasian, etc. Our ancestors have been here "Post Kamehameha" for over 100 years, some for over 150! They have contributed a lot to what is our "Aloha Spirit and Hawaiian Culture", today! Even though they don't have Hawaiian blood, I feel that they are as "Native Hawaiian" as those of us with Hawaiian blood! Basically, we are ALL immigrants . . . there was an indigenous people already living here when the first Tahitian immigration arrived!
8. We are, basically, still under the influence of Kamehameha! He conquered these Islands and forced his will on the defeated . . . we still live under his legacy, to this day (all of the major landowners, kama`aina companies, trusts, estates, etc. are all connected to Kamehameha)! What was life like for our ancestors from Mau`i, Molokai, O`ahu, Kaua`i and Ni`ihau before Kamehameha? Think about it . . . what would it be like if an army invaded us, today, killed thousands of our leaders and their families, took our property away, and gave it to those who were part of the conquering entity?
Why do you think that most Hawaiians embraced Christianity so willingly? Finally, a "Loving God" . . . one that would not demand death for numerous infractions and kapu! Only the Ali`i and priests were allowed to "worship" in the "sacred places"! "Back in the day" all of those protesters on "sacred land", today, unless they were Ali'i or Kahuna, would be sacrificed and killed!
Remember, Queen Ka`ahumanu abolished the Kapu System before the missionaries came! Hewahewa, the highest ranking kahuna, at that time, set fire to his he`iau and went to Kawaihae (where the first missionaries arrived) to welcome the "New God"!
All the activists keep pointing at the illegal overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani. Remember, King Kalakaua set up the provisional government and signed a Reciprocity Treaty with the United States, he wanted to be aligned with the United States! Queen Liliuokalani did not! As soon as he died, the Queen tried to negate everything that King Kalakaua had done! She even sent a delegation to Washington to plead her case! However, the members of her delegation did not follow her instructions, but opted for alignment with the United States!
At this time, "Non-Hawaiians" outnumbered "Native Hawaiians" FOUR (4) TO ONE (1)! In other words, the majority of the people living in these Islands wanted to be aligned with the United States, INCLUDING NATIVE HAWAIIANS!
Hawaiian activists voice the rhetoric of "reparations" from the US for land that was "stolen"! What about reparations from "Kamehameha's descendants" to the "descendants of the vanquished people on Mau`i, Molokai, O`ahu, Ni`ihau and Kaua`i? I feel, any talk of "Reparations" is a moot point!
For some reason, all we hear about is what "non-Hawaiians", foreigners, etc. did to "take away" the land, religion and sovereignty in these Islands. If you are going to point fingers, you need to, also, point out what Kamehameha did, too! Compare these truths! Now who and what was worse?
What would you do if we were invaded? Think about it: THOUSANDS of our leaders, friends, relatives, etc. were killed! Then, if you were a survivor, everything was taken away from you! For generations, these Islands have been under the influence of "Kamehameha's" legacy and influence! Look around, all of the Trusts, Large landowners, kama`aina companies, etc. are all connected to Kamehameha's legacy.
Here's a "reality check": Compare the two entities and what they have done for Hawai`i - Kamehameha's descendants and legacy has, pretty much, kept everything for themselves! There is NO COMPARISON! The United States, on the other hand, has given a lot back to these Islands!
We need to educate the younger generations of "Native Hawaiians" to the "RIGHT HAWAIIAN HISTORY" and NOT the "FAIRY TALE" and "SLANTED" version that we have been taught for years and even today!
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnthvBZBZh0&feature=youtu.be
Related: We Hawaiians need to quit feeling sorry for ourselves