A Short History of Hawaii

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Hawaii has been admired for its heavenly islands and its history of rich culture. It continues to attract tourists from around the world to visit it again and again. Its beaches frequently host international surfing champions. However, there is also fearsome chain of volcanoes as it is located in the Pacific. Hawaii is also rich in source of natural resources like bananas, coconuts and sugarcane products. Apart from beaches, volcanoes and natural products, Hawaii takes pride in its people called the Kanaka Maoli. They are a happy and warm group who managed the kingdom before the British colonization.

The islands of Hawaiian Archipelago are the most inhabited in the world. They are situated at a distance of nearly 2400 miles from California, 2400 miles from the Marquesas Islands and 3800 miles from Japan. The Marquesas Islands is believed to be the place where the first settlers known as the Menehune arrived around 300 to 400 AD. Later, group of settlers from Tahiti displaced this settlement and they overthrew the Menehune people because the Tahiti people were taller and physically stronger.

Hawaii's isolation from the rest of the world is the reason why it was one of the last places to be discovered. It was discovered by Captain James Cook in 1778 searching for passageway between Asia and Alaska. He named them Sandwich Islands. A lot of Americans and Europeans explored the islands after Cook.

The first people of Hawaii who were called Kanaka Maoli lived in thousands in a system that was highly organized, self sufficient and subsistent social. This number has been severely reduced to less than 40,000 people since first contact with explorers and missionaries.
War and diseases caused the reduction in numbers. Kanaka Maoli were basically healthy people but were not prepared for the diseases like smallpox. Besides that, the Hawaii people who were divided earlier as kingdoms started to fight with more aggression with the availability of weapons like swords and guns. Although after thirty two years of the arrival of Captain James Cook and his crew, Hawaii got united under the kingdom of Kamehameha I with the help of a mighty army and foreign weapons.

He was succeeded by his son Kamehameha II also named Liholiho, not only changed Hawaii politically but also socially. He eradicated the a taboo system called kapu in his reign breaking one of them by eating with his stepmother and other higher ranked women. Men and women eating together was forbidden and was one of the kapus, punishable by death.

Liholiho was succeeded by Kamehameha III who continued to carry the torch for the family's propensity and make political, governance and evolutionary changes in Hawaii. He issued the Hawaiian Declaration of Rights and promulgated the Constitution for the Hawaiian Islands, this changed the governance of Hawaii from a complete monarchy to a constitutional monarchy.

Kamehameha III was followed by two more who ruled the Hawaiian monarchy. Kamehameha V tried to convince his daughter to ascend the throne when he was dying. However, she refused and preferred to live a private life with her British husband. In spite of this refusal, a woman Queen Lili'uokalani was able to rule the land. She was the only woman and the last monarch who ruled Hawaii before the kingdom was overthrown by foreigners.

The American and European merchants and traders overthrew the Kingdom of Hawaii when its monarchy's ascendancy ended in 1893. It became an independent republic from 1894 to 1898 when it was annexed to the US. Later in 1959, it became the 50th state of USA when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill for its statehood. Hawaii quickly became a modern state after statehood and there was a rapid increase in construction and economy.

You might also want to learn about the history of Niagara falls and also a brief history of Hawaii.

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