Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches, it’s nice year-round weather, and its culture. Thousands of vacationers come to Hawaii each year to get away from the stressful city and relax. But do they know how cruel the Americans were to the natives? Do they know how we corrupted their culture and their religion? Do they know how Hawaii really became a state? Probably not. When most people think of Hawaii, they think of happy Hawaiian babes hula dancing and palm trees swaying in the warm breeze. Hawaii has still held on to many of their traditions although they were invaded by Americans. But you have to go to a museum to see their old way of life. Hawaii is now populated mostly by Americans. Native Hawaiians have adapted to our American lifestyle and much of their old traditions and beliefs are lost in history books. America dominated over the Hawaiians just as they did with the Native Americans. The Hawaiians didn’t even stand a chance against big brother. They probably feel the same way towards America just as a child does with stubborn parents.
Now I will tell you about the history of Hawaii so you will see how the United States came to annex Hawaii. Hawaii was first inhabited by the Polynesians. They came in canoes from other islands around the pacific. They called the new found island Hawaii, which means home in Polynesian language. Hawaii was their home until the white man came in and took advantage of these simple, happy aborigines. The corruption of this unique and fragile culture first started when Captain James Cook ran into the islands on January 18, 1778. After Cook’s discovery, many other foreigners (mostly American) visited the islands. They brought clothes, livestock, orange trees, horses weapons and souvigners. Foreigners also brought with them a handful of deadly diseases such as smallpox, measles, syphilis, tuberculosis, and whooping cough. During the time period of Cook’s arrival in 1778 to 1820, the population of Hawaii dropped from 300,000 to 135,000 due to the diseases! Another problem was the introduction of alcohol. Like the native americans, Hawaiians were not immune to alcohol. Hawaiian’s were very sensitive to alcoholism.
Hawaiians religion was a very complex one with many gods. They worshiped idols and they belived in many feared superstitions. After king Kamehameha I died, the Hawaiians started to doubt their own belifes. Many Hawaiians broke the superstitions to prove they were fake. These religious radicals started a domino affect of the Hawaiian religion. The Hawaiians destroyed and burned their feared idols. The people who still held on the old belifes were murdered. This goes to show how a religion can either hold a society together or tear it apart.
Henry Obookiah was born in Hawaii. His family was murdered in a war between neighboring islands. He decided to find a new life in America, so he hopped aboard a trading ship and landed in New England. Obookiah stayed with a Christian family and went to a foreign mission school. Obookiah was taught to be a good Christian gentlemen. He told Americans about the religious chaos in Hawaii saying: Hawaii gods; the wood- they burn. Me go home, put em in a fire, burn ?em up. They no see, no hear, no anything. We make ?em. Our god, He make us(The Hawaiian Islands P. 30). Christian New Englanders were amazed by Obookiah’s enlightenment in America. New England Christians were motivated to spread the faith into Hawaii.
The first American settlers were Christian missionaries from New England. The Missionaries came to the Hawaiian shores aboard the Thaddeus on March 31, 1819. The Americans were treated very well by the natives. They were eager to learn from the missionaries. Without the strict supervision of their former gods and superstitions, Hawaiians were celebrating new freedom. They drank, they partied, they carried firearms and lived like animals. The missionaries saw this anarchy and decided that things must be put under control. Without their religion, the Hawaiians were barbarians. The missionaries built houses and settled in at Hawaii. Then they worked on converting the Hawaiians to Christianity. Most of the Hawaiians were easily converted to Christianity. But some of the old ones still wouldn’t give up there beliefs. The missionaries set up schools and churches. They taught them how to read and write. They set up a printing press and printed copies of the Bible in Hawaiian language. From 1837 to 1843, 27,000 Hawaiians were converted to Christianity. Before the missionaries had come, they had no guilt wearing no clothes or having sex in public! Hawaiians lived in worry free. But Hawaii’s culture was fading away.
America liked Hawaii for its location along the trade route to china and for its rich soil. Many American trading ships stopped at Hawaii on their way to Asia. Traders would use Hawaii as a rest stop on their way to China. The traders and merchants would have sex with native women and they would take advantage of their hospitality. Hawaii didn’t have a very strong government or laws. So the Americans would come in and buy off land for cheap. The Hawaiians always shared the land and they hated the idea of owning private property. In 1835, Ladd and company was given some land for a sugar plantation.
In 1839, Hawaii made a bill of rights and a constitution. The bill of rights gave people religious freedom and protected peoples property. The constitution set up a new Hawaiian government. In 1848, King Kamehameha agreed to pass an American treaty called the Great Mahele. This treaty permitted land to be purchased by private persons. Americans rushed in to buy off the cheap land. They farmed on it, built houses and stores, sold it and bought it. One woman sold what is now the Waialae Golf course for a jug of wine! Hawaiian land was practicly given away as if it was the siharra desert.
French and British governments wanted Hawaii also. In 1843, England came to Hawaii and took it as their own. Unable to fight against to British navy, Hawaii decided they had to give up to the British. The Americans told the Hawaiians that they should try to achieve worldwide recognition of Hawaiian independence, so that foreigners would respect them as their own country. The United States dominated over the islands and left France and Great Britain without any power over the islands.
With the help of white people, Hawaii drafted its first constitution in 1840. The constitution called for an executive branch, a legislative branch, and a supreme court. The legislature consisted of a council of chiefs and an elected house of representatives. In 1842, the Hawaiian islands were seen as an independent government.
Sugar production was Hawaii’s largest buissiness. Tons of sugar was grown in Hawaii. Many of the Hawaiians worked on the sugar farms. Sugar was sold to the United States and large amounts of money flowed into Hawaii. Hawaii’s economy grew and banks were built.
America’s main goal was to overthrow monarchy and Annex Hawaii as the 50th state. In 1887, the Americans forced king Kalakaua to sign a new constitutions that lessened the king’s powers and limited the rights of native Hawaiians to hold office. After Kalakaua’s death, Queen Liliuokalani ruled Hawaii. She was stubborn and wanted Hawaiian independence. But the Americans took over the government and ended monarchy and set up their own government. They put up the American flag where the Hawaiian flag originally flew. So, in other words, Hawaii was stolen from its original owners. Defenseless, Hawaii couldn’t do anything about United States’ control. Hawaii was then Annexed to the United states in 1898.