Hawaii belongs to the culture of Polynesia and forms with New Zealand and the Easter Island the Polynesian triangle. The word Polynesia is derived from the Greek language and means “many islands”. The language and culture of the Polynesian Islands have their origins in the islands of Tonga and Samoa. From here, the remaining islands of Polynesia were settled. It was not until about 300 AD, the Hawaiian Islands were populated by the Marquesas. A second settlement wave reached the islands around 1000 AD from Tahiti and the Society Islands. From this time comes the ancient Hawaiian culture.
Hawaii HistoryThis settlement was an amazing achievement, considering that there is a distance of 5000 km between Tahiti and the Hawaiian Islands. This route over the open sea was mastered with pritivious canoes. The sea-tight sailing canoes made of hollowed-out tree trunks consisted of a double hull or a hull with a jib. Above this, a platform was built on which small shelters and fire pits were built.
Nourished during the month-long crossing of coconuts and fish. The canoes could carry up to one hundred people. A replica of these boats can be visited in the harbor of Honolulu. With this replica in 1977 they undertook a trip from Hawaii to Tahiti and sailed back to Hawaii via New Zealand. This was to prove that in former times it was quite possible to cover 17000 km. By the way, this company was successful and passed the test.
The social system was based on feudal systems with chief aristocracy. The so-called “Alii” formed the nobility classes that ruled over the rest of the people. The chiefs were both the supreme leaders in warfare and the judges in peaceful times. The chiefs had the position of kings and ruled the respective islands. The Hawaiians originally lived in extended families.
According to Polynesian mythology, the world and humans were created by several gods. These fathered demigods, who in turn begat people. The gods were offered sacrifices made of food, animals and sometimes human beings. The sacrificial sites, the “Heiaus” were built of lava rocks and remains of some of these sites can still be visited on the islands today.
The Hawaiian craftsmanship had a high level. Unfortunately, it was not far-reaching and what you get to buy today on the islands is usually tourist kitsch. The original songs and dances were the focus of Polynesian culture. Unfortunately, not much has been handed down from this. The tourist depictions of the Hula are more of a reference to Disneyland today.
Hawaii was discovered on January 18, 1778, more than a thousand years after the arrival of the first Polynesian settlers, by James Cook.
When James Cook returns to Hawaii a year later, he hangs out on Hawaii Big Island. By accident, Cook had chosen one of the holiest places for his landing. Hawaii – James CookAt this time, the Hawaiians were celebrating a feast in honor of the god Lono. The Hawaiians consider James Cook to be this god. In a two-week festival, they pay homage to him. Afterwards, Cook leaves the island of Big Island and gets into a hurricane with his ships. Heavy damage to the ships forces him to return to Hawaii. Surprised that such a calamity can happen to a deity, the mood is changing among the Hwaiians. During the stay of Cook it comes to theft and also a dinghy is stolen. On February 13, 1779, James Cook goes ashore with armed men to capture the chief. Cook and four of his men are brutally slaughtered in a skirmish.
For the natives, the discovery by the whites had fatal consequences. Due to introduced diseases, the population was decimated from 600,000 to 40,000 within a period of 100 years.
The Warchief of the Big Island, Kamehameha I, unites after long bloody battles all islands to a kingdom. He proves to be a benevolent ruler, who strives for the traditions of the people. After his death, his widow abolishes all taboos and opens the island empire to Western influences. One year later, the first white missionaries on the Big Island go ashore. Soon, the islands are Christianized, the missionaries and their descendants take over important political and economic positions in the kingdom.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the Hawaiian Islands became the port of call for whole whaling fleets that hunted whales in the North Pacific for use as lamp fuel for whale oil. Around 1870, the era was replaced by the use of petroleum as a fuel. In the mid-19th century, the islands were discovered for the sugar cane industry. By the end of the 19th century, this industry became Hawaii’s largest economy, with some 400,000 immigrants coming mainly from China, Japan and the Philippines as laborers to the islands.
The first Protestant missionaries came in 1820 from the US East Coast to Hawaii. They were later followed by Catholics, Mormons and other missionaries with different assignments. This brought to an end the sometimes barbarous Hawaiian customs and rites. However, the proselytizing also wiped out much of the Hawaiian culture by stamping and banning primitive dances and songs as immoral. A resurrection of these ancient cultures has only recently begun to develop through the development of tourism.
By 1920, the Japanese made up a quarter of the voting population of Hawaii. Japan’s increasing influence, including in economic terms, increasingly led to conflicts between Japan and America. During the Second World War, Japan had already brought large parts of the Western Pacific under his rule. This prompted the US to impose embargo on Japan and cut off supplies of important commodities such as oil, ore and steel.
Thus cornered attack Japanese bombers in the early morning of December 7, 1941, surprisingly and without any warning, the American base Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. Here is except for the aircraft carrier almost the entire Pacific Fleet of the United States. Hawaii – HistoryWith six aircraft carriers, the Japanese have approached Hawaii, turning off their air defenses first, and then bombing and torpedoing the ships at Pearl Harbor. The battleship Arizona is hit so hard that it sinks immediately with over 1000 men on board. The wreck will not be lifted later and the bodies will not be recovered. Above the wreck is still the Arizona Memorial Memorial. During the Japanese attack also sink the battleships Oklahoma, California, West Virginia, Nevada and Utah and 4 other battleships are badly damaged. Within 2 hours, nearly the entire American fleet was destroyed. This attack marks the beginning of World War II for Hawaii and America. President Roosevelt declared this day the “Day of Infamy”. It was followed by an unparalleled arms race and the Americans pushed the Japanese back to their home islands in the following years. Due to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan, the war was ended in 1945.
After a referendum in 1959 Hawaii is declared the 50th state of the United States of America. In the same year, the first jet plane lands – the age of mass tourism begins.
In 1983, the population of the islands exceeds the 1 million mark.
Hurricane Iniki devastates the island of Kauai on 12/13 September 1992 at wind speeds of up to 280 km / h. The reconstruction takes several years.
After a decline in visitor numbers during the economic crisis in the early 1990s, tourist numbers in 1999 have since grown back to around 7 million tourists in Hawaii – many of them from Japan and other Asian countries.