The First Settlements in Hawaii by the Polynesians

The first settlements in Hawaii

When did people first come to Hawaii?

The first settlements in Hawaii appeared around 300-600 A.D. The first people to reach Hawaii were Polynesians who came to the island from the Marquesas Islands. These settlers built their homes near the ocean and started farming, providing food for themselves while on the island. These first settlers have lived on the island hundreds of years until the next group of settlers arrived, also Polynesians, but from Tahiti. The Tahitians did not want to co-exist along with the Polynesian farmers, so they exiled them to the mountains. Tahitians lived on the Hawaiian Islands until James Cook and his crew arrived in the late 1700s.

The First Settlements in Hawaii Were Farmers and Fishermen

The first settlements in Hawaii
Sunset in Hawaii

While on Hawaiian Islands, the Polynesians were providing for themselves through farming and fishing. They did not arrive at the island empty-handed; on the ships, they brought their native seeds and plants, like taro and sugar cane, along with animals, including pigs and chickens. Since the first settlements, the agricultural tradition continued with Hawaiians for a long time. During the King’s rule, the islands were divided into several regions, or ahupua’a, with chieftains in charge and their people, farmers and fishermen. The King divided the land in such way that each region had zones with mountaintops, shoreline, and the farming area in between. Fishermen took their places on the shores, in specific areas. Ahupua’a system also promoted trading between the lands to make sure all of them prosper.

What Was the Culture of the First Settlers?

The first settlements in Hawaii
Hawaiian Hula Dancers

Besides the plants and animals native to their homeland, the first settlers from Polynesia brought their traditions, crafts, and religious beliefs. Consequently, Polynesian ancestry influenced Hawaiian native customs and traditions. However, Hawaiians perfected and refined the cultural aspects of Polynesian traditions. One of the examples is the clothing that Hawaiian settlers were making. While they used the same material, kapa, for their clothing, Hawaiians were more creative with the material than their ancestors. They used pigments from vegetables to dye their clothes in different colors. Moreover, they used flowers to make the clothes fragrant. They also stamped their clothing with bamboo to create patterns. Among other cultural aspects are physical and recreational activities. Hawaiians had competitions with neighboring lands in athletics, swimming, and games.

The People of Hawaii in the Present Day

Hawaiians do their best to preserve their cultural heritage. Many natives participate in the arts and crafts dating back to their early ancestors. The people of Hawaii have a very close connection to nature, and it is perhaps the reason why they have a tight connection with the traditions of their ancestors. The Hawaiians are very kind and hospitable. Their culture is known for its welcoming and inviting spirit. Hawaiian unique greeting “Aloha” expresses their spirit of goodness and harmony. Ordinarily, sources sometimes refer to it as “the spirit of Aloha”. This harmonious spirit of Aloha is born from Hawaiian deep love and respect from nature, which they inherited from their ancestors.

 

 

 

Englishmen and the Discovery of Hawaii

Hawaii

Who Is Responsible for the Discovery of Hawaii?

Captain James Cook's statue in New Zealand Discovery of Hawaii
Captain James Cook’s statue in New Zealand

Captain James Cook, the English explorer, became the first European to discover Hawaii islands on January 18, 1778. Cook was a captain in the Royal Navy, as well as navigator, explorer, and cartographer. Captain Cook’s created detailed maps of Canadian island Newfoundland. Moreover, he went on three trips to the Pacific Ocean, discovered the eastern coastline of Australia and Hawaii. Captain Cook also traveled around New Zealand.

How Did Cook Discover Hawaii?

Captain James Cook was sailing past the island of Oahu with his crew. Then he came across the eastern coastline of Hawaiian Islands. After two days of sailing, Cook landed at the island of Kauai. Captain Cook also came up with the name for the island group he discovered. Cook called Hawaii  the Sandwich Islands in honor of one of his patrons, the earl of Sandwich.

What Did Captain Cook Discover before He Came to Hawaii?

Before he discovered Hawaii, Captain James Cook was a lieutenant on a Royal Navy ship Endeavor. It was back in 1768. Together with his crew, Cook was mapping the course of planet Venus. Traveling for the following three years, Cook has explored New Zealand and Australia. Furthermore, he went with his crew around the globe.

Captain Cook’s Landing in Hawaii

Hawaiians welcomed Cook and his crew. They found the captain’s ships and Europeans’ use of iron intriguing. Englishmen began trading with Hawaiians. Captain Cook and his crew traded metal and iron nails. Consequently, they managed to maintain provisions on the ship. However, neither Cook nor his crew stayed in Kauai for long. After leaving the place, the explorers continued north. They wanted to find the end of the northwestern passage between North Atlantic and Pacific oceans. After one more year of sailing, Cook’s ships returned to Hawaii and docked in the safety of Kealakekua Bay.

Relationship Between Hawaiians and Englishmen

Hawaii, Discovery of Hawaii
Hawaiian arts and crafts

Captain’s ships landed in Hawaii for the second time. Englishmen believed that the local population associates their arrival with some religious symbolism. Cook and his crew arrived at the time of the Makahiki festival. The Makahiki was dedicated to the Hawaiian god of fertility, Lono. Locals saw it as a sign and welcomed and treated them as gods. Englishmen shamelessly abused the hospitality of Hawaiians. However, when one of the crew members passed away, locals realized they were people just like them. This changed the relationships between the two. In the beginning of 1779, Cook wanted to return to England, but one of his ships were damaged during the storm and they had to return to Hawaii.

When Englishmen came back, the Makahiki had ended and nobody was happy to see them. Hawaiians threw rocks at them and stole an item from their ship. While Cook tried to negotiate with the Hawaiian King to return the item, the King was murdered. Locals gathered and attacked Cook and his crew. Many men were killed, including Captain Cook. Once Englishmen went back to the ship, they fired cannons at the locals, killing some of them. Eventually, the ships returned to England.

The discovery of Hawaii by Captain James Cook is an important event in history. However, the discovery was tainted because of how Englishmen tried to exploit Hawaiians.