Society

​Hawaii Through Ancient And Modern History

​The date of arrival of the first Polynesian settlers into what is now the U.S. State of Hawaii is hotly debated still to this day.

Polynesian Discovery and Settlement

The settlement of Hawaii is one of the most noteworthy accomplishments in human history. By the time European sailors found their way to the New World and the Pacific Ocean, Polynesian explorers had already been inhabiting nearly every island there for more than 100 years. They managed all of this through the simple use of canoes! Hawaii was discovered by Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands around 400 AD. By 900 AD all the Hawaiian islands were occupied and by 1000 AD agriculture became a key component to settlements here. The people worshiped two main gods, Ku, the god of war, and Lono, the god of peace and agriculture. They enjoyed life on the islands for 200 more years when the Tahitians arrived and conquered the inhabitants. The high priest established a system of having a king for every island. Royalty was even brought from Tahiti. This attention to bloodlines created social classes, or castes, that were practiced for years to come.

Ancient Hawaiian Ways of Life

The ancient way of life of these settlers involved learning household responsibilities from the grandparents and specialized trades, like herbal medicine or canoe making, through apprenticeships. Families often became dedicated to specific subsistence activities and islands specialized in economic activity. Early Hawaiians did not practice land ownership either as they believed that the land belonged to gods and therefore could never belong to a human. These religious beliefs held strong influences over daily life and dictated even social interactions. These years of life in Hawaii were ruled by supreme rulers on each of the big islands and below them, the chiefs. The chiefs managed land that was assigned to them by the supreme rulers and collected taxes for their areas. The supreme rulers were responsible for ensuring the people followed the strict code of conduct.

History of Hawaiian Governance

Unification (1795-1810)

In 1778, President Eisenhower signed the Hawaii Admission Act. In June, the residents of Hawaii voted to accept the bill and on August 21st, Hawaiians celebrated their admission to the US. it became the 50th state.

Hawaii Today

Today, Hawaii has a population of over 1.4 million people, 10% of whom are Hawaiian natives. The state has the English and Hawaiian are the official languages of the 50th state, only about 2,000 people actually speak Hawaiian. The economy largely relies on agricultural exports, military bases, and tourism for success and survival. The cost of living here is high, and residents pay some of the highest income taxes of any U.S. state.

​Hawaiian History - Ancient And Modern Hawaii

Hawaiian GovernanceYears
Independent Villages and KingdomsPre-1795
Kingdom of Hawaii1795-1893
Provisional Government and Republic of Hawaii1893-1898
U.S. Territory1898-1959
U.S. State1959-Present

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