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History of Hawaii

By Cynthia Kramer

The Hawaiian Islands may have been settled as early as the second century; by 1000, villages near the ocean were farming, and by 1500, populations were spreading to the interiors of the islands. Around 1200, a new social structure had been introduced, separating the people into classes. It also included new laws, including the kapu, a strict code of conduct governing many aspects of Hawaiian life. Religion in Hawaii included a ritual, high priests, four major gods, many lesser deities, and guardians and spirits.

Each island was split up into several subdivisions, with communities usually set up around streams. Important crops included sweet potatoes, bananas, coconuts, and sugarcane. In addition to community crops, Hawaiians also maintained gardens at their homes.

Contact with Europeans started in 1778, when British Captain James Cook traded for supplies with the residents of the island of Kauai. He continued his voyage to the coast of North America and Alaska, then landed on Hawaii Island during his return trip. After Cook’s longboat went missing, he tried to kidnap the king. In defense, the king’s attendant killed him with a knife.

The Kingdom of Hawaii began in 1795 with the unification of the islands. The kingdom’s first king, Kamehameha I, was a great-grandson of Keawe’ikekahiali’iokamoku, a 17th-century king of Hawaii Island. His uncle Kalani’opu’u had encountered Captain Cook, and raised Kamehameha after his father’s death. Supporters of Kamehameha overthrew his cousins, making Kamehameha the king of Hawaii Island, and by 1795, Kamehameha had conquered most of the main islands. Kamehameha then built a palace which became the seat of government for 50 years. The king had many wives, but Ka’ahumanu became the most prominent, ruling alongside her stepson Liholiho (Kamehameha II) and as regent for her stepson Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III).

The reign of Kamehameha II saw the beginning of a system of dual-government involving a co-ruler, along with the decline of the Hawaiian religion. He and his wife died of measles while visiting England. Kamehameha III was still a minor, so Ka’ahumanu ruled in his stead, along with a new co-ruler, Boki. They both converted to Christianity shortly after Kamehameha II’s death.

Sugar had become a major export after Cook’s arrival. By the mid-1800s, there were plantations operating on the main islands. American plantation owners wanted a voice in politics, and in 1843 the U.S. did not interfere with a brief occupation by the British.

The Rebellion of 1887, led by the Hawaiian Patriotic League, resulted in a new constitution, known as the Bayonet Constitution, which they forced Kalakaua to sign. This constitution limited the voting rights of native Hawaiians and Asians, and limited the power of the king. It also granted Americans in the kingdom unprecedented freedoms.

Upon Kalakaua’s death, his sister, Lili’uokalani, became queen. In 1893, a group of conspirators, known as the Committee of Safety and made up of legislators and government officials who were American and European citizens, gathered about 1500 non-native men across the street from ‘Iolani Palace. They were supported by U.S. Government Minister John L. Stevens. The men placed Queen Lili’uokalani under house arrest at the palace, and the Kingdom of Hawaii became the Republic of Hawaii.

Hawaii remained a republic for about 5 years, then was annexed by the U.S. in 1898, becoming the Territory of Hawaii. A territorial government was set up in 1900, and sugarcane plantations expanded during this period.

On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy, and Hawaii was placed under martial law until 1945. In 1954, a series of non-violent protests led to the ousting of the Hawaii Republican Party, and the election of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. This also led to labor unions and the decline of the sugar plantations.

Hawaii was admitted to the U.S. as a state on August 21, 1959.

© 2017 Earthspot

Pearl Harbor Attack

By Howard Fields

It lasted only about 90 minutes, but in that time the Imperial Japanese Navy managed to kill 2,403 Americans, destroy 18 ships and 188 airplanes, and draw the United States into World War II, all on a day of infamy. More than half the American deaths were caused by a single bomb that hit the USS Arizona, whose remains now lie at the bottom of Pearl Harbor as a memorial to the attack on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.

Shortly after 7:30 that Sunday, two Army men manning a new-fangled "radar" at Opana on Oahu's north shore saw more than a hundred blips 136 miles north of the island and notified their superiors at Pearl Harbor. The officer in charge there had confidential information that a dozen stripped-down and unarmed B-17s from the West Coast were due in at about that time on about the same route, so he told the radar men to ignore the blips.

By then, five two-man midget submarines launched from the fleet the previous day had attempted to sneak into the harbor morning. One was spotted and attacked by a pair of U.S. Navy ships cruising offshore. Three others ended up at the bottom of the sea just outside the harbor, but not before they managed to launch several torpedoes. A fifth managed to ground itself twice, and after the second time one of its crewmen swam to shore and became America's first Japanese prisoner of war.

The radar blips were the first wave of the attack, led by Commander Mitsuo Fuchida. His plane led 182 others off the decks of six aircraft carriers stationed about 200 miles north of Oahu. The planes included about equal portions of bombers armed with armor-piercing bombs weighing nearly a ton each, bombers carrying quarter-ton torpedoes, dive bombers and fighters known as Zeros for their rising-sun insignia.

The planes formed two groups, each circling the island to attack Pearl Harbor from the south and from the north to begin the attack at 7:48 a.m. Most of the U.S. Navy personnel were on shore leave that weekend, many of those still aboard ship still asleep. As the attack began, they scrambled from their bunks to battle stations unprepared for battle, costing precious minutes. Army anti-aircraft batteries onshore similarly were unprepared. A few ships managed to get underway to get out of the harbor, but only one made it. Some of the dive bombers attacked Oahu air fields, among them Bellows Field, Ford Island, Hickam Field and Wheeler Field.

Fuchida's wave was followed by another led by Lt. Commander Shigekazu Shimazaki. His fleet included 171 planes armed with smaller bombs to attack other targets on the island. One group attacked airfields such as Barbers Point, Ford Island, Hickam Field and Kaneohe; the other two concentrated on the entire Pearl Harbor area. The second wave wrapped up its attack at about 9:30 and returned to its fleet, which weighed anchor and was headed back to Japan by 1 p.m.

The main targets of the twin attacks were the eight battleships—Arizona, California, Maryland, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia-- at anchor inside the harbor. The fleet's three aircraft carriers were safely out to sea. The attack managed to hit all of the battleships and the unarmed Utah, a former battleship used only for training. But, it was the attack on the Arizona that was most effective, killing 1, 177.

A 16-inch Japanese shell hit an ammunition magazine on the ship, causing a massive explosion. Burning oil in the water from the explosion and from one on the West Virginia drifted to other ships, including the California, which ordered its men to abandon ship, leaving it to sink. The attack also sank or damaged cruisers, destroyers, a seaplane tender, and a repair vessel that had the misfortune of being moored next to the Arizona.

Six of the battleships were back in service and nine of other types of ships also returned to service by the end of the war, most within a year of the attack. And, the dozen B-17s? They arrived over Oahu low on fuel early during the first wave and tried to land however and wherever they could, one on a golf course. Most remained intact.

Japan's losses included 64 fatalities and one captured, 29 planes lost, and 64 damaged by fire from antiaircraft batteries that managed to get into operation in time for the second wave. One of the planes was damaged while attacking Wheeler and managed to fly to Niihau, the designated rescue point, where the pilot was captured by the locals.

The next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed an emergency joint session of Congress and delivered the speech that called December 7 "a day which will live in infamy." After the speech, Congress voted to declare war.

© 2017 Earthspot

Hawaii Travel Guide

Hanauma Bay in Honolulu, Hawaii
Hanauma Bay, Oahu

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay (pronounced "ha-NOW-mah", in Hawaiian) is a marine embayment formed within a volcanic cone or crater and located along the southeast coast of the Island of Oʻahu (just east of Honolulu) in the Hawaiian Islands. Hanauma is a popular tourist destinations on the Island and has suffered somewhat from overuse (at one time accommodating over three million visitors per year). In the 1950s, dynamite was used to clear portions of the reef to expand the area available for swimming.

Hanauma Bay Profile

Waikīkī

Waikīkī is a neighborhood of Honolulu, in the City & County of Honolulu, on the south shore of the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Waikiki Beach is the shoreline fronting Waikiki and one of the best known beaches in the world. The neighborhood extends from the Ala Wai Canal (a channel dug to drain former wetlands) on the west and north, to Diamond Head (Lēʻahi) on the east. Waikiki has long been a place of relaxation. In particular, the area was a retreat for Hawaiian royalty in the 1800s. Waikiki Beach is noted for its magnificent views of the dormant volcano Diamond Head, its usually warm and cloud-free climate and its surfbreak. The frequently visited tourist beach is actually fairly short, with half of it marked off for surfers. For some distance into the ocean the water is quite shallow, although there are numerous rocks on the bottom, so waders should watch where they put their feet. As with most ocean beaches the waves can have some force, particularly on windy days. The surf at Waikiki is known for its long rolling breaks, making it ideal for long boarding, tandem surfing and beginners. The beach hosts many events a year, including surf competitions, outdoor performances, hula dancing and outrigger canoe races.

The USS Arizona Memorial

The USS Arizona Memorial, located at Pearl Harbor, Hawaiʻi, marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors killed on the USS Arizona during the Attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 by Japanese imperial forces and commemorates the events of that day. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the island of Oʻahu was the action that led to United States involvement in World War II.

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (also Punchbowl National Cemetery) is a cemetery located in Honolulu, Hawai'i that serves a memorial to those men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces. It is administered by the National Cemetery Administration of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Thousands of visitors visit the cemetery each year, and it is one of the more popular tourist attractions in Hawai'i.

Iolani Palace in Honolulu, Hawaii
Iolani Palace, Oahu

Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace, situated in the capitol district of downtown Honolulu in the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi, is the only royal palace used as an official residence by a reigning monarch in the United States and is a National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Two monarchs governed from ʻIolani Palace: King David Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani.

Diamond Head

Diamond Head is the name of a volcanic tuff cone on the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu and known to Hawaiians as Lēʻahi. Its English name was given by British sailors in the 19th century, who mistook calcite crystals embedded in the rock for diamonds.

North Shore (Oahu)

The North Shore refers to the north-facing coastal area of Oʻahu between Kaʻena Point and Kahuku Point. The largest settlement is Haleʻiwa. This area is best known for its massive waves, attracting surfers from all around the globe. During the winter months on the North Shore, swells originating in the stormy North Pacific appear. Notable surfing spots include Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach. The spot of Ehukai Beach, commonly known as the Banzai Pipeline, is the most notable surfing spot on the North Shore, and is considered a prime spot for competitions. The North Shore is considered to be the surfing mecca of the world, and every December hosts three competitions, which make up the Triple Crown of Surfing.

Makapuu Lighthouse

U.S. Coast Guard Makapuu Point Light (Wikipedia)

The hike to the lighthouse is filled with many spectacular views of the ocean along the way. The place is a dry area, so you don't have to worry about being soaked. The trail is paved, so you don't have to worry about mud.

Legislature State Capitol

Visiting this place will be interesting if you are a visitor who enjoys looking at architecture. This building is very unique in that it has various Hawaiian motifs. For example, the House and Senate chambers are volcanoes, columns are coconut trees and the surrounding water symbolizes the Pacific Ocean. Other interesting sites nearby are the Iolani Palace, King Kamehameha Statue, Downtown and the Hawaii State Library.

Aloha Tower

If you are visiting Hawaii, you may want to stop by this place and take a look at Honolulu Harbor from the lookout on the top of the Aloha Tower (9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free). The view is a spectacular 360 degrees panorama. There are no large retail stores here. The parking lot is located behind the power plant. If you are staying in Waikiki, you can get here easily via Ala Moana Blvd. From here, you can get to Pearl Harbor in about 30 minutes via Nimitz going west. Aloha Tower was the tallest structure in Hawaii when it was completed in 1926 at a cost of $190,000. It is now the most recognized building in the state and second only to Diamond Head as Hawaii's most famous landmark. The only way up to the 10th floor observation deck is via a small, vintage elevator. Once at the top you’ll be greeted with sweeping views of Honolulu and signage which points out the various landmarks. The observation deck is open to the public daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Source: alohatower.com

Oceanarium Restaurant

This is one of the most interesting restaurants in Hawaii for its gigantic aquarium. Located within walking distance of many hotels in Waikiki, this place will keep you entertained during your meal with sights of interesting tropical fishes and other sea creatures. "... Oceanarium was built in 1979 and is the biggest of its kind located in a single hotel. The three-story, 280,000-gallon, larger-than-life aquarium pro- vides guests with incredible views of nearly 400 fish from more than 70 different species of Indo-Pacific marine life." Source: pacificbeachhotel.com

Dangers of the Ocean, Water Falls and Streams

HAWAII is the only state made up entirely of islands. The various islands of Hawaii all have natural beauty, warm climates, and inviting beaches. Only the Big Island has active volcanoes. Hawaii is one of the World's most popular travel places with millions arriving annually. The most serious issues for travelers are the dangers of the ocean, accidental deaths, and the large homeless population in Waikiki. Tourist regularly drown in the waters of Waikiki or other remote beaches. The beauty of the water is very deceptive. It can easily cause the death of weak swimmers. It is best to swim with a group or with an air filled device. There have been cases of people diving off water falls and falling off hiking trails to their deaths. On June 2010, a diver died after jumping more than 50 feet off the cliff at Spitting Caves in Honolulu. Also, storms will cause a sudden buildup of water in what normally is a small stream. A wall of water will come raging down and sweep away any person who is unlucky enough to be in its path to the ocean. Halona Blowhole is a rock formation off of Hanauma Bay that is the site of many deaths. On windy days when the tide is high, the ocean breeze sends the waves rolling on to the shore where the rock formation then shoots sea spray high into the air through the cave acting like a geyser. A tourist recently got too close, fell in the blowhole, became trapped and died.

Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, Hawaii
Ala Moana Center, Oahu

References

© 2017 Earthspot