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Historical Snapshots

‘Auwai of Nu‘uanu Valley
Wetland kalo was the food staple for Hawai‘i. Extensive terraced fields and irrigation ‘auwai were created to grow the staple.

Buke Mele Lāhui, Book of National Songs
Buke Mele Lahui was published in the last months of 1895 by Francisco Jose Testa, editor of the Hawaiian language newspaper Ka Makaainana.

Cannon Fire in Lahaina
Lahaina was an important port during the whaling era, but the industry also had negative impacts on the islands’ social conditions.

Daguerrotype: Early Photography in Hawai‘i
A daguerrotype was an early type of photograph popular during the 1840s-1870s.

Death of the Prince of Hawai‘i
On August 27, 1862, four-year-old Albert Edward Kaleiopapa a Kamehameha, affectionately known as Ka Haku o Hawaiʻi, passed away.

Duke Strikes Olympic Gold
At the Fifth Olympiad in Stockholm in 1912, the world was focused on Hawai‘i — and on a tall, bronzed swimmer named Duke Kahanamoku.

First Hawaiian Hymn Book, 1823
Na Himeni Hawaii; He Me Ori Ia Iehova, Ke Akua Mau, was the first Hawaiian hymn book printed in 1823 by the missionary press.

Founding of the Hawaiian Historical Society
Late in December of 1891, a group of men, aware of living in historic times, met to organize a historical society.

From Greece to Hawai‘i: An Odyssey
Greek sailors found their way to the Islands on whalers and trading vessels after 1830.

George Prince Tamoree of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau
Born on Kaua‘i in 1798, the son of Kaumuali‘i, king of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau, was first known as Humehume.

Hawai‘i Train Wrecks
Train wrecks in Hawai‘i have usually lacked the spectacular quality and human carnage of those on continental lines, but at least three deserve mention.

Hawaiian Colonists on Jarvis, Howland, and Baker Islands
In March of 1935, in great secrecy, six young men boarded the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca bound for bleak, uninhabited equatorial atolls.

Hawaiian Nationalist Press
An event of 1861 received little notice at the time but was to have a lasting influence -- the birth of the first Hawaiian nationalist newspaper.

Hawaiian Studies Abroad
A farsighted King David Kalākaua knew that a modern Hawai‘i would need leaders if it was to take its place among the nations of the world.

Ikua Purdy at the Cheyenne Rodeo
In August of 1908, twelve thousand spectators watched Ikua Purdy, Eben Low, and Archie Kaaua win top awards at the world-famous Cheyenne Rodeo.

Jean Kelley, the first Ni‘ihau student at Kamehameha
Niʻihau’s own Jean Kelley returned to the Kamehameha Schools a year after her graduation to serve as associate housemother for seventh grade boarders.

Kaimiloa and the Cadet Band
A cadet band was assigned to the Hawaiian naval ship Kaimiloa, and the apprentice seamen of the crew served double duty as the band members.

Kaimiloa and the Crewmen of the Hawaiian Navy
Two dozen Hawaiian youths were enlisted as apprentice seamen to help crew the Hawaiian Navy’s ship the Kaimiloa.

Kaimiloa: Kalākaua’s Naval Ship, 1887
His Hawaiian Majesty’s Ship Kaimiloa was commissioned on March 28, 1887 for the naval service of the Kingdom.

Kalaupapa Lighthouse, 1909
Two-hundred-thirteen feet above the water, it was the brightest light in the Pacific and flashed twenty-one miles out to sea.

Kamehameha II and Queen Kamehamalu, 1824
While on their London visit in 1824, King Kamehameha II and Queen Kamehamalu posed for the artist John Hayter, painter to the British royal court.

Kamehameha Statues
In 1878, the Hawaiian legislature appropriated $10,000 for a monument to be built honoring Kamehameha the Great.

Ko‘olau and Pi‘ilani: A Leper and his Wife
In 1893, a Provisional Government army of thirty-five men traveled to Kaua‘i to capture lepers who resisted being sent to Kalaupapa.

Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts, which are native to Australia, were first planted in Hawai‘i around 1881.

Mānoa Trolley, 1901
Besides people, the trolley carried bananas, chickens, buckets of poi, newspapers, and a bucket of sand for slippery tracks.

New Zealand Connection
In January of 1892, two groups of men separated by the vast Pacific organized historical societies — one in Hawai‘i, the other in New Zealand.

Paulet Episode, 1843
On February 15, 1843, Lord George Paulet ordered the Hawaiian flag lowered and the British flag raised. This occupation lasted five months.

Queen’s Hospital
At the opening of the 1855 Legislature, Kamehameha IV identified Hawai‘i’s most serious problem as the radical decrease of the Hawaiian population.

Robert Wilcox and the 1889 Rebellion
In 1889, Robert Wilcox led an insurrection against the so-called "Reform Government" who had imposed the "Bayonet Constitution" upon King Kalākaua.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, a $4 million investment by the Matson Navigation Co. opened on February 1, 1927.

Royal Standard of King Kalākaua
A Royal Standard is the personal flag of a reigning King or Queen. The standard is flown or displayed to mark the presence of the monarch.

The Folio: A Plea for Women’s Rights, 1855
Did the first newspaper for women’s rights appear in 1980? 1970? 1950? It may surprise you that one appeared in Honolulu in 1855!

Three Women Editors
Elizabeth Jarves, Emma A‘ima Nāwahī, and Theresa Owana Kaohelelani Wilcox were three truly notable women in Hawaiian history.

View of the Old Pali Road
In 1852, The Polynesian stated, “O‘ahu residents will never be satisfied till a tunnel is dug through the Pali, suitable for the passage of carts and wagons.”

Wailuku Bridge
The earliest recorded bridge in Hawai‘i was a crude footbridge across the Wailuku River in Hilo, reported by missionary C. S. Stewart in 1825.

Water Supply and Plumbing
Work on a piped water supply system for Honolulu was first undertaken in 1847-1848.