Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Captain Cook and Kamehameha the Great
The Rise and Fall of the Hawaiian Kingdom: A Pictorial History; A Concise Picture History of Hawaii and Its Rulers from the Birth of Kamehameha the Great to the Establishment of the Territory of Hawaii in 1900. / by Robert Wiesniewski.Honolulu : Published and Distributed by Pacific Basin Enterprises, c1987.
The Rise and Fall of the Hawaiian Kingdom… is a fascinating account, albeit from the European point of view, of the history of our 50th state. Two key points about its history: no one in Europe knew Hawaii existed until James Cook and his expedition landed there, and, it may be the only island tribal culture in history to maintain a monarchy while meeting the Europeans on their own terms. Unknown to Europeans until Captain Cook “discovered” it for them in 1778, the Hawaiian Islands lie at a distinct geographic advantage, since they are located centrally between landfall in Asia, Australia, Chile, Panama, and the West coast of North America. The archipelago became a roadstead for voyagers trading in fur, sandalwood and other goods: its wealth and independence between 1812 and 1900 transformed an ancient culture to modern ways. This unique position was carefully guarded by the warrior-king, Kamehameha the Great, between 1805 and 1819, and continued through Kamehameha V’s reign into the 1870s. The Kingdom of Hawaii achieved status in Pacific trade, but finally was defeated as a sovereign power at the hands of the Americans who wished to claim all of Hawaii for their own interests.
Kamehameha, the grandson of an earlier ruler of the island of Hawaii, was groomed from birth to be a warrior. The vision of their first monarch, King Kamehameha (1758-1819), was to unite the islands of Hawaii, Oahu and Kauai under his rule.
“Kamehameha learned spear throwing and the rudimentary tactics of warfare… Without a written language, he learned navigation, astronomy, religious ceremonies, prayers and kapus (taboos), and other vital information necessary to become an Alii-aimoku (a District Chief).” (Wisniewski, p. 13)
The booklet is a 1979 version of Hawaiian history and features explanatory text and many illustrations and photographs depicting the Hawaiian monarchy, the influence of European, Chinese and American traders, and a glimpse of the cultural values that led to complete transformation of the Kingdom into a Territory (of the U.S.) and finally to statehood in 1959. More recent scholarship reveals the Hawaiian culture and the nature of the conflict between cultures.
Resources on Hawaii history on the Web:
The Hawaiian Historical Society was founded in 1892. Publishers of the Hawaiian Journal of History, Books and papers about the early Hawaiian government, cultural influences of Spanish America and Russia, trade and canoe voyages of Hawaiians, they also offer transcribed radio broadcasts of “Hawai’i History Moments”, Hawaiian culture from A to Z.
HawaiiHistory.org a community learning center is a lively site containing expert-reviewed pages of articles, photographs and contributions by readers on the history of Hawai’i.
The Bishop Museum began to collect artifacts of the history of Hawai’I and Pacific Islands in 1889.
Other books by Richard Wisniewski:
Hawaiian monarchs and their palaces : a pictorial history / compiled, written, and edited by Richard A. Wisniewski. Honolulu : Published and Distributed by Pacific Basin Enterprises, c1987.
Hawaii, the territorial years, 1900-1959 : a pictorial history / compiled, written, and edited by Richard A. Wisniewski. Honolulu, Hawaii (P.O. Box 8924, Honolulu 96815) : Pacific Basin Enterprises, c1984.
Hawaiian history and culture:
Voyage: The Discovery of Hawaii. / Herb Kawainui Kane. Honolulu: Island Heritage Limited, 1976.
Explanation of words:
Archipelago: explained from a geological and geographical point of view.
Hawaiian Archipelago: This site is a portal to sites about the ecology and natural environment. Choose from Environmental Data Organizations and General Interest tabs that take you to links about weather and climate, ecology, water quality, plant and animal life, sanctuaries, landmarks and maps, and much more.
Roadstead:a sheltered offshore anchorage for ships, as explained by the Free Dictionary online.