History of Hawai‘i
Millions of years ago, magma began to emerge from vents on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, building mountains that eventually rose above the surface of the sea. The natural forces of wind, rain, and ocean swells carved and shaped the Hawaiian Islands. Legend tells us the same story, but in different terms. Papa, the Earth Mother, and Wakea, the Sky Father formed the islands. The fickle Pele, goddess of volcanoes, produced new lava flows that created and destroyed land. Kane brought the waters of life, carving ridges and valleys, and allowing new life forms to emerge. Over time, seeds and spores, insects and birds, drifted over thousands of miles on the ocean and the atmosphere to settle on fertile islands waiting for life. The plants and animals that evolved on the Hawaiian Islands were unique in all the world. Most new species in an ecosystem have aggressive tendencies. Barbs, thorns, poison, and other defenses are necessary to ensure their survival. In Hawai‘i, however, a strange thing happened. Species began to lose their competitiveness. For instance, the lack of natural enemies and predators caused plants to lose the bitterness or poison that protected them from grazing animals. Hawai‘i has no native four-footed animals; grazing mammals would only be introduced after Western contact. Life forms adapted and survived Hawai‘i’s isolation and limited space by becoming less aggressive, by learning to share this new territory.
The first Hawaiians came to these islands by voyaging canoe. The first waves of people probably came from the Marquesas Islands about 600 AD, and were followed by voyagers from other Polynesian groups such as Tahiti. These later migrations, around 1300 AD, were significant in that they had different levels of society, chiefs and commoners.
The cooperation needed to survive long ocean voyages on the limited space of a double-hulled canoe prepared these settlers well for the adaptations necessary to live within the limitations of their new island home.
The systems they developed were strikingly simple, yet sophisticated. The Kanaka Maoli became masters of resource management. The central element of their social and economic structure was wai, or fresh water. The Hawaiian word for law is kanawai, because many of the earliest laws dealt with the distribution and management of water. The Hawaiian word for wealth is waiwai.
Land division in Hawai‘i started with an island, mokupuni, divided into districts, moku, and then into ahupua’a, a land section extending from a narrow point in the mountains to a broader area in the sea. The auhpua’a was the center of life.
Within an ahupua’a lived extended families, ‘ohana, some near the ocean and others within the uplands. Everything necessary for sustenance was found in the auhpua’a. ‘Ohana members in the uplands shared their goods with those who lived by the ocean, and vice versa. This was not a formal exchange, but a communal sharing.
Although chiefs might be responsible for the care of the land and surrounding coastline, it was understood that the land belonged to the Gods. The idea that man could “own” the land was as laughable as owning the stars, the winds, the rain, or the ocean.
Certain oral histories suggest that the earliest Polynesian settlers had a somewhat egalitarian society. However, sometime around 1200 AD, probably with the arrival of Pa’ao from Tahiti, a rigid hierarchy of hereditary chiefs and commoners was established.
The kapu system was integral part of their society. The kapu between men and women dictated that certain foods were forbidden to women, thus men and women had separate eating-houses. The division of labor also carried kapu; one would not find a man weaving or making kapa, neither would one find a woman carving a canoe or building a heiau.
The kapu system was very complicated. Rights and responsibilities, as well as privileges, were controlled by one’s position in society. Thus, genealogies became of foremost importance to Hawaiian. Even today, certain kupuna can recite their genealogy going back over 2,000 years.
Up until the last half of the 18 th century, Hawai‘i was made up of several kingdoms, each ruled by chiefs of various lineages. Battles were fought between armies from different moku or districts, or even different islands.
In 1778, Captain James Cook landed at Waimea Bay in Kauai and was welcomed by the people there. After exchanging iron nails for precious artifacts and provisions, he continued on to the Pacific Northwest and the Bering Sea. He left goats and pigs behind on Kauai and Ni’ihau; his men left venereal diseases.
When winter weather set in, he sailed back to Hawai‘i, landing first at Maui, and then Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island. Although he was initially welcomed, tensions grew, and Captain Cook and four of his men were killed, as well as seventeen Hawaiians.
Hawai‘i became known to the rest of the world, and became a reprovisioning point for traders traveling to the Far East and America from Europe. This Western contact would begin the ending of the Hawaiians’ carefully balanced society and culture. Moreover, after being isolated for thousands of years, the Hawaiians had no resistance to the communicable diseases that would follow, threatening their very existence. About twenty years before the arrival of Captain Cook, a chief was born in the Kohala district of Hawai‘i. This young man, Pai’ea, became a fierce young warrior with a vision of unifying all the islands under one kingdom. He would later be called Kamehameha.
After uniting his home island Hawai‘i, he conquered Maui, Lana’i, Kaho’olawe, Molokai, and finally O’ahu. He twice tried to go to battle with Kauai and Ni’ihau, but was thwarted once by a violent storm, and once by an epidemic within his troops. In 1810, however, the king of Kauai and Ni’ihau ceded his lands to the new kingdom.
During the reign of Kamehameha, British sea captains introduced horses, sheep and cattle to the islands. The sandalwood trade began, and the capital of the Hawaiian Islands was moved from Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i to O’ahu.
Kamehameha the Great maintained the kapu system with some difficulty, as western sailors and traders used Hawai‘i as a place to fill their various needs. The King did enact laws forbidding theft and murder, as well as the renowned “Law of the Splintered Paddle,” which guaranteed safety on the highways to all.
After Kamehameha’s death in 1819, his son Liholiho began his reign at age 23. His mother, Keopuolani, orchestrated the breaking of the kapu system by publicly eating goods once forbidden to women. The favorite wife of Kamehameha, Ka’ahumanu, was appointed the kuhina nui (ruling minister) before the king’s death. She was the true political power of the land until her death.
After the first Protestant missionary arrivals in 1820, they were allowed a one year trial period by King Liholiho, largely because the Hawaiians were eager to learn to read and write. The abolishing of the kapu system left a social and religious void, and Ka’ahumanu’s conversion to Christianity allowed the missionaries to gain great influence quickly.
In the 1820s, whaling ships visited Hawai‘i on a regular basis. While on a trip to England with his favorite consort Kamamalu, King Liholiho contracts measles. In a portending of events to follow, both of them die, having no immunity to Western diseases.
Kamehameha III, Kauikeaouli, began his reign in 1825. In the next fifteen years, mosquitoes were introduced, cattle ranching began, the first newspapers and bibles were printed, and Hansen’s Disease (formerly known as leprosy) was first seen on the island of Maui. In 1840, with the help of missionary advisors and Hawaiian scholars, Kamehameha III developed the first seen on the island of Maui. In 1840, with the help of missionary advisors and Hawaiian scholars, Kamehameha III developed the first Constitution.
During the last fourteen years of the reign of Kamehameha III, formal registration of births were required, sugar and coffee plantations were established, and contract labor laws allowed workers to be imported from other countries. Epidemics of dysentery, flu, measles, whooping cough, and smallpox killed tens of thousands of the native population.
The Mahele of 1848 was a division of lands that designated certain lands for the king and the government, and allowed title to land to be bought and sold in fee. Pressure from Western businessmen, missionaries, ranchers and farmers had persuaded the king that the ability to own private property would benefit his people.
Instead, for a variety of reasons, foremost the lack of understanding of the concept of “owning land” less than 40,000 acre out of 4,000,000 came into the hands of commoners. In 1850, the Mahele was amended and foreigners were allowed to buy land outright. Foreigners, who understood the concept of property ownership, began acquiring large tracts of lands.
When Kamehameha III died in 1854, he had named his successor his nephew Alexander Liholiho, Kamehameha IV. He and his wife Queen Emma were pro-British and helped introduce the Episcopal Church to Hawai‘i.
Lot Kapuaiwa, Kamehameha V, issued a new Constitution in 1864, one year after assuming the throne. Alarmed by the increasing influence of foreigners, especially Americans, he sought to increase the power of the king. His choice to succeed him, his beloved cousin Princess Bernice Pauahi, declined the throne. After Lot’s death, the legislature was assigned to elect the new king.
They selected William Lunalilo over David Kalakaua. The popular “Prince Bill” insisted on an election, which he won overwhelmingly. The economy was in a depression, and the suggestion was made by Foreign Minister Charles Bishop that sugar tariffs to the United States might be eliminated by ceding Pu’uloa, later called Pearl Harbor.
King Lunalilo was receptive to the idea, but died a little more than a year after taking office, before a treaty could be completed. David Kalakaua would assume the throne in 1874.
Planters and businessmen immediately began pressuring the king about the reciprocity treaty, but he opposed ceding Pearl Harbor. He traveled to Washington DC and a compromise was worked out. Hawai‘i would allow no other foreign countries to use its lands and ports. In return, Hawai‘i’s sugar would be exported to the United States duty-free. The Reciprocity Treaty went into effect in 1876.
By this time, sugar was the center of Hawai‘i’s economy. Caucasians controlled the sugar plantations and related business such as shipping and banking. Many of them were missionary descendents who now enjoyed great wealth and influence. King Kalakaua was deeply concerned about his people and their culture.
He openly supported and encouraged the revival of cultural practices such as hula, chant, surfing, and other traditions. Kalakaua made no secret that he preferred the British style of government, a constitutional monarchy. The haole business community, nearly all with strong American ties, took matters into their own hands.
The “Hawaiian League” was formed to create a new constitution limiting the powers of the king. This ironically named organization was made up of entirely haole businessmen protecting their own interests. King Kalakaua was forced to sign the “Bayonet Constitution” which made him little more than a figurehead. Soon after, he was forced to lease Pearl Harbor to the United States in exchange for an extension for the Reciprocity Treaty.
After Kalakaua’s death in San Francisco in 1891, his sister Lydia Kamaka’eha Lili’uokalani began her reign. She was pro-Hawaiian and anti-annexationist, and immediately let it be known that she intended to have a new Constitution that restored the powers of the monarchy and reestablished Hawaiian control of the government.
Missionary descendant Lorrin Thruston and his cohorts formed the “Committee of Safety.” They enlisted the aid of United States Minister John Stevens, who authorized the use of American troops as an intimidating factor. The Queen, wishing to avoid bloodshed, yielded “to the superior force of the United States of America.” Lili’uokalani was confident that after being presented with the facts, she would be reinstated by the United States as the constitutional monarch of a recognized independent nation.
President Grover Cleveland would not annex Hawai‘i, so a Provisional Government took was set up until the Republic of Hawai‘i, was declared in 1894. Loyal subjects of the Queen attempted an armed insurrection in 1895 that was quickly defeated. The Queen was charged with treason and imprisoned. Before her trial, she was brought a statement to sign abdicating her throne. In exchange, the lives of loyalists convicted of treason and sentenced to death would be spared.
The Queen signed the paper. Again, she felt strongly that after the whole story was presented to the U.S. Government, they would do the right thing and reinstate her. After President Cleveland lost the election to William McKinley, the stage was set. On July 7, 1898 President McKinley signed a Joint Resolution of Annexation and Hawai‘i became an American possession.
Hawai‘i was a territory of the U.S. for the next 59 years. Although residents paid income tax, the President appointed their governor and judges. One delegate to Congress could be elected to lobby for the Territory of Hawai‘i, but he had no vote. Robert Wilcox, a Royalist, was the first elected delegate. He was defeated in 1902 by Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole, who served for the next twenty years. Kuhio was instrumental in the passing of the Hawaiian Homestead Act in 1920.
Pineapple joined sugar as an agricultural commodity. Workers were brought in from foreign countries to meet the demands of the planters for cheap, plentiful labor. The Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese were brought in during the 19 th century. After 1900, they were followed by the Okinawans, Puerto Ricans, Filipinos, Spanish, and Koreans. Although they were other immigrant group arrivals, their numbers were small. Plantation owners purposely kept different ethnic groups in their own camps. By encouraging the cultural gulfs between different races, the owners were able for many years to subvert unified action for fair wages and better treatment.
The Big Five, companies founded in the 1800s, controlled 96% of the sugar crop by 1933. They also controlled banking, shipping, insurance, wholesale and retail merchandising, and utilities in the Hawaiian Islands. The companies were inextricably linked to the missionaries; each firm had at least one direct descendent, usually more, on their board of directors.
The Big Five were C. Brewer, Theo H. Davies, American Factors, Castle & Cooke, and Alexander & Baldwin. Just as powerful as these five were the Dillingham’s interests, whose business revolved around construction and transportation. For half of the 20 th century, these men controlled the land, money, and government of the Islands. In politics, there was really only one party, their Republican Party.
The territorial years also saw a sharp increase in the military’s presence in Hawai‘i. Fort Shafter was built in 1907; construction of Pearl Harbor Naval Base was begun the next year. Several small forts were built on Oah’u’s south shore. Among them were Ft. Ruger, Ft. DeRussy, Fort Armstrong, Ft. Weaver, and Fort Kamehameha. Schofield Barracks was built in 1909 on a base covering over 14,000 acres. After WWI, Hawai‘i became the home of the Pacific Fleet. This increase in military presence brought more of America’s culture to the population of Hawai‘i.
In 1935 Pan Am began airmail service to the islands, and in 1936 began the first Trans-Pacific passenger service. Air travel was still a luxury for the very rich. The round-trip fare was $720.00, more than the cost of a new automobile.
Ships were still the main mode for travel and cargo. The arrivals of the Matson Liners were duly reported in the newspapers with passenger lists. Boat Days harkened back to olden times when people thronged the shore to greet their ali’i arriving in fleets of canoes. The difference now was that the Big Five held a virtual monopoly on all shipping and the docks, and the passengers on the ships were more often tourists to be served.
By the start of WWII in 1939, the U.S. Military was preparing for possible entry into the war. Hickam Field, Kane’ohe Naval Air Station, and the Marine Corps Air Station (later known as Barber’s Point) had joined the growing list of properties taken over by the military.
December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that pushed the U.S. into WWII. Martial law was declared in Hawai‘i, and President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 1066. This order authorized the internment of any person in order to protect national security.
More than 110,000 Japanese residents were relocated to camps in the continental United States. Less than 2,500 from Hawai‘i suffered this fate. Homes, farms, and businesses totaling 400 million in 1941 dollars were confiscated from Japanese on the Continent. In Hawai‘i, the numbers were much smaller. Much of Lualualei on the Wai’anae Coast was owned by Japanese farmers and was confiscated.
WWII left an indelible imprint on the Hawaiian Islands, largely because of the more than 250,000 personnel who were stationed in Hawai‘i during the war’s duration. The biggest effects would come in the years to follow.
Congress had passed the National Labor Relations Act in 1935, giving workers the right to organize and engage in collective bargaining. Even before this, immigrant laborers had attempted to strike against the plantations for equal wages. Spies, bribes, and threats by the owners generally kept the workers in check.
After the war, the labor movement in Hawai‘i, largely through the IL WU, AFL, and CIO, began to gain momentum. The 1949 Longshoremen’s Strike went on for six months and shut down shipping, stopping the flow of goods and food. Afterward, Jack Hall and other organizers were accused of being part of a communist plot. This was the McCarthy Era, and the court battles went on for a decade. Finally, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the “Hawai‘i Seven” of all charges.
After WWII, the National Democratic Party took an active interest in Hawai‘i, which had been under Republican control for decades. A police officer named John A. Burns had been vocally sympathetic to Nisei during the war. Afterward, he understood their feelings of frustration at being treated as second-class citizens after their valor on the battlefields of Europe.v He recognized that by organizing their votes and combining them with those of the labor unions, the Democrats could be successful at the polls. In 1946, six Nisei Democrats were elected to the Territorial Legislature. By 1954, the Democrats were in firm control of both the House and the Senate, having dominated Hawai‘i’s politics ever since.
Since 1903, various persons, among them Prince Kuhio, had broached the subject of statehood for Hawai‘i. In 1935, Territorial Delegate Samuel King introduced a new statehood bill in Congress. Between then and 1958, 20 spirited hearings were held and more than a thousand people interviewed. Finally, the statehood bill was passed and a plebiscite held in Hawai‘i. Only one in 17 voted against statehood, although questions have been raised recently about the validity of the vote because of the ballot’s wording.
On August 21, 1959 Hawai‘i became the 50 th State of the United States of America.
(The following section was added and is open-ended.)
After Statehood, the focus of Hawai‘i’s economy shifted toward tourism. Movies and television served to keep Hawai‘i in the public eye. Commercial airlines allowed middle-class travelers to take advantage of economy airfares and budget-priced accommodations. Visitors numbered over a million a year in the 1960s; by 1990 some six million tourists were annual visitors.
The 1960s in Hawai‘i largely mirrored the era in the rest of the U.S., as prosperity and growth allowed families to buy homes and build their futures. However, this came at a price. The massive development that fueled the economy destroyed pristine areas and made millionaires of a select few at the expense of many.
In the early 1970s the Hawaiian cultural Renaissance began. Hawaiian scholars such as John Dominis Holt and George Kanahele questioned the position of Hawaiians and their ancestral values in their own land. Hawaiian activist groups patterned after the Black Panthers and the Young Lord’s Party on the continent fomented protests against their status in Hawaiian society.
In 1976, the successful voyage of the Hokule’a to Tahiti signaled the advent of a period of pride for the Kanaka Maoli that continues today. The Hokule’a, a voyaging canoe patterned after those of olden times, offered concrete evidence of the knowledge, expertise, and courage of the Polynesians who had settled in Hawai‘i. Today, it is estimated that they traveled over 2,000 miles without instruments a thousand years before Columbus set said for America.
The Hokule’a became a symbol for the renewed pride and quest for knowledge that modern Hawaiians were realizing. In 1978, at the State Constitutional Convention, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs was created, and Hawaiian was declared an official language of the state along with English.
When Hawai‘i was declared a territory, the government mandated that all school instruction would be only in English, and that children would be punished for speaking Hawaiian. Today we recognize that the most effective way to kill off a culture is to remove their language; this no doubt was the intent of this mandate.
Happily, today the Hawaiian language has been revived, through immersion schools for young children, high school and university classes that recognize Hawaiian as a viable, living language, and increased awareness among the public.
History of Waikīkī
Waikiki, the world’s most famous beach resort, was literally spit out of the flames and heat of the cataclysmic eruption of Diamond Head – also a world famous landmark that now seems to serve as a historic marker and sentinel watching over the beautiful curve of beach known as Waikiki.
In 300 A.D., Waikiki, which translates to”spouting waters”, was literally a pristine wetland of abundant flora and fauna that joined the two great valleys above it to the seacoast. Rainwater from Manoa and Palolo valley ran freely to the sea by three major streams, the Apuakehau, which emptied where the Surfrider Hotel stands today; – the Kuekaumahi which is now Kapahulu Avenue, and the, Piianaio which flowed into the ocean where Ft. De Russy and the Reef Hotel now stand.
Sometime between 800 and 1200 A.D. the first Polynesians arrived in Waikiki to discover its rich wetland eventually establishing settlements along the coast stretching from the top of the valleys to the outer edges of the reef. It was extremely well suited for farming wetland and dryland crops, fishing, and a host of other activities to sustain life and support a large community.
The original Waikiki district, as an ancient feudal territorial division actually included iincluding Manoa, Palolo, Niu, Kuliouou valleys.
1450 AD King Ma’ilikukahi, ruler of Oahu, moves his capital from the leeward coast of the island to Waikiki. Under this benevolent king , with the abundance of fresh water, major resource development occurs of fish ponds, wetland farms of taro and other crops. Coastal management of the abundant sea life which included fish, mussels, seaweeds, and shell fish populations reaches unprecedented heights of sophistication. The climate is near perfect for rest and relaxation and Waikiki becomes an primary place of healing and recreation for both chiefs and commoners. The king, beloved by his people, welcomes all strangers to his domain and sets a high standard for hosting guests
Between 1760 - 1795 the island of Oahu and particularly Waikiki is coveted by the powerful King Kahekili of the island of Maui. He wages war, conquers Oahu and adds this prized island to his domain. King Kahekili remains on Maui assigns his son Kalanikapule to rule Oahu.
The plot thickens when an ambitious and increasingly powerful chief from the big island of Hawai’i, whose ambition is to conquer all the islands and unite them into one kingdom, .Kamehameha, the Great defeats King Kahekili, takes possession of Maui, then invades Waikiki and defeats Kalanikapule in the famous battle of Nuuanu Pali. For the time being he maintains Waikiki as the Capitol of Oahu.By 1795 Kamehameha has realized his ambition by conquest and joins the islands under one rule. The Kingdom of Hawai’i is established. By now Hawai’i has been “discovered” by the European powers, the United States, and Japan which triggers the introduction of a market economy to Hawai’i. Trade and commerce begin to flourish and Honolulu Harbor – a few miles west of Waikiki – rises as the major port of call for the merchant ships of the world needing provisions and looking to trade. So, Kamehameha moves the capitol of Oahu from Waikiki to Honolulu.
In spite of the move of the capitol to Honolulu, Waikiki continues its popularity as a place of healing. Waikiki’s healing reputation is transmitted through a famous legend of the arrival of four soothsayers and healers from Tahiti who are said to have left behind four great stones as a reminder of their stay in Waikiki when they returned to Tahiti. Surfing becomes a major activity as well as fishing and other recreational activities. As the family of Kamehameha grows Waikiki becomes a Royal Retreat for his dynasty to rest and entertain.
1828 disaster strikes the Hawaiian people. without immunity from recently introduced western diseases the Hawaiian population is devastated is a very short period of time. the populationof native Hawaiians drops from approximately 450,000 to less than 30,000. The huge loss of the workforce and cultural practitioners is catastrophic. In Waikiki agricultural production is severely curtailed and the wetlands begin to go fallow. Waikiki begins to decline as an abundant food production center. However, Hawai‘i’s royalty continue to make Waikiki a royal retreat including Kamehameha V, Queen Kapiolani, and Queen Liliuokalani. By the 1880’s foreign businessmen follow the royals and and begin establishing elegant Victorian homes in Waikiki.
In a demand for more infrastructure to support the district’s development a road connecting Waikiki to Honolulu is constructed through the wetlands and what taro fields still remained. There was now a transportation conduit to allow for goods and services to be accessed from the capitol of Honolulu.
In the 1870’s a most remarkable activity ensued when enterprising Chinese and Japanese farmers launched an attempt to convert the deserted wetlands landscape into rice fields and duck ponds.
In the 1880’s Waikiki continues its popularity as a play to play and then King Kalakaua dedicates a significant parcel of land at the base of Diamond Head in honor of his wife and the Queen Kapiolani Park is created in the tradition of New York’s Central Park and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. A new major recreational diversion dominates the Waikiki weekends when a horse racing track complete with grandstand opened in 1883. It was demolished in 1914 partly because of the rather obnoxiousbut to be expected rise of gambling.
In 1881 the first seeds of modern day tourism sprouts with the construction of the first two commercial bath houses on the beach at Waikiki. They were the Long Branch and the Occidental. Others to follow were the Ilaniwai Baths, Wrights Villas, Waikiki Inn( at Kuhio Beach), the Waikiki Villas(near the Sheraton Waikiki), the Saratoga Baths (near the Outrigger Reef Hotel) and The Old Waikiki which later became the Niumalu Hotel and is now part of the site of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Then in 1920 the most dramatic re-development of the Waikiki landscape is triggered that ushers in a new age of the urbanization of Waikiki. The wetlands are declared to be a health hazard and the wetlands are drained by the construction of the Ala Wai Canal. the canal is completed in 1928. The lands are reclaimed, subdivided into 5000 square foot lots, and sold in fee simple. Real estate development turns rural Waikiki into a suburb.
In 1927 A new star is born in Waikiki with the construction of the glamorous Royal Hawaiian hotel which joins the classic Moana hotel as two pillars of luxury in the worlds most exotic tropical location. Waikiki tourism seriously escalates for the world’s rich and famous.
1927 witnesses more attempts to create recreational opportunities for “destination Waikiki” with the building of the historic Waikiki Natatorium War. A massive 100 yard by 40 yards wide Olympic swimming pool with the most unique feature of being on the beach and fed by ocean water. Several medal winning Olympians bring fame to this magnificent architectural wonder beginning with Hawaiian Olympian Duke Kahanamoku and joined by other world renowned swimmers such as Ford Kono, Dick Cleveland, Johnny Weismuller and Buster Crabbe.
This period also sees The Honolulu Zoo added as another attraction to the Waikiki landscape. The zoo is built on 40 acres of Queen Kaiolani Park.land and is made part of the queen’s trust.
1934 marks the beginning of Waikiki moving into full swing with the rise of “hapa-haole” Hawaiian music’s worldwide popularity. It begins when Harry Owens and his big band take over the Monarch Room at the Royal Hawaiian hotel and become an icon and global purveyor of popular Hawaiian music. A milestone event occurs with the launching of the popular worldwide radio show Hawai’i Calls. Many new stars are created in Waikiki which include Hilo Hattie, Andy Cummings, Alfred Apaka, Sterling Mossman, and others. Visiting entertainment celebrities such as Bing Crosby, Shirley Temple, Groucho Marx, Clark Gable and Carol Lombard. Waikiki’s reputation grows exponentially as a first class destination and takes top honors as the most famous beach in the world.
1941 – 1945 the Second World War interrupts the flow of tourists to Waikiki. It becomes a rest and recreation area for soldiers and sailors coming and going to the war in the Pacific. Waikiki becomes the last stop for those on their way to war – not knowing if they will come back – and it’s the first stop on American soil on their way back. It is a place of high emotion and bittersweet memories. Waikiki becomes home to hundreds of wartime romances. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is temporarily turned into a rest and recreation facility military personnel. Ironically, thousands of these soldiers and sailors – after the war – will form the basis of Waikiki’s early boom years as they return to Waikiki with their wives and families to revisit the magic of Waikiki.
From pre-historic wetlands to modern times Waikiki has worn many faces. In this, the first quarter of the 21st century she is once again transforming herself – this time into a revitalized and refreshed urban beach resort as new government and private investment usher in a new era.
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