BECK index

Pacific Islands to 1949

by Sanderson Beck

Microneia to 1949
Melanesia to 1949
Fiji and Tonga to 1949
Samoa to 1899
Samoa Divided 1899-1949
Tahiti to 1949
Hawaiian Islands to 1836
Hawaiian Islands 1836-76
Hawaii and the United States 1876-1900
Hawaii under the United States 1900-49

This chapter has been published in the book EAST ASIA 1800-1949.
For ordering information, please click here.

Micronesia to 1949

Micronesia is in the northern Pacific Ocean. The Mariana Islands were taken over by the Philippines in 1669, and in 1857 the Spanish government made them a prison. Spaniards also explored the Caroline Islands in the 16th century; Jesuits tried to evangelize them, starting in 1710; and they were colonized in the 19th century. In 1788 the Gilbert Islands and the Marshall Islands were named after the two British captains who discovered them. American missionaries and Hawaiian converts began proselytizing in the Carolines in 1852 to redeem them from the vices caused by the whaling expeditions. The American missionary, Dr. Hiram Bingham, came to the northern Gilbert Islands in 1857 and stayed in the region until 1875. He learned Gilbertese, compiled a dictionary and a grammar, and translated the Bible. In 1875 the Spanish governor of the Philippines imposed taxes and licensing on foreign traders in the Carolines. The Germans tried to annex the Carolines in 1885. Spain appealed to Pope Leo XIII, who ruled that Spain had sovereignty but should allow Germans freedom of trade. That year Germany annexed the Marshalls, and in 1886 the British let them control the phosphate island of Nauru. The British were in the Gilberts and declared a protectorate in 1892.

After the Great War broke out in August 1914, the Japanese navy occupied eastern Micronesia in October. When the League of Nations was formed in 1919, President Wilson insisted that mandates over territories be demilitarized, and Japan was given a Class C mandate in Micronesia. Because it is south of the equator, Nauru went to the British, who systematically exploited its minerals. The Japanese tried to assimilate the Micronesians by using education, propagation of Shinto, organizing the young, and arranging for leaders to tour Japan. Natives were only given five years of education. Japan began militarizing their bases in 1939 by conscripting Korean laborers under the Military Manpower Mobilization Law. Naval bases and airfields were constructed in 1940, and in February 1941 the Fourth Fleet commander established headquarters at Truk. Japanese submarines gathered at the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands to prepare for the attack on Hawaii. On December 10 they bombed Ocean Island and raided the Makin and Tarawa atolls in the Gilbert Islands. Most of the Europeans fled to Fiji, and in the next few months the Japanese tried to capture any remaining Europeans in the Gilberts and executed them at Tarawa.

On January 31, 1944 American forces landed on Kwajalein atoll, and within four days they had taken control of the Marshall Islands away from the Japanese. Fifteen United States battleships began shelling Saipan in the Marianas on June 13, and two days later more than 8,000 US Marines landed on the west coast, followed by an infantry division the next day. The first two nights the Japanese counter-attacked but were repulsed. Eventually 67,451 US troops defeated 31,629 Japanese soldiers, killing about 24,000 and capturing 921 prisoners while about 5,000 Japanese committed suicide. The Americans had 3,426 killed and 13,160 wounded while about 22,000 civilians died on Saipan. The US invaded the island of Tinian on July 24. The largest air base in the world was constructed on Tinian and was used for 19,000 combat missions by the “superfortress” B-29 bombers in 1945, including the planes that bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A few Japanese held out on Saipan and did not surrender until December 1, 1945.

The US Navy administered the Marianas and the Marshall Islands until 1951. President Harry Truman and the US Congress decided to put the islands of Micronesia (except for  Guam) under United Nations trusteeship with the United States as the administrator, and this became effective on July 18, 1947. The four major goals of the Trustee Agreement were to foster the development of political institutions and to promote the economic, social and educational advancement of the inhabitants. However, the Agreement also allowed military bases. The United States began atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946 and at Enewetak in 1948.

Guam is the largest island at the southern end of the Marianas. Captain Henry Glass commanded the USS Charleston during the American war against Spain and captured Guam on June 20, 1898, but his convoy did not take possession of any other islands and departed two days later. In the treaty signed on December 10 Spain ceded Guam to the United States. In 1899 Germany bought the Palaus, Marianas (except for Guam), Carolines, and the Marshalls from Spain for 18 million German marks. Richard Phillips Leary was the first US Navy captain to govern Guam, and he proclaimed separation of church and state, guaranteeing freedom of worship. His aide Lt. William Edwin Stafford wrote the first textbook on the  Chamorro language in English and books on the history and plants of Guam. In 1900 Governor Seaton Schroeder allowed the celebration of saints’ feast days in villages, but he abolished the Spanish ecclesiastical tribunals.

Captain Willis W. Bradley Jr. (1929-31) issued a bill of rights for Guam and reconstituted their Congress, but he was squeezed out by Depression budget cuts. US Navy expenditures for education in Guam decreased from $16.09 per pupil in 1934 to $14.10 in 1941, but public health improvements lowered the death rate from 28 per 1,000 in 1905 to 12 in 1940. Gangosa and leprosy were eradicated. In March 1941 the US Congress appropriated $4,700,000 to improve Guam’s harbor with defense projects.

The Japanese air force began bombing Guam at dawn on December 8 a few hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Japanese troops landed at 2 a.m. on December 10, and Governor George J. McMillin surrendered five hours later. The Japanese occupied Guam with about 6,000 troops using a civilian affairs section called Minseisho, which offered a poor exchange rate before banning US money and the English language. The Japanese brought in 42 “comfort women” who were mostly Koreans and used about fifteen local “Monday Ladies” to set up five houses of prostitution.

On February 22, 1944 twelve American planes from an aircraft carrier raided Guam. That month Japan added about 15,000 more troops to defend the island, and soon food was lacking to support them. Heavy bombing by US B-24s began in May, and on June 11-12 a carrier task force destroyed 150 Japanese planes. Three days later while US Marines were invading Saipan, 46 US Navy fighters and 96 dive bombers attacked Guam. From June 18 to 20 in what was called the Battle of the Philippine Sea officially or the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” by some US pilots the US Navy defeated the Japanese Navy, which lost three aircraft carriers and 476 planes. American bombardment of Guam increased on July 18 to prepare for the invasion by the US Marines that began on July 21. A total of 54,891 US troops defeated 18,500 Japanese combatants. On the night of July 25 more than 3,500 Japanese attacked two beachheads, and General Takashima Takeshi was  killed three days later. On August 10 General Roy Geiger announced that organized Japanese resistance had been overcome. The Americans lost a reported 1,769 men while 6,053 were wounded. About 18,000 Japanese were killed as only 485 surrendered. Guam was also used for B-29 bases.

By the end of the war the US military on Guam had opened 21 schools for 7,000 students, more than had been in school in 1941. By then Guam was crowded with 201,718 military and 21,838 civilians, but ten months later the military population had been reduced to 36,923. The United States built permanent military bases on Guam, considering it a US territory rather than a trusteeship. In June 1947 Guam’s landowners complained that only 190 out of 1,519 claims for rent were being paid. On August 7 Secretary of the Navy John L. Sullivan proclaimed that the Guam Congress could legislate and override the governor’s veto with a two-thirds vote in both houses. On September 7, 1949 President Truman announced that the administration of Guam would be transferred to the Department of the Interior, and the Guam Organic Act went into effect on July 21, 1950.

Melanesia to 1949

Papuans had been living on New Guinea for about fifty thousand years, and Austronesians migrated there about 4,500 years ago. Portuguese navigator Jorge de Meneses discovered New Guinea in 1526. Three years later in the Treaty of Zaragoza the Portuguese claimed the western Pacific and let Spain claim the eastern Pacific. Alvaro de Mendaña de Neira from Peru named the Solomon Islands in 1568, hoping that gold would be found there. In 1606 Pedro Fernandes de Queiros landed in the New Hebrides and was expelled by the natives. Two French vessels were shipwrecked on the Solomon Islands in 1788.

Melanesia is named for its dark-skinned people and was exploited for its sandalwood in the first two decades of the 19th century until the forests were depleted. The Dutch asserted control over western New Guinea in 1828 and 1848. The biologist Alfred Wallace was living on an island off New Guinea in 1855 when he explained the development of racial characteristics as a “self-actuating process” in which the fittest survive. German traders came to Melanesia in the 1870s, and English missionaries began arriving in 1871. Four years later the wealthy William Macleay from Sydney collected natural specimens from the southern coast of New Guinea, and other scientific investigators came from Italy, Russia, and England. In 1883 Queensland premier Thomas McIlwraith tried to annex the British portion of New Guinea, but the Colonial Office repudiated his claim as unconstitutional. Representatives of Australia’s provinces and of Fiji met in December and resolved that any foreign acquisition in the south Pacific would be injurious to the British empire. Burns Philp & Company at Sydney had £750,000 and began investing in New Guinea and the New Hebrides. In 1887 a joint naval commission of British and French officers agreed to share the New Hebrides (Vanuatu). In 1906 it was declared a British-French condominium, and the combined government began the next year.

In December 1884 the Germans claimed the north coast of eastern New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago. The Neu Guinea Kompagnie prohibited the sale of alcohol, opium, and firearms to natives but allowed coercive discipline on plantations. In 1888 the British annexed the southeastern quarter of New Guinea, and Dr. William MacGregor governed it until 1898. The Dutch had long held the western half of New Guinea (West Irian). In 1895 the Dutch and British territories on New Guinea were divided by the 141st degree of longitude and the Fly River. When the Neu Guinea Kompagnie failed in 1899, the German government took over northeastern New Guinea and gave the Kompagnie money and land in compensation.

In April 1901 Reverend James Chalmers was murdered by natives of Goaribari Island. When Governor C. S. Robinson tried to arrest suspects, his ship was attacked with arrows. He ordered his men to fire their rifles, and a commission was ordered to investigate this atrocity. After Captain F. R. Barton replaced him, Robinson committed suicide. Catholic missionaries came and were established at Merauke by 1905. The Australian Commonwealth took over British New Guinea in 1906 and named it Papua. Hubert Murray was governor from 1908 to 1940 and continued the indentured labor system. Of about 300,000 natives of Papua no more than 10,000 could be indentured each year. Education was left to the missionaries and was not supported by the government.

In September 1914 Australia sent a force that took control of the German portion of New Guinea. The League of Nations granted Australia a C-class mandate, and the administration changed from military to civilian in 1921. Murray wanted to amalgamate New Guinea with Papua, but Hughes kept it separate as the Territory of New Guinea. In 1933 the Australians learned that about three-quarters of a million people were living in the interior valleys.

New Zealand sent Anglican missionaries to the Solomon Islands in the 1850s. By then the people of New Georgia were already trading for iron axes. In the 1860s Melanesians were taken to work on sugar plantations in Queensland and Fiji. In the half century ending in 1914 an estimated 100,000 Pacific islanders served as indentured laborers in Queensland, Fiji, Samoa, and New Caledonia, and about a third of them were from the Solomon Islands. In 1871 some abducted Solomon Islanders tried to escape from the Carl, and fifty were shot dead by the crew; their bodies and twenty who were wounded were thrown to the sharks. This atrocity stimulated the British government to pass the Pacific Islanders Protection Act the next year.

By 1889 New Georgians were insisting on trading for guns and ammunition. In 1893 a British Protectorate was proclaimed over the Southern Solomons, and three years later Charles Woodford became resident commissioner. In 1899 he took twenty policemen in a government yacht and a captured war canoe to suppress headhunting, and the violent practice ceased in most places by 1900. Other factors also persuaded the New Georgians to give up headhunting; they realized that counter raids affected their copra production, and Christian missionaries were teaching them a more peaceful ethics. When Europeans were murdered, police were sent out to arrest and punish the perpetrators. In 1902 Methodist missionaries began bringing better medical care to New Georgia. In 1922 the Solomons government began imposing a Native Tax and established the Native Administration that paid district headmen £12 a year, village headmen £3, and constables £1 10s. In 1939 the Australians strengthened the Navy’s coast-watcher service and extended it to Nauru and to the New Hebrides. In April of that year the British, New Zealanders, and Australians held a defense conference at Wellington. New Zealand agreed to garrison Fiji, and they landed troops at Suva and Lautoka on November 1, 1940.

In 1843 the French put Catholic missionaries at the port of Balade in New Caledonia. They survived a native rebellion in 1847, and three years later an expedition explored the coasts and the interior. In 1853 Napoleon III claimed sovereignty over New Caledonia. Ten years later it was designated as a place for convicts, and after the Paris Commune of 1871 it held political prisoners during a cattle boom that doubled the free population. Gold had been discovered in New Caledonia in the 1860s and attracted European settlers. Nickel was found in 1864, copper in 1872, and cobalt in 1875. The French and other Europeans continued to exploit the minerals, and in 1940 New Caledonia had about 17,000 Europeans. Most of the residents supported De Gaulle’s Free French, but the administration tried to accommodate the Vichy regime in Indochina. Henri Sautot, the French délégué from New Hebrides, successfully challenged them on September 19 at Nouméa with the support of the Committee of De Gaulle led by Raymond Pognon and an Australian warship. Sautot took over the administration, and on April 19, 1941 he signed an agreement with the Australian government in the name of the Free French.

On January 23, 1942 the Japanese captured Rabaul, the administrative capital of New Guinea, and most of the civilian Europeans in the Solomon Islands fled on the Malaita, the Kurimarau, and the Morinda. About 100,000 Japanese were stationed at Rabaul, and the Australians were not able to defeat them before the end of the war. New Guinea’s civil administration at Port Moresby stopped functioning in February and was not restored for three years. In March 1942 the Japanese occupied the Shortlands, and in May they took over Tulagi and Guadalcanal. The Japanese soldiers forced people to provide food and labor. The Battle of the Coral Sea prevented the Japanese Navy from taking Port Moresby by sea. In July the Japanese landed near Buna in eastern New Guinea and marched over the Owen Stanley Range toward Port Moresby, but they were turned back in September by Australian troops. The Japanese had lost their naval domination after the Battle of Midway in June, and American marines began invading Guadalcanal in August. The battle for Guadalcanal lasted six months while the natives lacked medical care and suffered hunger. In February 1943 Japan evacuated 13,000 troops to Bougainville, and Guadalcanal became a major American base. In June a massive invasion of Allied forces liberated Rendova, Munda, Vella Lavella, and Mono in the western Solomons. Alu, Fauro, and parts of Choiseul were left to be “mopped up” by the Australians.

In 1943 British administrators set up the Solomon Islands Labour Corps and paid them £1 per month. However, the Americans gave people more than this and became much more popular. Americans also sympathized with their colonial problems and suggested self-government. Nori and Aliki Nono’ohimae and later Timothy George organized meetings on the island of Malaita. Their movement was called the Maasina (Brotherhood) Rule, and it spread to other islands. In August 1945 Major W. F. M. Clemens, the district officer in New Georgia, told the assembly of headman that “a new age had dawned” in which whites and blacks would be one, but the headmen were skeptical. At a large meeting in November 1946 at ’Aoke the Maasina Rule leaders set £12 a month as the wage they wanted for laborers. The following February a Maasina Rule chief from Lau was arrested. Maasina Rule leaders announced a labor boycott, and 7,000 people met at ’Aoke in June 1947. In August the Government used a western Solomons militia to arrest the Maasina leaders of Malaita, Guadalcanal, and San Cristobal. As the Government prepared a census for the hated head tax, many refused to cooperate. Hundreds were arrested for this and later for not paying taxes. The Maasina Rule wanted an all-Malaita Council, but by the end of 1949 the movement was losing momentum.

In 1947 Mathew Belamatanga founded the Society for the Development of Native Races in the Ndi-Nggai region on Guadalcanal. He had been educated by Americans and wanted the four freedoms of speech and religion and from want and fear. Like the Maasina Rule, some of the followers tried to coerce others into joining. Belamatanga and other leaders were also imprisoned for sedition. Silas Eto was a Methodist who wrote to President Roosevelt, asking the Americans to take over the Solomons. Reverend John Francis Goldie sent Eto back to the Kusaghe region of New Georgia, and Eto’s Christian Fellowship Church led a protest movement. War damage effectively broke up most of the plantations in the Solomons, and most European planters who had abandoned their workers did not return.

In 1945 Australia’s Labor minister E. J. Ward began to restore civil government to New Guinea, and he urged a shift from indentured labor to free labor under government management. In 1946 the French set up a research institute in New Caledonia. In 1947 the South Pacific Commission was organized by the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, and the Netherlands to solve political issues and provide security for the islands in Micronesia and Melanesia, and the next year its headquarters was established at Nouméa on New Caledonia. Australia committed to paying 30% of its budget and New Zealand promised 15%.

Fiji and Tonga to 1949

The Fiji islands are in eastern Melanesia and probably were a stepping off point for many who migrated further east to Polynesia. Fijians had no written language until the 19th century. Fear of epidemics caused them to strangle the sick in the 1790s. In 1801 Oliver Slater told of the sandalwood in western Vanua Levu in the Fiji islands, and for the next thirteen years traders shipped this product to Port Jackson in Australia. In 1822 trade began in a large sea cucumber called beche-de-mer or trepang because it was very popular in China. The first effective missionaries to Fiji were Wesleyan and arrived at Lakeba in 1835. By 1851 the church had 2,322 members and 535 being tested for membership. Two Catholic priests had arrived in 1844, and the Fijians observed contentious competition for converts. Ma’afu came to Fiji from Tonga in 1847, and his cousin Tupou (King George) made him a governor in 1852. Cakobau succeeded his father Tanoa as the Vunivalu of Bau in 1853. King Siaosi promised to help him if he became a Christian. Cakobau converted the next year but assassinated his cousin Tui Kilakila. In March 1855 Siaosi arrived from Tonga with forty drua (ships) and 10,000 warriors, turning Cakobau’s siege of Kaba into a victorious charge. After some ambassadors were killed on the shore, the Tongans on their way home killed 300 people at Rabe. In 1857 the United States made a treaty with Fiji in order to protect their citizens.

In 1858 W. T. Pritchard came to Fiji from Samoa. Cakobau offered to cede Fiji to the British if they would take on the American debt. Pritchard put Robert Swanston in charge before sailing for England. Pritchard argued that 200,000 Fijians were an adequate labor supply. In 1860 Lt. Col. W. T. Smythe visited Levuka and questioned Cakobau’s claim to be king of Fiji. He doubted whether the Fijians would do plantation work. He noted that Fiji was not on the commercial route from Australia to Panama nor on the one from Panama to China and India. The Duke of Newcastle applied the lessons of the Maori war, and the British rejected the proposal in 1862. Smythe also criticized Pritchard for interfering with Fijians and throwing the northern coast of Vanua Levu into disorder. Ma’afu denied he had land and said that his only role in Fiji was to control the Tongans for King Siaosi. In 1861 Consul Pritchard on a British warship ordered Ma’afu’s lieutenant Wainiqolo to leave Macuata. In 1865 British consul H. M. Jones and Wesleyan missionaries proposed that the chiefs of Bau, Rewa, Lakeba, Bua, Cakaudrove, Macuata, and Nadi form a confederation to govern all of Fiji and resolve the conflicts between Cakobau and Ma’afu. In 1867 Ma’afu stood for president, causing those preferring Cakobau to withdraw. Ma’afu then formed the Lau confederation in northern and eastern Fiji, and Cakobau was formally crowned as the constitutional monarch of Bau.

The cotton income in Fiji accelerated from a mere £400 in 1863 to £92,700 in 1870. During the same period coconut oil leveled off at about £5,000, and beche-de-mer dwindled down to nothing. In the second half of the 1860s Fiji imported 1,649 laborers. In 1868 settlers acquired 235,000 acres for the cotton boom. That year the Polynesia Company offered to take over Fiji’s debt to the United States for a grant of 200,000 acres. Cakobau reluctantly accepted. King Siaosi had declined to take Fiji with the debt, declaring Ma’afu a Fiji chief. In 1869 the town of Levuka began publishing the Fiji Times. Cakobau’s secretary, W. H. Drew, organized 500 Europeans to fight rebellious cannibals in the Viti Levu interior. The next year citizens of Levuka obtained a charter from Cakobau to levy taxes for a municipal government of eleven elected householders.

By 1871 most settlers accepted Cakobau’s government, though resentment against European abuses led to the murder of Bishop John Patteson. Queensland made a law to protect recruited laborers in 1868, but others were not protected until 1872. Planters and settlers rebelled and formed their own vigilante groups, even calling one the Ku Klux Klan for a while. In January 1873 John B. Thurston sent a letter to the British government asking if they would consider accepting the kingdom of Fiji. Thurston also persuaded New South Wales governor Hercules Robinson to send a ship to quell a rebellion by planters, who were deported from Fiji. Finally in 1874 Ma’afu joined with Cakobau, and they ceded Fiji to the British. Robinson became the first governor and rejected Thurston’s sixteen conditions. The British required an unconditional cession, and Cakobau agreed.

Arthur Gordon governed the colony of Fiji from September 1875 to 1880. Imposing money taxes had been used to draw Fijians into the labor market, but Gordon allowed them to pay taxes in copra, cotton, candlenuts, tobacco, corn, and coffee. Between 1877 and 1911 about 23,000 Melanesians were imported for plantation labor, but most died of dysentery and tuberculosis. In 1879 the first ship of Indian laborers arrived from Calcutta, and in the next 35 years 60,969 indentured laborers came from India. That year the Colonial Sugar Refining Company of Sydney made an agreement with Thurston, purchased a thousand acres, and invested £50,000 in a mill at Nausori. By 1900 Fiji was exporting 32,961 tons of sugar. The Indians were obligated to work for five years and received free passage home after ten years. Most Indians sent money back to India and were resented for not contributing to the local economy. Gordon became the first high commissioner of the western Pacific in 1877. Thurston governed 1888-97 and tried to protect the rights of the Fijians while many Europeans hoping to make fortunes went bankrupt. In 1905 the Legislative Council, which was composed of six Europeans and two Fijians, declared Fijian land alienable, and 104,412 fertile acres of accessible land were sold by 1908. European settlers also gained long leases on another 170,000 acres.

In 1910 the Australian Methodist missionary, Dr. J. W. Burton, published a book criticizing Fiji’s indenture system as immoral. Workers suffered from poor housing, bad sanitation, inadequate food, low wages, diseases such as hookworm, dysentery, and syphilis, and from having too many males that caused promiscuous polyandry. Gandhi’s English friend Charles F. Andrews took up their cause and in 1917 advocated abolition. The Australian government financed a study in 1919, and Fiji’s Governor Cecil Rodwell cancelled the indenture system on the first day of 1920. In 1921 Fiji had 84,275 Fijians, 60,000 Indians, 3,878 Europeans, 2,781 mixed European-Fijians, and less than a thousand Chinese. A Department of Education was established in 1916, and in 1924 the Indian Reform League was organized to promote adult education. Fiji’s sugar production reached a peak of 98,382 tons in 1917. By then the price was £15 per ton; the highest price was £29 per ton in 1920, but in the 1930s the price dropped to £9 per ton. Sugar exports fell to 72,985 tons in 1920 but reached a high of 140,864 tons in 1936.

The social gap between Fijians and Indians is indicated by the small number of intermarriages. Only the Marist Brothers schools were not segregated. In 1928 marriage by Hindu rites was given civil status, and child marriage was banned. Muslim polygamy had never been permitted. Ratu Sukuna was a traditional leader, and he argued that Fijians were better off not participating in the alien Legislative Council. Other Fijians wanted to elect their own members to the Council. They believed that the Indians were under the British, and in 1933 they resolved that Indians should not be eligible to sit on town councils. Vishnu Deo was a Hindu leader of the reformist Arya Samaj movement, and he demanded equality for Indians. He was accused of publishing an obscene attack on orthodox Hindus and was barred from election to the Council until 1937. That year the number of Fijians and Indians on the Legislative Council was increased to five unofficial members each; but the Europeans still had five unofficial members and sixteen official members. According to the 1936 census they were supposed to represent 4,028 Europeans, 97,651 Fijians, and 85,002 Indians. With few exceptions the schools were segregated, and very few Fijians married Indians. In early 1940 copra producers met in Australia and formed the Pacific Marketing Board. The British Ministry of Food agreed to buy all of Fiji’s sugar during the war. Also in 1940 the chief Lala Sukuna became Native Lands Reserves Commissioner, and he set up the Native Land Trust Board to help the Fijians lease their lands with a central trust. Governor Philip Mitchell (1942-45) called it “one of the greatest acts of faith and trust in colonial history.”

After Japan began the Pacific war on December 7, 1941, Fiji became a communication link between Australia and the United States. Lala Sukuna recruited 6,000 Fijians to fight in the Pacific War. Many Indians refused to enlist or go overseas because they were not granted equal pay, increasing resentment. A major sugar strike divided people in 1943, and on August 26 Alport Barker moved for an unofficial majority in the Legislative Council to push for self-government. The proposal was for each community to elect six members to the council with women voting. However, Barker’s motion was buried in a committee. The Indians were split by a Muslim demand for representation. Lala Sakuna was knighted for his war service and was the main Fijian leader. The European officials kept out of Fijian affairs, and the Fijians tended to dominate politics. Yet by 1946 Fiji had 120,083 Indians and 117,488 Fijians, and it was called “Little India of the Pacific.” A. D. Patel asserted that the Indians did not wish to dominate but would not tolerate being dominated.

Tonga is a Polynesian group of islands southeast of Fiji. On the island of Tonga in 1616 the Dutch killed natives with muskets after encountering hostility and fled from what they called Traitor’s Island. In 1799 three missionaries were murdered there during a civil war, and the other seven missionaries fled.

In 1831 Wesleyans converted Tonga chief Taufa‘ahau, and he ended the tribal wars. He changed his name to King George Tupou I in 1845 and proclaimed the Methodist faith the religion of Tonga. In the 1850s he tried to mediate the political conflicts in Fiji. When his envoys were attacked by natives at Levu, the Tongans joined the side of Cakobau and helped him win a battle at Kaba. Tonga’s 1850 law code was revised and made more sophisticated in 1862. The Government implemented a budget with regular taxation, compulsory education for children, land distribution, and the liberation of Tongan serfs. In 1875 King George proclaimed a constitution with an elected legislature. Reverend Shirley Waldemar Baker had been in Tonga since 1860, and in 1880 he resigned from the Australian Conference to become prime minister. In 1885 he set up the Free Church of Tonga whose members were expected to be loyal to King George. After some escaped convicts tried to shoot the King, Baker blamed the Wesleyans and deported the remaining hundred to Fiji. The high commissioner Charles Mitchell criticized Baker, and John Thurston investigated and exiled Baker to New Zealand in 1890. King George Tabou I died in 1893 at the age of 95 and was succeeded by his great-grandson who became George Tabou II.

In 1900 the British established a protectorate over Tonga and concluded a treaty of friendship, but the native government continued. In 1904 High Commissioner Everard im Thurn deported to Fiji the Tongan premier and treasurer so that the British agent and consul could supervise Tonga’s finances. The treaty was revised the next year giving the British agent veto power over the budget and expenditures. King George Tabou II died on April 5, 1918 and was succeeded by his 18-year-old daughter who became Queen Salote and ruled until her death in 1965. Her husband Uliame Tungi had been educated in Australia and became premier in 1922. In 1924 the Rockefeller Foundation funded a successful campaign against hookworm, and a Central Medical School was established at Suva in 1929. Tongans maintained their independence, and in the 1930s there were still no European planters in the kingdom. After 1932 Tonga had only two Europeans in the cabinet. Tonga supported the British during World War II and accommodated 10,000 US troops in 1942 at Tongatapu. The Tonga defense force was built up to 2,700 troops. The population of Tonga reached 50,000 by 1950.

Samoa to 1899

Samoa is a Polynesian group of islands northeast of Tonga. Austronesians migrated to Samoa about two thousand years ago. The language of the Samoans may be the oldest in the Polynesian group. In 1768 Louis de Bougainville saw Samoans sailing far from land, which he called the Navigator Islands. Explorer Lapérouse had a difficult encounter in 1787, and Samoans killed twelve of his men. Lapérouse was unable to punish the perpetrators and restrained himself from attacking the innocent. Four years later the HMS Pandora, while looking for Bounty mutineers, was attacked and used guns to kill many Samoans. These incidents apparently discouraged other ventures. By the 1820s a few sailors had become beachcombers and taught some Samoans about Christianity. A Samoan who had traveled to other islands and Australia founded the Sio Vili cult, and European missionaries began arriving in 1828.

John Williams began working for the London Missionary Society (LMS) in 1816 at Ra’iatea and went to Rarotonga in 1823. Lacking funds, he built a ship called the Messenger of Peace. In 1830 he sailed with Charles Barff and eight teachers from Tahiti and Rarotonga and at Tonga was joined by the Samoan Fauea, who guided them to the Malietoa’s residence in Samoa. They learned that the chief Tamafaiga had been assassinated for taking a virgin, and Tamafaiga’s relative Malietoa Vainu’upo of Savai’i was fighting a war of vengeance against Aiga-i-le-Tai of A’ana that lasted three years. Vainu’upo claimed to be only the third Tafa’ifa since Salamasina in the 15th century. After exchanging gifts, Fauea explained the sacred mission of Williams, and Vainu’upo accepted the eight teachers. Williams said that European ships would not come to trade unless the Samoans became Christians. Samoans were forbidden to eat certain species of birds, animals, and fish that were sacred aitu. To show their conversion to Christianity, they publicly ate their aitu and stopped worshipping idols. In 1832 Williams came back with a chief from Rarotonga and a teacher for the people of Manono. Two years later Barff returned with the first books printed in Samoan.

Wesleyan missionary Peter Turner came to Samoa from Tonga in 1835 to fulfill the request of the sacred chief Lilomalava. In his book Missionary Enterprise in the South Seas, Williams stated his belief that the Wesleyans had agreed to let the LMS have Samoa. The Wesleyan authorities made Turner leave in 1839, but he claimed 13,000 Samoans had become Methodists. That year Williams was killed in Vanuatu (New Hebrides), and his body was eaten; the natives were upset with Europeans who had raided their sandalwood and abducted laborers. In 1839 the first Samoan newspaper was published, and a school was founded at Malua three years later. The New Testament was printed in Samoan in 1848 and the Old Testament in 1855.

Tonga’s King George Tupou visited Samoa in 1842 and 1847. He asked the English to send Wesleyan missionaries to Tonga, but they did not do so until 1857. George Brown was a successful missionary in Samoa during the 1860s and at New Guinea in the 1870s. Two Catholic priests arrived in 1845, and they converted Tuala Taetafe three years later. Samoans called Christians Lotu and Catholics Lotu Pope. The Catholics tolerated tattooing but were more strict about marriage and divorce than the Protestants. A Catholic training college was founded in 1875. By then the LMS Congregational Church in Samoa had 75,679 members compared to 33,180 Catholics, 23,864 Methodists, and 11,886 Latter Day Saints (Mormons).

In 1842 Malietoa Taimalelagi defied the missionaries and went to war with the support of Manono, Tuamasaga, and most of Savai’i against Satupa’itea and Palauli. In 1847 George Pritchard became the first British consul. The next year the A’ana people and their Atua allies were aided by European-built gunboats in their war against Manono and their fast canoes. A truce was supported by the missionaries in 1851, but it did not last. The war went on until 1857 when foreign consuls established a mixed court and laws for Apia. Malietoa Taimalelagi died in 1858 and was succeeded by Malietoa Vianu’upo’s son Malietoa Moli. He suffered frequent abductions by European settlers; they held him hostage until they captured Samoans who had offended them. In 1849 George Pritchard’s son William had established a store at Apia, which became a popular port of call for sailors and others seeking liquor and a good time. William Pritchard succeeded his father as British consul in 1856. He accused an American squadron of burning down an entire village and complained that the British were being laughed at for their leniency. The Samoan chiefs agreed to the Vaimauga code of laws in 1860. Chiefs at Apia Bay formed a Samoan police force and had a prison built. Foreigners organized the Association for the Mutual Protection of Life and Property.

The German company J. C. Godeffroy & Sohn began plantations and trading in the 1850s and grew quickly. Their manager Theodore Weber became the consul for Hamburg and later Germany. They encouraged the growing of coconuts and made copra their chief export, though cotton exports increased in the late 1860s. Copra exports reached a value of £121,369 in 1875. Samoans sold their land carelessly to more than one buyer. In 1868 Moli’s son Malietoa Laupepa became king, and the next year his supporters formed a confederation at Apia; but they were opposed by Malietoa Talavou and his followers. Talavou’s side invaded Laupepa’s headquarters at Matautu and tore down the British flag.

In February 1872 the war resumed, and the Americans of the Central Polynesian Land and Commercial Company (CPLCC) bought 300,000 acres from Samoans who wanted money to buy weapons. That year US Navy Captain Meade arranged for shipping rights in Pago Pago harbor. President Grant sent Col. Albert Steinberger, who was connected to the CPLCC. In May 1873 Steinberger and the British and American consuls mediated a peace between Laupepa and Talavou, and Laupepa was proclaimed king of Samoa. Steinberger then visited Hamburg and made a secret agreement with the Germans to help the Godeffroy company negotiate with the Mulinu’u government. In 1875 Steinberger became the first premier of Samoa’s new government. Fourteen nobles were appointed by the King, and nineteen representatives were elected from districts. Each district had a governor to enforce laws and collect taxes. New laws restricting the sale of liquor were disliked by the traders at Apia.

A Samoan delegation to Fiji in 1877 asked the British to declare Samoa a protectorate, but Governor Gordon wanted annexation. So they sent an ambassador to Washington, and on January 17, 1878 the Americans signed a treaty with Samoa for the use of Pago Pago. One year later the Germans signed a treaty with Samoa, and in August 1879 Gordon made a treaty for the British. They cooperated, and Apia was governed by three consuls. After King Malietoa Talavou died in 1880, the Americans helped avert a civil war over the throne as Laupepa became king and Tupua Tamasese vice king. When the Germans supported Tamasese, he set up his throne at Mulinu’u. Other Samoans did not like the Germans, and in 1884 they twice petitioned Queen Victoria to declare Samoa a British protectorate. When German consul Weber learned of this, he claimed the land at Mulinu’u. In 1885 German sailors took down Laupepa’s Samoan flag at Apia. Weber brought Tamasese to Apia and got the Samoans to accept him as king. The German captain Eugen Brandeis worked for Tamasese and collected taxes.

In 1887 Tamasese’s forces attacked Laupepa, who declined to fight and was exiled to the Marshall Islands. The capable Mata’afa Iosefa gained Laupepa’s followers and had the support of a majority of Samoans and the Americans. On August 31, 1888 the Tamasese-Brandeis government ordered German sailors to attack Mata’afa’s camp; but they were defeated, and in September the Mata’afa forces expelled Tamasese from Mulinu’u. On March 15, 1889 a hurricane destroyed three American warships and three German warships at Apia, but the British Calliope escaped by putting out to sea. Samoans swam out to rescue as many as they could, but 92 Germans and 63 Americans died. On April 29 a meeting in Berlin agreed on a tripartite government again, and the Lands Commission granted Germany 75,000 acres, England 36,000 acres, and the US 21,000 acres. The Germans would not accept Mata’afa, and so Laupepa returned to be king. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote long letters on behalf of Mata’afa’s kingship. In early July 1893 civil war broke out, and Laupepa’s forces defeated Mata’afa and his allies. Stevenson wrote an account of the short war that ended before Captain Bickford arrived on July 16. Stevenson suffered from poor health and died at his home in Vailima on December 3, 1894 at the age of 45.

King Malietoa Laupepa died in 1898 and was succeeded by his son Malietoa Tanumafili I. His claim was challenged by Mata’afa, but the Supreme Court chose Tanumafili. Mata’afa and his followers believed the Samoans had not consented to the establishment of the Court, and on January 1, 1899 they drove Tanumafili’s forces out of Apia. American warships had shelled Apia, and the three consuls recognized Mata’afa’s government; but in May a joint commission sent by the three powers ordered the surrender of arms and proclaimed Tanumafili king. When missionaries persuaded the 19-year-old Tanumafili to go to college in Fiji, the commissioners abolished the kingship. On November 14 they agreed to divide Samoa. Germany was granted western Samoa, and Americans were given eastern Samoa with the Pago Pago harbor at Tutuila. The British got Tonga, Niue, and most of the Solomon Islands. Kaiser Wilhelm II was proclaimed king of Samoa, and Mata’afa was declared paramount chief.

Samoa Divided 1899-1949

Germany promoted their consul Dr. Wilhelm Solf, and he governed Western Samoa 1900-10. The Germans disarmed the Samoans, collecting 1,500 rifles by the end of 1901. Beginning in 1903 indentured Melanesian laborers were brought to Samoa. A Chinese consul began looking out for the rights of Chinese in 1908, and the Chinese were treated much better than Melanesians, who were allowed to be beaten with whips. That year Lauati from the island of Savai’i led a revolt to restore the Samoan kingship, but in 1909 the Germans banished him and nine other chiefs to Saipan in the Marianas. After Mata’afa died in 1912, the Administrator abolished the position of paramount chief and appointed two Samoan advisors (fautua).

In August 1914 New Zealand sent a force that was accompanied by three British cruisers and took over Western Samoa from the Germans. In order to block interracial sexual relationships Governor Robert Logan made it illegal for an indentured Chinese to enter the house of a Samoan. The British government stopped allowing the use of indentured Chinese in British territory in 1916. Planters in Samoa complained, and the New Zealand government persuaded the British to permit it again. More Chinese arrived at Apia in 1920, but in 1923 the Samoan administration yielded to criticism and announced that the Chinese remaining would not be in indentured status.

On November 7, 1918 the steamship Talune arrived at Apia with influenza aboard. The ship had been quarantined in Fiji; but the deadly disease was allowed to spread in Samoa, and Governor Logan declined medical help from American Samoa. As a result 7,542 people died out of a population of 38,302. New Zealand’s laws banning the importation of liquor angered Europeans. Like the Germans, their laws banned Samoan customs such as the right to banish law-breakers. A new ordinance allowed the Administrator to take away matai titles from Samoans and banish them, and 53 matai were punished in five years. Brigadier General George S. Richardson became administrator in 1923 and treated Samoans like children. The successful businessman Olaf Frederick Nelson founded The Samoan Guardian and criticized him.

Samoans began using non-cooperation to agitate for autonomy in 1926. On March 19, 1927 the Samoan League called “O le Mau” was formed to express their views and work by nonviolent means to reform their laws. When Richardson banished the Samoan leaders Faumuina and ’Afamasaga to Apolima, the Mau gained support. New Zealand appointed a Royal Commission to investigate, but their findings resulted in Nelson and two Europeans, E. W. Gurr and A. G. Smyth, being deported. The Mau movement grew, and four hundred leaders were arrested. In April 1928 Richardson was replaced by a lawyer, Col. Stephen S. Allen. Nearly 8,000 Samoans signed a petition to the League of Nations, but in June the Mandates Commission listened to New Zealand’s diplomats and denied Nelson a hearing. That year Nelson published The Truth About Samoa. On December 6 Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III was sentenced to six weeks in jail for refusing to pay his poll tax, and a Samoan Defence League was formed to support their prince. The Supreme Court in Auckland ruled that Samoans under the League of Nations had no right of habeas corpus. Western Samoa had no debt in 1920; but by 1929 it was up to £160,000, and Nelson accused Richardson of corruption. The two Fautua were added to the Legislative Council.

Tupua Tamasese returned in June 1929 and was greeted by thousands, and on December 28 a procession of three thousand people welcomed Gurr and Smyth back from exile. The police were prepared with machine guns, and the day became known as Black Saturday. When they tried to arrest the Mau secretary Mata’utia Karauna, Samoans surrounded him. During the scuffle police fired their revolvers, and eleven Samoans eventually died of their wounds. The chiefs Tupua Tamasese, Faumuina, and Tuimaleali’ifano were wounded while trying to restore peace. Before he died, Tupua Tamasese said,

My blood has been spilt for Samoa.
I am proud to give it.
Do not dream of avenging it,
as it was spilt in maintaining peace.
If I die, peace must be maintained at any price.1

The Samoans were angry, but they did not retaliate. Instead, they decided to declare their independence.

New Zealand sent in marines in March 1930. About four hundred chiefs and orators were arrested. In court the elderly chief Tuimaleali’ifano said that the whites had brought Christianity to Samoa, but now they were acting like heathens in shooting men and using bayonets. The Samoan men retreated into the mountains, and the women led by Tamasese’s widow Alaisala and other prominent wives carried on the Mau movement with demonstrations in Apia.

Nelson and other European and part-European Maus were exiled in Auckland. Nelson came back with Gurr in May 1933, but the following March he was sentenced to prison for eight months and exile for ten years. New Zealand’s Labour government allowed him to return to Apia in 1936. The ordinance allowing the Administrator to ban Samoans and deprive them of their titles was repealed, and the number of Samoans on the Legislative Council was doubled to four. The Labour Government also sent home the Chinese after their indentured contracts expired. Nelson was elected to the Legislative Council in 1938; but after his death in 1944, Samoans were divided.

Nationalist leaders demanded independence when New Zealand’s Governor-General Cyril Newall visited Western Samoa in 1944. Prime minister Peter Fraser came to Samoa in December and suggested they grow into self-government by cooperating with New Zealand on developing education and better living standards. He appointed Col. F. W. Voelcker as the new administrator, and he began building roads and making other improvements. Fraser worked with the forming United Nations to develop its trusteeship policy, and on December 18, 1945 the New Zealand cabinet decided to put Western Samoa under international trusteeship. Voelcker presented a draft trusteeship agreement to the Samoan fautua and Legislative Council on October 29, 1946. The Fono of all Samoa met two weeks later, but most of them wanted the United States to take care of them. However, Tamasese, Malietoa, and a few others asked New Zealand to remain their protector. On November 18 Tamasese and 45 other chiefs petitioned the United Nations for self-government with New Zealand functioning as England did for Tonga.

Eventually Tamasese and Voelcker persuaded others to accept a UN trusteeship with a High Commissioner responsible to the New Zealand government, and the Samoan Amendment Act went into effect on June 1, 1948. High Commissioner Voelcker set up committees on finance, health, education, and public works with three Samoans, one European, and the head of the department on each, and the Council of State was composed of the high commissioner and the high chiefs Tamasese and Malietoa. G. R. Powles succeeded Voelcker in March 1949, and his compassionate approach was appreciated.

The title of the US Navy commandant was changed to governor in 1905, and Tutuila was renamed American Samoa in 1911. Margaret Mead visited American Samoa while she was a graduate student in Anthropology, and in 1928 she published Coming of Age in Samoa. This controversial book described Samoan culture, especially the sexual mores of the young who told her that they were sexually active from a young age before marriage with the exception of women of high rank. Signs that virginity had been maintained were often displayed after the wedding, but this could be avoided by many. Mead believed that Samoans had more healthy attitudes about sex; but as Christian morality was adopted, this became more problematic. The Mau movement was led by Samuel Sailele Ripley, a veteran of World War I. He went to the United States for meetings but then was not allowed to return to American Samoa. The US Navy suppressed the Mau movement.

In 1940 the military base at Pago Pago was used for training and preparing US Marines. A Japanese submarine shelled Pago Pago on January 12, 1942. From March of that year until December 1943 about 10,000 American troops occupied Upolu. They hired about 2,600 Samoans who became suddenly prosperous, causing some teachers to walk out of their classrooms to take these jobs. After the war the Samoan chiefs led by Tuiasosopo Mariota defeated an attempt by the US Congress to incorporate Samoa. They created a local legislature, the American Samoa Fono, which meets in Fagatogo.

Tahiti to 1949

The experience of Alexander Selkirk living for five years on Islas Juan Fernandez off the coast of Chile until 1709 inspired Daniel Defoe to write the immensely popular Robinson Crusoe in 1719. Rousseau’s philosophy of the “noble savage” helped inspire the romantic movement, and Diderot also piqued interest in France by publishing his Supplement to Bougainville’s Voyage in 1796.

In Polynesia in 1722 Jacob Roggeveen found Rapanui (Easter Island), Bora Bora, Maupiti, and Samoa; but the Dutch Company confiscated his ships because they had not authorized his venture. Whaling ships got supplies from the Marquesas Islands in the 1790s.

In 1767 British captain Samuel Wallis of the Dolphin led the first exploration of Tahiti. He fired cannons at the southern side of the island and then went to Matavai Bay in the north. So many Tahitians surrounded his ship on canoes that he ordered more firing and later the destruction of all the canoes on the beach. After this bad start, the British soon learned that the Tahitians were very friendly and did not have sexual inhibitions. Sailors traded nails and later shirts for sexual favors. Although the ship surgeon claimed they currently did not have any syphilis or gonorrhea, these venereal diseases would eventually spread. Tahiti had several local chiefs, and Purea was regent for her young son Tu.

For Tahitians the main taboo was to be unkind, but they did not recognize private property and would take things. Their generosity and gift exchanges gradually degenerated into bartering for better bargains because the Europeans had things they wanted such as iron, muskets, and rum. Young Tahitians practiced free and open sexual play, and even the married were not jealous and shared their spouses with others. Their arioi were priests who excelled in entertaining by music, dance, plays, wrestling, and lascivious games. Because they did not want children, the arioi practiced infanticide. The supreme God of the Tahitians was called Te Atua and was impersonal and transcendent, but the son Oro had come down to Earth on a rainbow for a beautiful girl.

Soon after the British left, Louis Bougainville and two French ships arrived at eastern Tahiti in April 1768. The crews were suffering from scurvy but soon recovered, and Bougainville claimed the island for France.

The London Royal Society wanted the transit of Venus to be observed in 1769 because the phenomenon would not recur for a century. So the British sent Captain James Cook and the wealthy young botanist Joseph Banks on the Endeavour. Purea liked Banks, but she began to abuse her increased power, making her people construct a large temple. Other chiefs allied against her, and she was defeated. Cook had Fort Venus built at Matavai Bay, and he imprisoned five chiefs until two marines who had run off with women were returned. Banks persuaded Cook to take Tupia and his servant back to England. After his second voyage to Tahiti in 1774 Cook took Omai, bringing him back on his third voyage in 1776. Tuteha and Vehiatua had overthrown Purea; by the time of Cook’s return they had died, and the younger Vehiatua had become friendly with Tu. The girls were bartering for dresses, and a taboo was put on the diminishing pigs. Tu acquired new tools and became the most powerful chief.

Spaniards visited Tahiti three times and left two priests on the island in 1774. They spent their time guarding their possessions; their mission failed when they could not cure the ill Vehiatua.

Banks became president of the Royal Society and proposed that breadfruit plants be taken from Tahiti to the West Indies to supply a cheap food for the slaves there. In 1787 Captain William Bligh and the Bounty sailed to Cape Horn before going east, stopping only at the Cape of Good Hope on the way to Tahiti. Tu joined the Arioi and married Itia; their first child was killed, but then he quit the society to have children. Tu became regent and took the name Pomare. Bligh had three deserters captured, flogged, and put in irons. He left Pomare in power with a few muskets and pistols. Near Tonga, first-mate Fletcher Christian wanted to desert in a boat but learned that about half the crew wanted to join him. So they put Bligh in a boat with eighteen others but had to keep four who wanted to go with them on the Bounty. Bligh’s boat found an island the next day, but then Bligh sailed 3,600 miles to the nearest European settlement on Timor. The Bounty went to Tubuai; they built a fort but did not get along well with the natives. Christian went to Matavai Bay and by lying managed to get 460 pigs, 50 goats, and fowls. Sixteen men from the Bounty stayed in Tahiti despite the danger, and Pomare gave them land with houses. They built a schooner, and their muskets helped Pomare become ruler of all Tahiti. When the HMS Pandora arrived, fourteen mutineers were arrested. Four drowned when the ship sank in the Torres Straits. After a trial four were acquitted, three were pardoned, and three were hanged. Meanwhile Captain Bligh had successfully transported the breadfruit.

The London Missionary Society (LMS) sent the first missionaries to Tahiti in 1795. Two years later eighteen Calvinist missionaries came and criticized the infanticide and free sexuality. When the Nautilus arrived, the missionaries tried to stop the bartering for muskets. After Tahitians stripped off their clothes, eleven missionaries decided to leave on the Nautilus. The number of Tahitians had dwindled from over a hundred thousand to 16,050.

Whaling ships got supplies from the Marquesas Islands in the 1790s, and sandalwood traders depleted those forests between 1815 and 1820. The whaling industry increased in the Pacific. The United States had 200 whaling ships in 1828 and 571 by 1844, but the first drilling of petroleum in 1859 soon diminished the need for the precious whale oil. In the early 1860s Peruvians captured or manipulated some 3,500 Polynesians and Micronesians for cheap labor. Protests from other nations demanded the “slaves” be returned; but by 1866 only 257 were still alive, and only 37 made it home. Diseases brought by Europeans wiped out most of the Polynesians. For example, the population of Rapanui (Easter Island) went from about 3,000 in 1863 to 111 in 1877 because of smallpox epidemics that followed a Peruvian slave raid in 1862.

Pomare I had unified Tahiti about 1788. He abdicated in 1791 but continued as regent until his death in 1803, fighting frequent wars while about fifty European deserters also terrorized the island. European diseases had reduced the population by as much as ninety percent. Ten more missionaries came, but not one Tahitian had converted. Pomare’s son Tu became Pomare II in 1803 and attempted to conquer all of Tahiti, but in 1808 he had to flee to Mo‘orea with missionary Henry Nott. The next year all but three of the missionaries left. Pomare II asked to be baptized in 1812, and hundreds of his followers became Christians. These Christians won the war for Tahiti, and after the traditional banquet all were forgiven. Nott had learned the Tahitian language, and he adapted the ten commandments into Pomare’s new law code in 1819. Missionaries imposed laws against sex outside of marriage, alcohol, dancing, wrestling, plays, and even music except for hymns. Naturally these continued but in secret. Pomare II drank excessively and died in 1821. His son died a short time later, and his sister Aimata became Pomare Vahine IV in 1827. Money was introduced, and many girls became prostitutes. Charles Darwin visited in 1835 and thought that prohibiting flutes and dancing was foolish.

Two Catholic priests came to Tahiti in 1836, but Queen Pomare had them deported. Belgian Jacques-Antoine Moerenhout built up a prosperous trading business. He acted as consul for the United States but then became consul for France. In 1838 he persuaded Admiral Abel du Petit-Thouars to demand 2,000 Spanish dollars in compensation. Queen Pomare appealed to Queen Victoria, but the British did not want to start a war with France. A French gunboat forced acceptance of the Catholic missionaries. In 1842 Petit-Thouars seized the Marquesas Islands for France. While Queen Pomare and British consul George Pritchard were away, Moerenhout intimidated four Tahitian chiefs into accepting a French protectorate. Herman Melville had joined a mutiny on a whaling expedition and was freed from a Tahitian jail during this crisis; he later wrote the novels Typee and Omoo about his experiences. In November 1843 Petit-Thouars overthrew the monarchy and occupied Tahiti militarily. The Queen fled to Ra‘iatea, and Pritchard was deported. France’s King Louis Philippe was concerned about international opinion and in 1844 declared that Tahiti was only a protectorate. The Tahitians resisted the French occupation for two years until they realized it was futile destroying what they were trying to preserve. The other chiefs were killed or imprisoned.

Queen Pomare IV got France to promise not to annex the Leeward Islands—Huahine, Ra‘iatea, and Bora Bora. In 1866 the French persuaded the Assembly to adopt the Code Napoleon. Pomare was allowed to retain her ceremonial title until her death in 1877 when her son became Pomare V. The French envoy Isadore Chessé persuaded him to abdicate and accept a pension in 1880, when Tahiti became a French colony. Pomare V died of illness in June 1891. The painter Paul Gauguin came to Tahiti that year, and he described the funeral. With the exception of 1894 in Brittany, Gauguin lived in Tahiti until 1901 before spending his last two years in the Marquesas.

A series of French governors ruled Tahiti. In 1893 Cassaignac cancelled the election of five chiefs to the General Council because he believed they were anti-French. Chessé returned to Tahiti and was sent to Ra‘iatea, where he used his charm on the queen of Avera. Teraupo was chief at Opoa, and he agreed to a protectorate under specified conditions; but Chessé was recalled. Governor Gustave Gallet arrived in 1896 and intended to use soldiers to make the rebels submit. In 1897 the French began their conquest of the Leeward Islands by attacking Ra‘iatea, and Gallet returned in 1898. Of 3,000 Ra‘iateans 359 fought the French; but they were defeated, and about two hundred prisoners were sent to the Marquesas. In 1899 the Leeward Islands were annexed into the Colony of French Polynesia.

The French and other Europeans were drawn to the romantic Tahiti. In 1923 premier Albert Sarraut published a book recommending association instead of assimilation for the Polynesians. In 1945 the French granted Tahiti a Representative Assembly that was elected by universal suffrage. The people of French Polynesia became citizens of France in 1946 and could elect representatives to the National Assembly, the Council of the Republic, and the Assembly of the French Union.

Hawaiian Islands to 1836

Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands first settled in the Hawaiian Islands perhaps as early as 400 CE. According to legend, about 1100 the priest Paao sent a messenger to Tahiti or Samoa, and Pili came to overthrow the bad ruler and become chief. Many migrated from Tahiti in the 12th and 13th centuries, bringing food plants, dogs, pigs, chickens, and paper-mulberry trees. Pili’s descendants and other new chiefs became dominant and established their religion on the larger islands of Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. Their religious concept of kapu is similar to tapu (taboo). Women were not allowed to eat with men nor partake of bananas, coconuts, pork, and some kinds of fish such as shark.

While looking for a northwest passage from the Pacific Ocean in January 1778 Captain James Cook on the Resolution and with the Discovery came upon Kauai. The islanders were friendly and traded fish, pork, and sweet potatoes for brass and iron. When one took a meat cleaver, men from the Discovery fired guns at him. Lt. Williamson shot dead a man who was trying to take a boat hook. Concerned about spreading venereal disease, Cook tried to limit contact to only his healthy men. They estimated there were about 30,000 people on Kauai and five hundred on Niihau. Cook named the archipelago the Sandwich Islands after the Lord of the British Admiralty.

In the spring Cook went north but could not find an opening in the ice. In November they returned for the winter and found that venereal disease had already spread to Maui.  During this season the Hawaiians celebrated the return of Lono, and they seemed to believe that Cook might be a reincarnation of the god. Cook was greeted by about ten thousand Hawaiians at Kealakekua Bay. In February 1779 a large boat was stolen, and Cook went ashore to abduct the chief Kalaniopuu until it was returned. When a crowd of more than two thousand gathered, Cook changed his mind. Meanwhile his men blockading the canoes had killed a chief. When the crowd began throwing stones, Cook shot twice, killing one man. After the marines fired a volley, Cook was struck down and killed in the tide. Four marines were also killed. Captain Clerke fired cannons at the crowd and later negotiated for Cook’s bones.

After Kalianopuu died in 1782, he was succeeded by his son Kiwalao; his nephew Kamehameha became guardian of the war god Kukailimoku. These two factions quarreled over land, and in a battle Kamehameha’s ally Keeaumoku killed Kiwalao. The most powerful chief was Kahekili on Maui. He invaded Oahu, sacrificed his foster-son to the war god, and tortured other Oahu chiefs to death. Kahekili’s half-brother Kaeokulani ruled Kauai. Fur traders traveling between America and Guangzhou (Canton) began stopping to trade, and the Hawaiians wanted muskets. John Kendrick of the Lady Washington and others sold guns and ammunition to chiefs. Hogs were made kapu to foreigners unless they paid with weapons. Some sailors venturing on shore were killed. In 1790 at Honuaula on Maui the American merchant Simon Metcalfe on the Eleanora killed some Hawaiians in revenge for one sailor’s murder. The fighting escalated, and Metcalfe’s men killed or wounded more than a hundred. When his son Thomas Metcalfe arrived later, chief Kameeiamoku and his men killed him and four others. Another chief allowed Isaac Davis to live. Kamehameha took possession of the ship. He put a kapu on the bay and abducted boatswain John Young when the Eleanora returned.

Kamehameha did not let Davis and Young leave, and they became his allies, helping him with cannons to defeat the army at Maui. Kamehameha had to fight Keoua on Hawaii until Keeaumoku treacherously murdered Keoua at a negotiation. British merchant William Brown discovered the valuable harbor Honolulu in Oahu and was promised this island by Kahekili for military aid. Cook’s former midshipman, George Vancouver, made three voyages to the Sandwich Islands. He brought sheep and cattle, but he refused to sell arms to Kamehameha and tried unsuccessfully to stop the civil wars. Kamehameha put a kapu ban on slaughtering cattle for ten years. When Kahekili died in 1794, his son Kalanikupule with Brown’s help defeated Kaeokulani of Kauai and Maui. In celebrating the victory, Brown fired a salute to the Lady Washington. The cannon was mistakenly loaded, and Kendrick and some of his crew were killed. A month later natives killed Brown and some of his crew, and Kalanikupule took over two ships until George Lamport and their crews regained control. Lamport warned Young and Davis, and in 1795 Kamehameha invaded Maui and Oahu, chasing down and killing Kalanikupule.

The next year Kamehameha had to give up invading Kauai to go back and put down a revolt on Hawaii. He invited leading chiefs to reside at his court where he could watch them. He appointed governors for the other islands and had a fleet of 800 vessels built to transport an army of several thousand. He traded for muskets and cannons.

In 1802 Kamehameha’s armada invaded Maui and moved on to Oahu in 1804. A black plague killed many chiefs and warriors, but Kamehameha survived. Foreigners helped build more than forty ships at Waikiki. In 1810 he met Kaumualii of Kauai at Honolulu and made him a tributary governor. Isaac Davis stopped a conspiracy to poison Kamehameha but was poisoned himself.

Kamehameha I ruled the Hawaiian islands with a royal monopoly on trade, and haole (foreign) sailors were seduced to desert by Hawaiian women. Kamehameha offered land and wives to skilled navigators, sail-makers, blacksmiths, armorers, and carpenters. The American Oliver Holmes succeeded Davis as governor of Oahu, where Honolulu was becoming a major port. John Young governed Hawaii while Kamehameha was away. Francisco de Paula Marin, knowing Spanish, French, English, and Hawaiian, became Kamehameha’s interpreter and trade manager. Kamehameha gave the Winship brothers a monopoly on sandalwood for a quarter of the sales, but the War of 1812 ruined this business venture. Georg Anton Schaffer of the Russian-American Company got a similar deal in 1815, but his plotting with Kauai’s Kaumualii got him expelled two years later. On the foreign ships especially the women often disobeyed the kapu traditions, though in 1817 several people were executed for violating kapu bans.

Kamehameha died in 1819 and was succeeded by his 22-year-old son Liholiho, who became Kamehameha II. His father’s favorite wife Kaahumanu was designated kuhina nui and claimed she was fulfilling the will of her late husband. She persuaded the new king to abandon the kapu system that restricted women. She and his mother Keopuolani arranged a feast that lasted two days and broke kapu. Kamehameha II and the high priest then ordered temples and idols destroyed. Kekuaokalani, guardian of the war god, tried to save the old religion. However, he was killed in battle along with his wife, and the rebellion was suppressed in a few months.

In 1809 young Opukahaia and a few Hawaiian children had been taken to Connecticut and were educated by missionaries. Opukahaia died of typhus but inspired others to go to Hawaii in 1819. The next year Kamehameha II allowed the married young American missionaries to begin their work on probation for a year. Kamehameha II brought Kaumualii from Kauai to Oahu, where the widow Kaahumanu married him and his tall son. Kaahumanu became ill and was nursed back to health by Hiram Bingham’s wife, making her more receptive to Christianity. Kamehameha II drank excessively and went into debt buying sailing ships and furniture while the people worked hard chopping and carrying sandalwood. In 1822 the first printing in the Hawaiian alphabet provided reading lessons. Missionary William Ellis had worked in Tahiti for six years and learned Hawaiian quickly. Vancouver’s promise was fulfilled when a ship was delivered to Honolulu, and Kamehameha II expressed a wish to be protected by the British monarch. In 1823 he left to visit George IV in England, where his queen and he died of measles in July 1824. Their bodies were returned to Honolulu in May 1825, and the next month several chiefs asked to be baptized. Bingham was preaching to 3,000 natives every Sunday.

Kaahumanu and chief Kalanimoku governed for young Kauikeaouli, son of Kamehameha I. They were eager to become Christians and in 1825 decreed laws against vices such as drunkenness, debauchery, stealing, gambling, and violating the Sabbath. Whalers such as Captain William Buckle objected to the kapu on women at Lahaina, and his sailors threatened missionary William Richardson. English captain George Anson made suggestions for self-governing laws, and jury trials were adopted in 1825. In December of that year Kaahumanu, Kalanimoku, and a few others were given communion. Kalanimoku and Hiram Bingham wanted the ten commandments to be laws, but Oahu governor Boki had been to London and argued against that. Elisha Loomis published the ten commandments and fourteen rules for Christians. British consul Richard Charlton and US agent John Coffin Jones also criticized the religious laws. During the 1820s the sandalwood trade was declining as it was depleted; but whaling was developing. Americans tried to collect their debts, and in December 1826 the chiefs passed their first tax law, requiring each man to provide sandalwood or four Spanish dollars and each woman to supply a woven mat, tapa fabric, or one Spanish dollar. Two French Catholic missionaries arrived at Honolulu in 1827; the Protestant missionaries tried to have them deported, but chief Boki offered them protection.

The chiefs passed laws against murder, theft, and adultery, but the decrees against selling liquor, gambling, and prostitution were postponed. Charlton threatened to kill Kaahumanu and bullied others. He killed cattle that wandered onto his land; but when someone shot a cow of his that was trespassing, he put a noose around his neck and dragged him to town behind his horse. Boki disappeared on a ship going after sandalwood to pay his debts. Kaahumanu let her brother Kuakini govern Oahu, and he prohibited gambling and the sale of liquor. Meanwhile more missionaries were arriving and gaining converts; by the early 1830s they were educating 50,000 people in more than a thousand schools.

In 1832 Kaahumanu died, and Kauikeaouli began ruling the next year as Kamehameha III. His bringing back the hula, revelry, and other pastimes discouraged Christian ways. He was castigated for sleeping with his sister Nahienaena and tried to commit suicide when she was separated from him. In 1835 he let the chiefs implement laws against the crimes of homicide, theft, adultery, fraud, and drunkenness, and he put Kinau in charge of enforcing them. Nahienaena was excommunicated, had a child that died, and died herself in 1836.

Hawaiian Islands 1836-76

A ban was put on Catholics in December 1837. Less than 1,200 Hawaiians had been accepted as members of the Calvinist communion, though a hundred times that many attended church. After a tidal wave drowned thirteen people in November 1837, evangelist Titus Coan began a dramatic revival that admitted 3,200 natives as members in the next six months. Within a few years the church had more than 6,000 members. By 1839 the entire Bible had been translated into Hawaiian. French captain Laplace had won indemnities in Tahiti because of the wrongs against Catholics, and he arrived at Honolulu in 1839 to do the same. He demanded religious freedom for Catholics and a bond of $20,000 to assure compliance, threatening to bombard Honolulu. The chiefs immediately submitted, and Kamehameha III negotiated a commerce and friendship treaty with France that allowed them to import wine and brandy; French residents were to be tried by juries appointed by the French consul and approved by the Hawaiian government. The bond was returned in 1846.

In 1839 Kamehameha III proclaimed religious toleration and a declaration of human rights. The next year the government took over the common schools and gained a constitution. Charlton once hit Polynesian editor James Jarvis with a horsewhip. Charlton departed in 1842, leaving behind confused consular archives, unsupported children, debts, and a lawsuit over land he claimed. The next British consul, Alexander Simpson, sent a message that brought the frigate Carysfort commanded by George Paulet to Honolulu in February 1843, intimidating the courts to return Charlton’s property and use British law. Kamehameha III appealed to French consul Jules Dudoit but gave in to British demands. Finance minister Gerrit Judd sent the American James Marshall to explain this outrage to the British. Paulet insisted on a relaxation of vice laws, and former medical missionary Judd resigned from the commission. Judd withheld money from the Queen’s Own Regiment until a Carysfort officer forced him to hand it over. Admiral Richard Thomas arrived from South America and reprimanded Paulet for going beyond his instructions, enabling the King to reclaim sovereignty in a speech in the Kawaiahao church. His statement in Hawaiian meaning “The life of the land is preserved by righteousness” became the motto of Hawaii. The Queen’s Own Regiment was disbanded. The United States recognized Hawaii’s independence but did not join a similar agreement by Britain and France in order to avoid entangling alliances.

Ladd & Co. speculated in land but went bankrupt in 1844. That year the Polynesian, a weekly newspaper, became the official publication of the Government. The United States Commercial Agent, Peter Brinsmade, started the opposition paper, the Sandwich Islands News. King Kamehameha III appointed the American lawyer John Ricord attorney general. William Richards was in charge of public instruction for a year before he died; in the next twelve years Richard Armstrong made the common schools less sectarian. In 1845 Jarvis editorialized for teaching English; but large prayer meetings were held on Maui, and thousands of signatures on petitions protested the influence of foreigners. By 1846 the national debt had been paid, and the Board of Land Commissioners began settling disputes. The King and chiefs gave some of their land to the Government in exchange for titles. Land was surveyed, and commoners had to pay a fee for their titles. The Government began selling land to private citizens at low prices. The process took several years. Crown lands totaled nearly a million acres, and the chiefs had a million and a half, but the commoners merely 30,000 acres of agricultural land. Foreigners and native Hawaiians had the same rights to own land. In 1848 the judiciary was established with William Lee as chief justice of the supreme court. Four circuit courts replaced the old governors’ courts, and there were 24 district courts.

In 1849 Kamehameha III asked France to recall Consul Dillon, who sent for Rear Admiral Legoarant de Tromelin. He posted circulars threatening to attack Honolulu, and the next day French sailors wrecked the fort and did $100,000 worth of damage. Tromelin left in September, and a French crew took Kamehameha III’s royal yacht to Tahiti. Judd went to England and Paris with crown prince Alexander Liholiho and his brother Lot while Jarvis made a treaty with the United States. French consul Emile Perrin left Honolulu in 1851 and returned two years later to agree on a treaty. After the California gold rush, Sam Brannan led a filibuster movement that wanted to take over Hawaii; but after rowdy sailors set a fire that could have destroyed the whaling ships in the harbor, several ringleaders were given prison terms. A new constitution was adopted in 1852 in which every male adult could vote for representatives in the lower house of the legislature.

By 1853 the population had been reduced to 73,134 with 2,119 foreigners, but 56,840 were Protestants. The board now allowed their missionaries to acquire land and become permanent residents, and the new organization was called the Hawaiian Evangelical Association. In 1863 they included Hawaiian clergy. Mormon missionaries had begun arriving in 1850, and in 1864 their leader Walter Murray Gibson was expelled from the church for trying to take over church lands at Palawai. A smallpox epidemic devastated the islands as thousands of Hawaiians refused vaccinations. Influential Gerrit Judd and Richard Armstrong were blamed for negligence and were dismissed from the Health Commission. Judd tried to remain as finance minister, but Kamehameha III made him resign. Californians still wanted to annex Hawaii, and the Committee of Thirteen planned a coup in 1854. The two princes had suffered from racism while visiting the United States and opposed annexation. Foreign minister Robert Wyllie got guarantees of independence from Miller, Perrin, and Gregg, the representatives of Britain, France, and the United States. Chief Justice William Lee cleverly insisted that Hawaii be admitted as a state rather than a territory, knowing that the racist US Senate would never approve of giving rights to native Hawaiians. The King and chiefs also wanted large annual pensions. This delayed negotiations, and Kamehameha III died in December 1854.

Alexander Liholiho was inaugurated as Kamehameha IV in January 1855. The whaling industry brought Honolulu and Lahaina much business until the US Civil War. Washington was spending $150,000 a year for the relief of American sailors in Hawaii. The King established the Queen’s Hospital in Honolulu in 1860 and ordered prostitutes to register and be medically inspected. He was protective of his sister and jealous of his wife Emma, and in 1869 he seriously wounded his private secretary, Henry Neilson; but he was not prosecuted. The King had been impressed by the Anglican religion in London and donated land and money for an Episcopal church; Bishop Staley arrived to head the mission. Kamehameha IV died in 1863 and was succeeded by his brother Lot as Kamehameha V. He mistrusted universal suffrage and imposed a new constitution in 1864 that required property and literacy for voting and holding office. The King’s appointed nobles compromised the independence of the legislature. Mark Twain visited the islands in 1866 and quipped that sin did not flourish there in name but in reality; he criticized the missionaries as “fifty years behind the age.”

Sugar mills helped that industry begin expanding in 1838, and 750,000 pounds were exported in 1850. The next year David Weston’s centrifugal machine was introduced to separate sugar from molasses. Exporting of coffee began in 1845. During the 30-year reign of Kamehameha III, the native population had been reduced by half. In the early 1850s three hundred Chinese laborers were contracted to work for five years. The sugar business boomed during the US Civil War, reaching 7,750,000 pounds in 1866, but the next year a precipitous drop caused bankruptcies. By 1869 Hawaii’s overall exports surpassed their imports, and by the mid-1870s their annual exports were valued at $1,500,000. Several thousand Chinese had been brought in to work, and many stayed after their contracts expired. American warships patrolled Hawaiian coasts and left only while the Hawaiian legislature was ratifying the treaty of 1867. The next year Kaona had strange visions of destruction and attracted two hundred followers. After ordering his followers to kill a sheriff and a constable, he was tried and sentenced to ten years hard labor. In 1870 the United States Senate rejected the treaty. The next year Hawaii made a treaty with Japan. In 1872 the national debt doubled as the Hawaiian Hotel was built, and construction began on a large government building.

Kamehameha V died on his fortieth birthday in December 1872. “Whiskey Bill” Lunalilo was elected over David Kalakaua on the first day of 1873. About five hundred lepers were taken to the Molokai station in order to prevent the spread of the skin disease. Henry Whitney proposed leasing Pearl River lagoon to the United States in exchange for no duties on sugar. That September about forty native soldiers refused to obey orders of Austrian drillmaster Joseph Jajczay and were dishonorably discharged. Lunalilo died of tuberculosis in February 1874, and David Kalakaua was selected by the legislators over Queen Dowager Emma. Her followers rioted, and the Household Troops had been dismissed because of the mutiny. British and American marines were called in from warships to make the arrests. Kalakaua promised to help the Hawaiians to advance in agriculture and commerce while saying he was not against foreigners. He opposed ceding Pearl Harbor, but he was the first monarch to visit the United States. He made a reciprocal treaty that freed the products of each from customs duties, and he promised not to allow any other nation such privileges. The US Senate ratified the treaty, and it went into effect in 1876.

Hawaii and the United States 1876-1900

The Belgian priest Damien Joseph de Veuster came to Molokai in 1873 and served the lepers. After many years he came down with leprosy and died in 1889. Sugar baron Claus Spreckels gave King Kalakaua $10,000 and a $40,000 loan at 7% so that the King could pay his debts that had 12% interest. In exchange Spreckels got a lease on 24,000 acres at Wailuku Commons on July 8, 1878. Hawaii’s sugar exports increased from 25 million pounds in 1875 to 500 million pounds in 1897. Kalakaua replaced his entire cabinet in 1878. Spreckels gave the King a personal loan, persuaded him to appoint a sympathetic cabinet, and then was granted water rights for thirty years at $500 a year. Construction began on the second Iolani Palace at the end of 1879; it took three years to build and cost more than $300,000.

In 1881 Kalakaua spent ten months traveling around the world, becoming the first ruling monarch to do so. Princess Ruth Keelikolani claimed she inherited half the crown lands amounting to a half million acres worth $750,000, but she sold her questionable rights to them to Spreckels for $10,000. The legislature investigated the deal but approved it in July 1882. Spreckels had formed a partnership with W. G. Irwin and Company in 1880, and now they controlled almost the entire Hawaiian sugar crop. Between 1877 and 1890 more than 55,000 immigrant laborers came to Hawaii; half of them were Chinese, and about 8,000 of those came from California. In 1882 Frank Damon described the miserable living conditions of the Chinese workers under former missionaries and sons of missionaries.

The ambitious Walter Gibson became friends with King Kalakaua and was appointed to numerous positions including premier in 1882. The prohibition against giving natives liquor was repealed. Spreckels and Gibson persuaded the King to buy a million dollars’ worth of silver coins for $850,000. Spreckels and Irwin opened a bank in Honolulu, but the legislators discovered many discrepancies in the accounts of Gibson and defeated the bank bill 35 to 2. Spreckels still held more than half the national debt and the mortgage on Gibson’s Palawai land. Hawaii’s debt increased from $388,900 in 1880 to $2,600,000 in 1890. In 1886 the Government negotiated a new loan from London capitalists, and Spreckels was paid off; but it cost Hawaii $250,000 plus the interest on the million-dollar loan. Everyone in Kalakaua’s cabinet was replaced except for Gibson. King Kalakaua had imperialistic ambitions, and Gibson persuaded him to send John E. Bush and envoys on the Kamiloa in December to Samoa; the captain was an alcoholic, and the crew mutinied. None of the Polynesian islands wanted to be controlled by Hawaii. In 1886 a treaty was made to allow Japanese laborers, and about 180,000 Japanese were brought to Hawaii by 1908.

By 1886 Lorrin A. Thurston and Sanford Dole had become the leaders of the opposition party in the Assembly. The physician S. G. Tucker urged them to stop the corruption of Kalakaua and Gibson, and in January 1887 they organized the Hawaiian League to work for “efficient, decent and honest government in Hawaii.” Members were inducted secretly, and they soon had four hundred; but none of them were native Hawaiians. Volney Ashford suggested killing the King, causing Thurston, Dole, and two others to resign from the Committee of Thirteen. Col. Ashford had more than two hundred men trained by June. The King had agreed to opium importation in 1886 over Thurston’s objections. Tong Kee (Aki) gave the King a total of $75,000 for the opium license, but the cabinet sold the contract to the merchant Jun Long (Chun Lung) for $80,000. Kalakaua then told Aki he had used his money to pay his debts. This scandal broke in May at the same time the imperialistic ambitions were failing in the Pacific.

On June 27, 1887 the US minister George W. Merrill persuaded King Kalakaua that he had to get rid of Gibson, and that night all the cabinet ministers were asked to resign. The Honolulu Rifles patrolled the streets, but Dole knew that they were obeying the League. On June 30 a massive protest meeting was held in the armory on Beretania Street. The Committee of Thirteen told Kalakaua that a new constitution was needed. He agreed, and on July 1 a new cabinet made up of League members was formed with William Green as premier and minister of Finance, Godfrey Brown as Foreign Affairs minister, Thurston as Interior minister, and Clarence Ashford as Attorney General.

They wrote the “Bayonet Constitution,” and on July 7 Kalakaua became a constitutional monarch. Cabinet ministers could not be dismissed without approval by the legislature, and acts by the king had to be approved by the cabinet. The king could veto bills, but the legislature could override it with a two-thirds vote. No legislator could hold a public office. The right to vote was extended to foreigners who swore loyalty to the constitution, but the financial qualification for voting excluded two-thirds of the Hawaiians.

Gibson was charged with embezzlement, but on July 12 he was allowed to leave for San Francisco, where he died of tuberculosis six months later. The new Reform party won the special election in September 1887. The treaty with the United States was renewed, and in November a supplementary convention gave the US the exclusive use of the naval station at Pearl Harbor. The armed forces were put under the minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Hawaiian navy was abolished. The opium law was repealed. The King had a personal debt of about $250,000, and trustees were put in charge of his finances. All English-language public schools were free of tuition. In 1888 the Department of Public Instruction was established, and teacher-training classes were begun.

King Kalakaua was supported by the native Hawaiians who formed the Hui Kalaiaina (Political Economy party). Robert W. Wilcox had a Hawaiian mother and an American father, and he was educated at a military academy in Turin, Italy. He opposed the Reform party and the new constitution. Wilcox formed the Liberal Patriotic Association, and on July 30, 1889 at three in the morning he and about 150 followers surrounded the palace and government buildings. The King was not there, and the cabinet acted to suppress the revolt with the Honolulu Rifles. US Marines also came ashore to protect the American embassy. Seven rebels were killed by gunfire, and about a dozen were wounded. Seventy were arrested, but only three men were prosecuted. Albert Loomis was convicted of treason but was deported after a year in jail, and the Chinese journalist Ho Fon was fined $250 for conspiracy. A jury acquitted Wilcox of treason by a vote of nine to three. In his Hawaiian-language newspaper John E. Bush implied that the native Hawaiians had been murdered by whites who seized guns.

The Hui Kalaiaina joined with the Mechanics’ and Workingmen’s Political Protective Association to form the National Reform party. The Reform party lost its majority in the Assembly in the 1890 election, and a compromise cabinet led by the King’s friend John A. Cummins was appointed on June 17. Kalakaua became ill and in November went to San Francisco, where he died on January 20, 1891. His sister Liliuokalani acted as regent and was proclaimed queen on January 29 at the age of 52.

US President Benjamin Harrison, a Republican, signed the McKinley Act, which removed the tariff on raw sugar entering the United States and paid a bounty on domestic sugar. This went into effect in April 1891 and devastated the Hawaiian sugar business. Wilcox and Bush felt abandoned by Queen Liliuokalani and formed the Liberal party. Early in 1892 the American attorney Henry E. Cooper persuaded Thurston to form the Annexation Club. The US Secretary of the Navy, Benjamin Tracy, told Thurston that the Harrison administration would favor the annexation of Hawaii. Thurston believed they would be supported by foreign investors, permanent settlers, and the native leaders of the Liberal party. With three parties none gained a majority in the 1892 elections. Wilcox secretly organized the Hawaiian Patriotic League to overthrow the government; but he and Volney Ashford were arrested before the legislative session opened. Ashford had to leave the kingdom, but Wilcox was allowed to take his legislative seat. Queen Liliuokalani appointed cabinets from the National Reform party, but a coalition of the Reform and Liberal parties voted them out twice. In November she chose members of the Reform party, but the Liberals joined with her party to defeat them and to pass the opium and lottery bills to raise revenues.

Queen Liliuokalani signed the lottery act and the opium license act, and on January 14, 1893 she closed the legislative session. She planned to proclaim a new constitution that would restore royal power to appoint nobles and limit voting to Hawaiians. When her ministers refused to sign it, she announced a postponement. Learning of this plan, the Annexation Club met in the law office of William O. Smith and formed a Committee of Safety. On Sunday the 15th Thurston persuaded Interior Minister John F. Colburn and Attorney General Arthur P. Peterson to announce that the new constitution would not be invoked. On Monday about 1,500 people gathered at the armory to listen to the Committee of Safety talk about ending the monarchy. Only sugar planter Henry P. Baldwin proposed using constitutional methods, and he was hooted down. That afternoon Captain Wiltse ordered troops from the USS Boston to come ashore. Colburn and Foreign Affairs Minister Samuel Parker protested to the US minister John L. Stevens.

Sanford Dole agreed to accept the presidency on Tuesday, and the ill Thurston wrote a proclamation to end the monarchy. A provisional government was to be established until they could make an agreement with the United States. When Hawaiian police tried to stop John Good from bringing guns into the armory, he shot one in the shoulder. At the same time the committee walked into the government building and took over. The Queen surrendered to the power of the United States because Stevens declared that US troops would support the provisional government; but she issued a protest that concluded,

Now, to avoid any collision of armed forces
and perhaps the loss of life,
I do under this protest, and impelled by said force,
yield my authority until such time
as the Government of the United States shall,
upon the facts being presented to it,
undo the action of its representatives
and reinstate me in the authority which I claim
as the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.2

Thurston traveled to Washington, but the Democrat Grover Cleveland had been elected president again. In February the US Congress declined to accept the drafted annexation treaty, and President Cleveland withdrew it in March. House Foreign Relations chairman James H. Blount went to Honolulu and reported back that Stevens had helped overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy. Secretary of State Walter Q. Gresham advised Cleveland to restore the monarchy. Albert S. Willis was dispatched to do so if the Queen would pardon the revolutionaries; but she wanted the death penalty or at least banishment. So Willis asked Dole and the provisional government to restore the monarchy, but they would not agree. The US Senate held hearings, and the Morgan Report blamed the Queen.

The provisional government repealed the opium and lottery laws, and they established a national guard and a fire department. They required any man voting for delegates to the constitutional convention to swear allegiance to the new government and that he would oppose restoring the monarchy. The government appointed nineteen delegates, and eighteen were elected. The convention met on May 30, 1894, and the republican constitution devised mostly by Dole and Thurston declared Dole president through 1900. Naturalized Japanese and Chinese were excluded from voting because Japan and China did not have naturalization treaties with Hawaii. The ability to speak, read, and write English was also required for voting. The new constitution was proclaimed without a plebiscite, and Dole was inaugurated as president on July 4, 1894. President Cleveland, Queen Victoria, and other foreign leaders soon recognized the new republic. In the 1890 elections 13,500 people had been registered to vote, but in 1894 only 4,447 were registered. The new American Union party won the elections. The US Congress repealed the McKinley Act in 1894, and Hawaiian sugar was favored again in the American market.

Some rebels gathered guns and bombs, and in December editor John Bush and others were arrested. On the night of January 6, 1895 police looking for guns in Waikiki were shot at, and the annexation commissioner Charles L. Carter was mortally wounded. The attempted revolution was suppressed in two weeks, and Robert Wilcox and Volney Ashford were among those arrested. On the 16th Liliuokalani was put under house arrest, and she signed an abdication. The military commission sentenced her to five years and a fine of $5,000. Of the 191 prisoners tried, 5 were acquitted, 64 got suspended sentences, and the rest were sentenced to prison. All but one of the prisoners were released by the end of the year. Liliuokalani was given citizenship in November and freedom of movement. She wrote the words and music for more than two hundred songs, including the revered “Aloha Oe.” President Dole got the Land Act of 1895 passed to help Hawaiians lease and purchase homes. That year the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association was organized, and they began an Experiment Station that would solve many agriculture problems in the years ahead.

After the Republican William McKinley was elected president of the United States in 1896, a new treaty was drafted. The Hawaiian Senate ratified it in September 1897 and sent President Dole to Washington. Lorrin Thurston published A Handbook on the Annexation of Hawaii. The US Senate was not able to get a two-thirds vote for the treaty; but after the Americans declared war on Spain in April 1898 and destroyed their fleet in Manila harbor, the US Congress passed a joint resolution in July to annex Hawaii. In 1897 three shiploads of about 1,200 Japanese immigrant laborers had been forbidden to land at Honolulu, but now the United States persuaded Hawaii to pay Japan a $75,000 indemnity to resolve the immigrant labor dispute. In a ceremony on August 12, 1898 the republic of Hawaii was proclaimed a territory (colony) of the United States, which did not pass the Organic Act providing for the government of Hawaii until April 30, 1900.

Hawaii under the United States 1900-49

Hawaii officially became a territory of the United States on June 14, 1900, and the citizens of the former Republic of Hawaii became citizens of the United States. However, the definition of citizenship excluded Oriental immigrants. Robert Wilcox led the Home Rule party, and they won thirteen of fifteen seats in the Senate and fourteen seats in the House to nine Republicans and four Democrats. Wilcox was elected Hawaii’s delegate to the US Congress. President McKinley appointed Sanford Dole the first governor. The Organic Act required the legislators to conduct their business in English, but the Home Rulers used Hawaiian. They released native prisoners, licensed kahunas as physicians, and lowered the tax on female dogs. In 1901 an income tax was enacted.

The Home Rule party declined, and the Republicans, who favored business interests and the wealthy, dominated the Hawaiian legislature. Between 1902 and 1940 Republicans were eighty percent of the legislators. In 1902 the Republicans elected Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole as delegate to Congress; he was re-elected nine times and served until his death in 1922. He introduced the first bill for statehood in 1919. After expensive dredging, Pearl Harbor was the main naval base for America’s Pacific fleet, and Schofield Barracks also on Oahu became the largest army post in the United States. The College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts began classes in 1908; it became the College of Hawaii in 1911 and the University of Hawaii in 1920. In 1917 the United States seized the German ships that had taken refuge in Oahu’s harbors in 1914. Oahu had forty percent of the legislators; but each census reapportionment was defeated even though in 1940 Oahu had more than sixty percent of the people in Hawaii.

In 1900 Hawaii had a population of 154,000 with 61,111 Japanese, 39,656 Hawaiians, 25,767 Chinese, and about 18,000 Portuguese. The US Chinese Exclusion Act began affecting Hawaii in 1898, and so in the next nine years about 75,000 Japanese laborers came to Hawaii. In January 1900 fires were used to try to control an outbreak of bubonic plague in Chinatown that was infested with rats, lice, fleas, cockroaches, and flies, but the fire got out of control and destroyed 38 acres, sending about seven thousand Chinese, Japanese, and Hawaiians into quarantined camps for months. Chinese businessmen asked for $3,000,000 in damages but were awarded $1,500,000. In 1907 a “Gentlemen’s Agreement” ended the immigration of Japanese workers into the United States; but Japanese “picture brides” kept coming to Hawaii until 1924 when the US Congress passed the Japanese Exclusion Act.

Japanese workers were paid $18 a month, but Portuguese and Puerto Ricans were getting $22 or $23. So in 1909 about five thousand Japanese workers went on strike for higher wages. Families of strikers were evicted from company homes. Nippu Jiji editor Yasutaro Soga and leaders of the Japanese Higher Wage Association were arrested for conspiracy. Strikers could not afford to hold out and went back to work for the same wage.

Ten years later field hands were being paid only 72 cents a day. The Japanese on Oahu could not get concessions from the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association, and in December 1919 two unions demanded $1.25 for an eight-hour workday with overtime on Sundays and holidays and paid maternity leaves. The Filipino Federation of Labor led by Pablo Manlapit went on strike on January 19, 1920 and were joined by the Japanese Federation of Labor on February 1; but a week later Manlapit sent his union back to work because he said the Japanese were trying to take over the industry. Thousands of Japanese workers and their families had to leave the plantation camps and find places to stay in the countryside and in Honolulu during the influenza epidemic that the Board of Health reported had 6,000 cases. Reverend Albert W. Palmer proposed a compromise; but the planters rejected it and hired Portuguese strikebreakers for $4 a day and Koreans and Chinese for $3 a day; the striking workers had to give in after five months. Before the strike 24,791 Japanese worked on the plantations, but by 1924 only 12,781 remained. Concessions were made, raising the minimum wage by fifty percent and removing the racial wage difference.

Although the first generation (issei) of Japanese immigrants could not become citizens, their children, the second generation (nisei) born in Hawaii, were citizens from birth. Some Americans resented the Buddhists schools that taught Japanese. Beginning in 1921 the Department of Public Instruction required teachers to use English and to teach American history. The attempt by the Government to regulate the foreign-language schools was ruled unconstitutional by the Ninth Appellate Court in San Francisco in 1926, a decision upheld by the US Supreme Court the following year. In 1920 only three percent of voters were Japanese, but by 1936 the Japanese made up one quarter of voters.

In 1922 the haole George Wright from the American Federation of Labor began the interracial United Workers of Hawaii, but Governor Wallace R. Farrington (1921-29) denied them a charter, saying it was “un-American.” On April 1, 1924 Manlapit led a strike by three thousand Filipino sugar workers. In September the strikers captured two strike-breakers in their camp at Makaweli on Kauai. They handed them over to the police; but while they were leaving, a fight broke out that resulted in sixteen strikers and four policemen being killed. Farrington sent in the National Guard with machine guns, and they arrested more than a hundred Filipinos. Sixty were sentenced to jail, and Manlapit was banished from Hawaii. Jim Dole believed that educated Filipinos were trouble, and in 1928 some literate Filipinos were sent back to the Philippines; but by 1932 more than a hundred thousand Filipinos had been brought to Hawaii.

In 1905 leaf hoppers caused a $3,000,000 loss to sugar cane production; but entomologists found parasites from Australia, Fiji, and China that controlled the leaf hoppers. The Scolia wasp was imported from the Philippines to stop the Anomala beetles, and in 1932 toads brought from Puerto Rico began eating all kinds of insects. The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920 helped native Hawaiians lease small parcels of agricultural land. James D. Dole began the Hawaiian Pineapple Company in 1901, and he bought almost all the island of Lanai in 1922 for more than a million dollars. The lucrative sugar industry was controlled by the Big Five companies, and in 1932 they took over Hawaiian Pineapple. That year the Pineapple Producers Co-operative Association was formed to plan production for the industry. Hawaiians complained that they did not get an equal share of federal money for roads, education, child welfare, and other public projects. So in 1923 the territorial legislature passed “Hawaii’s Bill of Rights” asking for equal treatment, and the US Congress extended their benefits the next year. The Christian minister Takie Okumura opposed strikes and promoted the Americanization of the Japanese in Hawaii. He organized annual conferences from 1927 to 1941 to develop community leaders.

On September 12, 1931 Thalia Massie was beaten up and claimed that she was raped by four Hawaiians; but evidence of rape was lacking, and the publicized trial resulted in a hung jury. On January 8, 1932 her mother, her husband Lt. Thomas Massie, and two others abducted the dark-skinned defendant Joe Kahahawai and killed him with a gun. In his last trial the famous Clarence Darrow defended them, arguing temporary insanity. They were convicted of second-degree murder and were sentenced to ten years. The sheriff took the four across the street, and Governor Lawrence M. Judd (1929-34) commuted their sentences to one hour. This sensational case caused many to question Hawaiian society and government even though Hawaii had no more crime than other places.

In 1934 the US Congress passed the Jones-Costigan Act that reduced Hawaii’s quota for sugar by nearly ten percent. When the bill went into effect in January 1935, Delegate Samuel Wilder King introduced a bill that would allow Hawaii to frame a state constitution. A House subcommittee visited the islands and held public hearings. Two years later a joint Congressional committee of 25 members held more hearings in Hawaii, and the Big Five sugar companies were criticized. By then Hawaii had 150,000 Japanese, and 113,000 were citizens. John F. G. Stokes tried to warn the committee of a Japanese conspiracy, but he had little evidence. The committee decided on a plebiscite, and in 1940 the Hawaiians voted two to one for statehood. Hawaii had 68,600 registered voters out of a population of 423,000.

In 1938 a strike against the Inter-Island Steamship Company was suppressed with police violence that wounded fifty picketers, but after an investigation no one was indicted. In 1940 the National Labor Relations Board allowed unions to organize. In July waterfront workers at two ports on Kauai began a strike that collapsed after ten months. However, the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU) increased its membership and negotiated contracts at ports on Kauai and Hawaii in 1941.

On Sunday December 7, 1941 a surprise attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor killed 2,403 Americans and wounded 1,178. The Japanese had 64 men killed and lost 29 planes and 5 midget submarines while destroying 188 planes, 8 battleships, 3 cruisers, 3 destroyers, and 4 other American ships.

During the emergency Governor Joseph Poindexter was persuaded to declare martial law under General Walter Short, and President Roosevelt approved. Many suspected that Japanese Americans must have aided the surprise attack, and by nightfall tuna fisherman and others had been arrested. General Delos Emmons took military control on December 16. Thousands were questioned by loyalty boards, and about 1,400 Japanese were arrested along with a few Italians and Germans. Hawaii had about 160,000 Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJA), but this was too many to intern or deport. Yet on the west coast of the United States 110,000 Japanese Americans were interned. Aliens in Hawaii were ordered not to live near military bases and to turn in anything that could be used for spying or sabotage. Newspapers and radio stations using Japanese were censored. Japanese candidates withdrew from politics. On January 2, 1942 the Office of Civilian Defense distributed a half million gas masks to every person. That month John Burns organized the Police Contact Group to tell Japanese Americans personally that they were to go all out for America. As US troops arrived in 1942, the population of Oahu increased from about 200,000 to a half million. Oahu still had 254,000 troops in July 1944.

In 1942 the War Department dismissed 317 Japanese guardsmen. University ROTC students formed the Varsity Victory Volunteers and did manual labor for the Army Corps of Engineers. About 1,400 in Hawaii’s National Guard formed the Hawaii Provisional Infantry Battalion and were shipped to Oakland, California in June. These AJAs became the famous 100th Infantry Battalion that performed so bravely in the European War. Other AJAs volunteered and became the 442nd Regimental Combat Team that was celebrated in the book and movie Go For Broke. In the later stages of the war many Japanese Americans served in the Pacific as interpreters. Half of those inducted into the armed forces by the draft in Hawaii up to 1946 were Japanese Americans. The reality was that the Japanese Americans were very loyal, and the only two people who were convicted of spying were Germans employed by the Japanese government.

Martial law was strictly enforced and was exploited by employers. General Order No. 91 required a 44-hour work week, suspended union contracts, froze wages, and could imprison an employee who quit without permission from military authorities. In 1942 about 22,000 people were brought before the provost court in Honolulu, most without lawyers, and only 359 were acquitted. The provost courts collected more than a million dollars in fines, and some had to work off their sentences or donate blood. Ingram Stainback became governor of Hawaii in August 1942 and tried to moderate martial law. In February 1943 Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes got 181 General Orders rescinded, and trial by jury was restored. Federal Judge Delbert Metzger and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco restored habeas corpus in 1943, and President Roosevelt ended martial law on October 24, 1944. The Lloyd Duncan case reached the US Supreme Court on December 7, 1945, and they ruled that military courts should not have supplanted the civil courts. On February 25, 1946 the Supreme Court decided by a 6-2 vote that the martial law imposed on Hawaii had been unconstitutional.

In 1943 agencies of the Big Five sugar producers formed the Hawaii Employers Council, and unions for agricultural workers were banned until the Hawaii Employment Relations Act was passed in 1945. Jack Kawano had begun organizing the agricultural workers in late 1943. About 21,000 workers on 33 plantations began a strike on September 1, 1946 that lasted 79 days. Scores of picketers were arrested, and plantation agencies imported about 6,000 workers from the Philippines. The ILWU workers got a raise, and the controlling perquisites of company housing and food were converted to cash; but the ILWU failed to get a closed shop with compulsory union membership. By the end of 1946 the ILWU had gained contracts for all sugar and pineapple workers as well as for longshoremen. The ILWU set up a political action committee, and Democrats were elected to half the thirty seats in the lower house. By 1947 the ILWU had more than 30,000 members.

In the spring of 1947 Army Intelligence warned Governor Stainback about Communists in the ILWU, and later that year the former Communist Ichiro Izuka published the pamphlet The Truth About Communism in Hawaii. John Reinecke was called pink in the book, and he and his wife lost their jobs as teachers. After an inquiry the decision was announced on October 30, 1948, the day that Republican Senator Hugh Butler of Nebraska arrived to investigate Communist penetration in Hawaii. At their territorial convention in 1948 the Democrats led by the ILWU overcame the conservative wing of the party. On May 1, 1949 about two thousand dock workers went on strike, affecting many businesses. Stainback signed a dock seizure act on August 6, and the Government took over the stevedoring companies. Yet ILWU workers in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle refused to load or unload ships trading with Hawaii. In the settlement on October 23 the longshoremen got a raise in pay.


1. Quoted in Mau by Michael J. Field, p. 157 and in Lagaga by Malama Meleisea, p. 137.
2. Quoted in The Betrayal of Liliuokalani by Helena G. Allen, p. 294.

Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

This chapter has been published in the book EAST ASIA 1800-1949.
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Qing Decline 1799-1875
Qing Dynasty Fall 1875-1912
Republican China in Turmoil 1912-1926
Nationalist-Communist Civil War 1927-1937
China at War 1937-1949
Korea 1800-1949
Japan's Modernization 1800-1894
Imperial Japan 1894-1937
Japan's War and Defeat 1937-1949
Philippines to 1949
Pacific Islands to 1949
Summary and Evaluation


World Chronological Index
Chronology of Asia & Africa to 1800
Chronology of Asia & Africa 1800-1950
Chronology of East Asia to 1950

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