Immigration in Hawai’i through the ages

Immigration in Hawaii
Lush picture ah? 
“Let’s keep it nice and clean, out here in the pacific,
cause livin’ in Paradise sure is terrific!” 

Here is some information I’ve gathered while working on our ‘Mayday is Lei day’. Hope it is useful to you. Most of the information I have gathered from sugar-plantations and museums, but let me know if you want exact sources. 
·      When did it start? – at around 1850’s
·      Why did they come? – to work for the sugar plantations, start a new life, seeking religious freedom.
The native Hawaiians spring from Polynesians, and the term “Polynesia” was first used in 1756 by French writer Charles de Brosses, and originally applied to all the islands of the Pacific.
The earliest habitation supported by archeological evidence dates to as early as 300 CE (Common Era) probably by Polynesian settlers from the Marquesas followed by a second wave of migration from Raiatea and Bora Bora in the 11th century.
Population of Hawaii according to census on 2008
Between 1852 and 1946, approximately 395,000 people were brought to Hawaii to work in the sugar fields. Other immigrant groups who came to Hawaii, although in much smaller numbers, include: Gilbert Islanders, Norwegians, Germans, Galacians, Spanish, Hindus, African Americans and Russians. Many workers chose to return to their homelands and for some, like the Spanish, Hawaii was a stepping-stone to the mainland. Many remained and made Hawaii their home.
Their shared experiences of backbreaking labor, low pay and constant supervision created the foundation for these laborers to overcome their differences and find common ground. Hawaii’s plantation communities always had a disproportionate number of single male workers and, in the early years, social relationships were associated with a bachelor lifestyle. Not until 1920 did women and children make up half of the plantation community.The workers who stayed in Hawaii and raised families forged a new plantation community in which elements of their individual cultures merged to form the basis of modern multicultural Hawaii.
Prior to 1876, Hawaiians constituted 80% of the sugar workforce. Where there would always be Hawaiians on the sugar plantations, after 1880 their numbers dwindled in comparison to imported laborers.
(1852 – 1897)
Primarily bachelors intending to return to China, those men who stayed usually left the plantations after finishing their contracts. They often started families by marrying Hawaiian women. 46,000 came over these years.
(1878 – 1913)
Recruited as families, the Portuguese came to Hawaii with every intention of staying. Although starting as field workers, they often moved into Luna positions. 17,500 came during these years.
Puerto Ricans
(1878 – 1913)
Recruited as families, Puerto Ricans emigrated to Hawaii expecting to establish a new community. They traveled to Hawaii via a long railroad ride across the U.S. from New Orleans to California. 5,200 came during these years.
(1885 – 1924)
Originally, single men dominated this group. But after women emigrated as picture brides, families became more common. As the largest immigrant group, their cultural influence is seen throughout the plantation community. 180,000 came over these years.
(1900 – 1924)
Okinawa was annexed by Japan in 1879. First counted as part of the Japanese immigration, Okinawans are a distinct cultural group whose interactions with the ‘Naichi’ constitute a complex history.
Koreans (1903 – 1905) The landing of the S.S. Gaelic into Honolulu Harbor in January 13, 1903 marked the first wave of Korean immigration.
Over 40% of Korean immigrants were Christians seeking religious freedom and a western way of life in Hawaii. Others had political motives and sought to establish an overseas base for the Korean nationalist struggle. 7,000 Koreans came during these years.
(1906 – 1946)
The first immigrants were mostly single men. Sporadic immigration by Filipino women created small family communities that embraced the large bachelor community and developed a new extended kinship network.
(1907- Present day)
Fort Shafter was built as part of an ambitious War Department building program that included the Army’s Fort DeRussy. And the military immigration started here, another wave started when the decision was made to hold the navy’s 1940 fleet exercises in the area of Hawaii.
They didn’t come as plantation workers, such as the Japanese, Chinese, and Filipinos. They came as Mormons. The immigrants came to the Laie, an area of Oahu. Samoans mainly left to find a better life and better jobs, and also to escape from the overpopulated Samoa.
(1978-Present day)
After years of nuclear testing and vaporization of several Islands in the Micronesian area, the US government set up resource centers on the Hawaiian islands in cooperation with the Nuclear-Free and Independent Pacific movement. Since the people to this very day still suffer from miscarriages, cancer and tumors, people are still seeking help in Hawaii. 

This is a fun fact I found, (for Norwegians)
A group of approximately 600 Norwegian Caucasions arrived in Hawaii in 1880 after being recruited by Castle and Cook, to work for the sugar plants. Immediately on arriving in Hawaii, the Norwegians found conditions other than what they believed they were promised. The mismatch in expectations only increased across time as was cited in an 1882 article titled “The Norwegian, what to do with him?” 2

Haha, typical Norwegians eh? Well, we know our rights!


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