By Mrs. Kidwell

Not Just Sandy Beaches

Luaus, pristine beaches, and paradise: this is what most people envision when they hear the name ‘Hawaii’. While it is true that Hawaii has some of the top-rated beaches in the world, many people do not realize that Hawaii offers much more than a vacation destination for people dreaming of escaping reality. Hawaii provides many great agricultural and sought-after goods, such as coffee and sugar, and it also has a rich and storied history like no other.

Hawaii's Coffee

Coffee is an extremely popular crop grown in Hawaii. It is so popular that there are over five hundred coffee farms located within the islands of Hawaii! Not only is it a popular crop on the islands, but in fact, Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that actually grows coffee commercially. What makes it such a great location for growing coffee is the island’s climate, low elevation, and growth period for the coffee cherry. Visitors to the state can even go on tours of coffee farms as well as join in for coffee tastings just about anywhere on the islands.

A Vast History

Hawaii’s history is unique from any other state’s history in America. It was first settled by Polynesians over 1600 years ago. Its original residents came from the Marquesas Islands, and a few hundred years later, from Tahiti. It wasn’t until 1778 that a British explorer, Captain James Cook, came across the island. His ‘discovery’ of the island brought attention to the islands from other explorers, sailors, and fishermen, and many people began using Hawaii as a stopping place to gather supplies. Because of these outsiders coming in, many diseases were spread and killed the natives who hadn’t yet developed immunity to these foreign illnesses. The population went from 300,000 to less than 40,000 in just the one-hundred years since Cook’s arrival. In addition, many missionaries from the United States spread Christianity to the islanders, with many of them adopting Christianity and becoming Protestant or Roman Catholic. By 1900, Hawaii became an official U.S. territory after working out several treatments that allowed it to have a free market society in exchange for economic privileges to the United States. Finally, in 1959, Hawaii officially became the 50th state in America after a several year delay from the aftermath of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the aftermath of WWII. Even though it’s the youngest state, it certainly doesn’t have any less of a history than the rest!

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Statue of King Kamehameha

Hawaii's King from 1782-1819
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Hawaii State Seal

Visit Hawaii

The fact that Hawaii is such a large producer of agricultural goods makes it a valuable asset for the world, and its varied and exciting history only further adds to the appeal of this tropical island state. If you are ever given the opportunity to visit Hawaii, feel free to lounge away at the beach, but don’t forget to make sure you try out some of its home-grown coffee or take a dive into one of the local museums to absorb a history like no other!

Hawaii Kona Coffee - America's Heartland 601

Works Cited

"Coffee Crops in Hawaii." World Geography: Understanding a Changing World. ABC-CLIO, 2000. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

"Coffee History in Hawaii." Hawaii Coffee Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web.

Hawaii: State Seal. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://school.eb.com/levels/middle/article/274793>.

"Log in." Britannica School. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

N.d. Web. <http://school.eb.com/levels/middle/article/274793/media?assemblyId=192962>.