Kauai Island is a formation of an ongoing volcanic overspill that dates back almost 5.1 years ago. Being the most isolated place in the Hawaiian Islands, it is quite understandable for it to be deeply soaked in legends and myths.
Kauai In Ancient Times
Unlike the other sister islands within the Hawaiian archipelago, the mainlanders consider Kauai to be a separate kingdom with its own history. This theory pertains to evidence reflecting that it once stood as a dwelling place for the Menehune tribe of Central Polynesia. In modern times, “Menehune” defines a mythological creature resembling a sprite or an elf.
However, in olden times, they were an intimidating and courageous group of tribesmen, small in stature but far-reaching. Many things related to Kauai are centered on its original history, which can be better understood by visiting the Koke’e Natural History Museum. This museum
comprises relics that determine how the island has stood the test of time by progressing through ancient times.
The Emergence of Tribes In 400 A.D
The initial records of Kauai’s started with the Marquesans of Polynesia, who populated the island since 400 A.D. The Marquesans resided here until 600 years later when the island was subjugated by the Tahitian tribe. However, a significant fragment of some of the oldest Polynesian lineages can still be found in Kauai.
Moreover, most of the fauna and flora that you can witness in Kauai was carried forward from their migration period. The prehistoric Hawaiians developed a polytheistic society based on the idea of ‘mana.’ This suggests that gods can appear in multiple forms besides absolute divinity. Their deities could appear in the shape of animals or humans and wander around the society unnoticed.
Several worship areas or “heiaus” were founded during this era and still exist today. Some of the most famous legacies and legends, particularly of the Menehunes, are reminisced even today through Hawaiian songs and chants performed with hula dances.
Initial Contact with The West
A few historians believe Captain Cook (recognized as the founder of this chain) was not the
Hawaiian Islands’ initial founder. There is evidence that disapproves of his claiming rights and suggests that the island was accidentally founded by one of Spain’s many navigators. Named Gaetan, this Spaniard was on the lookout for Mexico’s vast riches.
When he failed to find any spices or jewels in the Hawaiian Islands, he eventually died a short while later. Kauai pretty much stood as a world of its own until 1778, when Captain James Cook first arrived. He sailed 2 ships into Waimea Bay, which led to an era that completely transformed the peaceful and independent state of the Hawaiian Islands.
Initially, the interactions between the natives and Englishmen were friendly and usually entailed bartering edibles and goods. In 1819, Kauai formed a union with the Hawaiian Kingdom and accepted reign under King Kamehameha I. This fortified the chain as reign did not contribute much to Kauai’s and other Hawaiian Islands’ gradual surrender in 1893 to American forces. By this time, Kauai had accommodated many sugar plantations. Sugar instantly became one of the fastest-selling goods for trade. Finally, 50+ years after when Hawaii was integrated into American territories by force, it acquired statehood.
Drawing Attention to The Sugar Industry
Indeed, the Kauai’s boom in the sugar industry has to be one of the most influential times in its history. Before the first sugar plantation in 1835 in Koloa, Kauai Island knew nothing about trade. These plantations drew in people from several parts of the globe, including Europe, East Asia, and the Philippines.