During the 19th Century, businessmen from all over the world came to Hawaii to exploit its sandalwood, whales, land, and people. Hawaii’s leaders participated in this exploitation. Workers were brought in from many parts of the world. Government corruption became common. By the time Queen Lili’uokalani lost her throne to a group of businessmen in 1893, Hawaii was directionless. In 1819, after Kamehameha’s death, the kapu system was abolished, the Hawaiian religion was tossed away, and the Hawaiians dumped their gods…all voluntarily. As well, large tracks of land were sold by the Hawaiian government to royalty, government officials, commoners, and foreigners, stripping Hawaiians of the land they’d lived on for generations.
In 1894, the United States recognized the Republic of Hawaii with Sanford Dole as President. In 1898 it was annexed. In 1890 it was recognized as an official territory. During this time, Hawaii established itself as a sugar king. Pineapples also became popular. In fact, the island of Lanai was purchased for the exclusive purpose of growing pineapples.
As the 20th century continued, sugar and pineapple workers became the highest paid employees for these crops in the world. Eventually, land prices rose and competition for providing sugar and pineapple from other sources became extreme, sugar and pineapple became less profitable. Lanai has switched from the pineapple growing island to another island of tourism. There is no longer any sugar business on the Big Island, Kauai, and O’ahu where it was once so plentiful. Now only Maui still grows sugar.
Cite: O’ahu Revealed by Andrew Doughty