Today’s ‘Timeline Tuesday’ takes us through the 1850s – Kuleana Act, Smallpox Epidemic, death of Kamehameha III and growth in rice cultivation. We look at what was happening in Hawai‘i during this time period and what else was happening around the rest of the world.
“The makaʻāinana were the planters and fishers who lived on (ma) the (ka) lands (‘āina;) the final na is a plural substantive.” Or, they may be viewed as maka (eye) ‘āina (land) – ‘the eyes of the land.’ Pukui notes the name literally translates to ‘people that attend the land.’ “They were the commoners who were a class distinct and apart from the aliʻi, or class of chiefs, the temple kahuna or priests, koa or warriors, and konohiki or overseers.”
The rulers were set apart from the general populace, the makaʻāinana, by an elaborate, strictly enforced series of kapu or restrictions. The makaʻāinana made up the largest segment of the population. In addition to their work as the planters and the fishermen they were the craftsmen and the soldiers. They were the major source of manpower.
Most Polynesian archipelagoes have a volcanic ‘hot spot’ origin and, due to tectonic plate movement, islands increase in age as one progresses further from the hot spot of volcanic activity. The Hawaiian Islands illustrate this geological age progression, and associated opportunities for crop production.
The geographically older westerly islands (Kauai, O‘ahu, Molokai and west Maui) are more heavily weathered, with permanent stream flow and alluvium valleys, on which irrigation could be developed. The agricultural emphasis was on taro irrigation, with shifting cultivation and other forms of dryland gardening providing a secondary role. In the geologically younger islands to the east (east Maui and Hawai‘i), irrigation was only a minor contributor to subsistence production and highly labor-intensive, short-fallow dryland field systems predominated.
In the 1950s, sand was trucked from Waimea Bay Beach to replenish eroding sand at Waikiki Beach. Reportedly, over 200,000-tons of sand at Waimea Bay was removed to fill beaches in Waikiki and elsewhere. 1884 maps note a ‘Table Rock,’ completely surrounded by sand near the water’s edge on the Haleiwa side of the bay. They say, before the sand excavation, if you would have tried to jump off that rock, you would have jumped about six feet down into the sand below. (Early photographs of the area illustrate that.)
Some reference it as Pōhaku Lele (literally, fly or jump rock – however, given the prior context of the beach, that doesn’t sound like a traditional name. Folks now tend to call it “Jump Rock.” It’s on the west side of the bay. In summer, when there is no surf, it is a popular place for folks to stand around and eventually jump off (during the winter, the surf is too high to even think of going onto it.)
Today’s ‘Timeline Tuesday’ takes us through the 1830s – death of Ka‘ahumanu, first successful commercial sugar, first English language newspaper and Declaration of Rights. We look at what was happening in Hawai‘i during this time period and what else was happening around the rest of the world.
A Comparative Timeline illustrates the events with images and short phrases. This helps us to get a better context on what was happening in Hawai‘i versus the rest of the world. I prepared these a few years ago for a planning project. (Ultimately, they never got used for the project, but I thought they might be on interest to others.)