Today’s ‘Timeline Tuesday’ takes us through the 1990s – construction of first geothermal well, Akebono becomes first foreign-born to achieve Yokozuna rank in sumo, H-3 opens and Hawaii Convention Center opens. We look at what was happening in Hawai‘i during this time period and what else was happening around the rest of the world
French Actor George Brangier met Duke Kahanamoku in Los Angeles while both were acting. Brangier asked Kahanamoku to teach him how to surf. Kahanamoku agreed. Brangier moved to Hawai‘i in 1928. Brangier and a California surfer, Nat Norfleet Sr, started Branfleet in January 1936 at 1704 King Street. “We began like nearly everybody else in the business – not with a pair of shoestrings but with on shoestring between the two of us.”
“Red McQueen had brought back from the 1932 Olympics in Japan some shirts made out of silk kimono cloth. We copied them to produce our first aloha shirts.” The company was one of the first to switch from making strictly tailor-made shirts to making them through a manufacturing process. (On July 23, 1939, they moved into a factory on Kapiʻolani Boulevard.) In 1937 Branfleet signed Duke Kahanamoku to a five-year contract allowing them to use the noted champion’s name on their sportswear. They also had the ‘Kahala’ brand – what the company was eventually called.
Spain claimed the Pacific as its exclusive territory by right of the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494). Britain argued that navigation was open to any nation, and territorial claims had to be backed by effective occupation. British and Spanish claims to the Pacific Northwest had overlapped since the 16th century. In July 1789 Esteban Martínez, Spanish commandant at Nootka Sound, seized several British merchant ships. Britain demanded compensation and threatened war, but Spain declined to pay compensation and prepared for war, hoping its long-standing Bourbon ally, France, would provide assistance.
The resulting crisis brought the two nations close to war, but the Spanish backed off after realizing that without the help of France – distracted by the Revolution – they could not hope to match British naval power. They settled with the Nootka Convention (signed October 28, 1790), in which the Spanish acknowledged the British right to maintain outposts in Nootka Sound and engage in whaling outside a “Ten-League Line” off the Northwest coast. Peace in the Pacific allowed for commerce to the Hawaiian Islands to expand, as well as expand the roles of a new player, the US.
“Is she (Pele) dead? Does she sleep? or has she only closed her adamantine doors, and with Pluto and Vulcan descended to the fiery bowels of the earth to prepare with deeper secrecy her magazines of wrath which shall one day burst forth with more desolating terror? To us it is a lonely idea that the volcano should become extinct; for we confess that her mutterings, her thunderings, her flashings, the smoke of her nostrils and the shaking of her rocky ribs are music, beauty, sublimity and grandeur to us. They seem so like the voice of Almighty God, so like the footsteps of Deity.” (Lydia Bingham Coan)
“A mighty current instantly overflowed, and they ran for their lives before the molten flood, and ascended from the surface of the abyss to the lofty rim with heartfelt thanksgiving to their great Deliverer. This proves the real danger of meddling with Pele’s palace and trifling with her power. Had this occurred in the days of unbroken superstition, it would doubtless have been ascribed to the anger of that false deity, and multiplied her worshippers. But now such a deliverance was justly ascribed to the care and power of Jehovah, the knowledge of whose attributes displayed in the works of creation, providence, and grace, has introduced the Hawaiian race into a new life.” (Hiram Bingham)
Wao means the wild – a place distant and not often penetrated by man. The Hawaiians recognized and named many divisions or aspects of the wao: first, the wao kanaka, the reaches most accessible, and most valuable, to man (kanaka;) and above that, denser and at higher elevations, the wao akua, forest of the gods, remote, awesome, seldom penetrated, source of supernatural influences, both evil and beneficent. The term for mountain or mountain range – a mountainous region – is kuahiwi (backbone). (All here is from Handy.)