As early as 1811, the fur trading Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) had already hired twelve Hawaiians on three year contracts to work for them in the Pacific Northwest. By 1824, HBC employed thirty-five Hawaiians west of the Rocky Mountains. The number of Hawaiians working as contract laborers for the Hudson’s Bay Company steadily grew. The large number of Hawaiian workers in the village at Fort Vancouver led to the name “Kanaka Town” in the early 1850s. The whaling industry had a major effect upon Hawaiian commerce and trade.
Captain of the initial whaler into the Islands noted, “Left Oahu 10th of 10 Mo 1819 for Coast of California. I shipped two Kanakas from Maui and had them the remainder of the Voyage and took them to New Bedford. Their names were Joe Bal and Jack Ena, the two names comprising that of my ship Balaena. Much notice was taken of them, singing their national songs and airs. They were the first brought to this place.” Thousands of Hawaiians shipped out as seamen aboard the whaling ships, so many that the crews were often half Hawaiian.