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It was within our own
continent and inhabited largely by our own people. Hawaii marks our
first advance into foreign lands, and ranges America for the first time
among the nations whose policy is that of expansion, by territorial
extensions, over the globe.

[Illustration: NATIVE GRASS HOUSE, HAWAII.]

Hawaii is called the "Paradise of the Pacific," and there is little
doubt that its climate, fertility and healthfulness justify the name.
It is one of the few spots upon earth where one can almost, to use a
slang phrase, "touch the button" and obtain any kind of weather he
desires. Mark Twain's suggestion to those who go to these islands to
find a congenial clime is about as practical as it is humorous--"Select
your climate, mark your thermometer at the temperature desired, and
climb until the mercury stops there." Everyone who visits Hawaii is
charmed with the country, and never forgets its novelty, stupendous and
delightful scenery, clear atmosphere, gorgeous sunlight, and profusion
of fruits and flowers.

"No alien land in all the world," writes Mr. Clemens, "could so
longingly and beseechingly haunt me, sleeping and waking, through half a
life-time, as that has done. Other things leave me, but that abides.
Other things change, but that remains the same. For me its balmy airs
are always blowing; its summer seas flash in the sun; the pulsing of its
surf beats in my ear; I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping
cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore, its remote summits
floating like islands above the cloud rack; I can feel the spirit of its
woodland solitudes; I can hear the splash of its brooks; in my nostrils
still lives the breath of flowers that perished twenty years ago."


DISCOVERY AND LOCATION.

Captain Cook discovered the islands in January, 1778, and named them the
Sandwich Islands, after Lord Sandwich; but the native name, Hawaii, is
more generally used. There is good evidence that Juan Gaetano, in the
year 1555--223 years before Cook's visit--landed upon their shores. Old
Spanish charts and the traditions of the natives bear out this theory,
but they were not made known to the world until Cook visited them. It is
popularly believed that the original inhabitants of Hawaii came from New
Zealand, though that island is some 4,000 miles southwest of them. The
physical appearance of the people is very similar, and their languages
are so much alike that a native Hawaiian and a native New Zealander,
meeting for the first time, can carry on a conversation. Their ideas of
the Deity and some of their religious customs are nearly the same. That
the islands have been peopled for a long time is proven by the fact that
human bones are found under lava beds and coral reefs where geologists
declare they have lain for at least thirteen hundred years.

There are eight inhabited islands in the archipelago, Hawaii, Maui,
Kahoolawi, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, and Niihau, comprising an area
of 6,700 square miles, a little less than that of the State of New
Jersey, and about five hundred miles greater than the combined areas of
Rhode Island and Connecticut. They extend from northwest to southeast,
over a distance of about 380 miles, the several islands being separated
by channels varying in width from six to sixty miles. They lie entirely
within the tropics, not far from a direct line between San Francisco and
Japan, 2,080 miles from San Francisco, which is nearer to them than any
other point of land, except one of the Carolines. The largest and most
southern island is Hawaii, which has given its name to the group.

[Illustration: RAISING THE AMERICAN FLAG IN HONOLULU, AUGUST 12, 1898.

The cut in the corner shows the Royal Palace formerly occupied by the
Hawaiian Kings.]


THE HIGHEST AND LARGEST VOLCANOES.

The entire archipelago is of volcanic origin, but there are no active
craters to be found at the present time, except two, on the island of
Hawaii. Mauna Loa is the highest volcano in the world, being nearly
14,000 feet above the sea. It has an immense crater; but, while it still
sends forth smoke and has a lake of molten lava at the bottom, there
have been no eruptions for a number of years. Kilauea, the largest
active volcano on the globe, is about sixteen miles from Mauna Loa, on
one of its foothills, 4,000 feet above the sea, and is in a constant
state of activity. Its last great eruption occurred in 1894. This
volcano was described by the missionary Ellis in the year 1823, and
hundreds of tourists visit it every year. Its crater is nine miles in
circumference and several hundred feet deep. Under the conduct of
competent guides the tourists descend into the crater and walk over the
cool lava in places, while near them the hot flame and molten lava are
spouting to the height of hundreds of feet.

The largest extinct volcano in the archipelago is on the island of Maui,
the bottom of the crater measuring sixteen square miles. All of these
stupendous volcanic mountains rise so gently on the western side that
horsemen easily ride to their summits.


INHABITANTS OF THE ISLANDS.

When Cook visited Hawaii, he found the islands inhabited, according to
his estimate, by 400,000 natives. Forty years later when the census was
taken there were 142,000. These diminished one-half during the next
fifty years, and the native population of the islands in 1897 was only
31,019. The total population by the last census, when the islands became
a part of the United States, was 109,020, made up, in addition to the
natives mentioned, of 24,407 Japanese, 21,616 Chinese, 12,191
Portuguese, and 3,086 Americans. The remainder were half-castes from
foreign intermarriage with the natives, together with a small
representation from England, Germany, and other European countries.

[Illustration: HULA DANCING GIRLS, HAWAII.]

That the original Hawaiians must soon become extinct as a pure race is
evident, though they have never been persecuted or maltreated. They are
a handsome, strong-looking people, with a rich dark complexion, jet
black eyes, wavy hair, full voluptuous lips, and teeth of snowy
whiteness; but they are constitutionally weak, easily contract and
quickly succumb to disease, and the only hope of perpetuating their
blood seems to lie in mixing it by intermarriage with other races.


OLD TIMES IN HAWAII.

Prior to 1795, all the islands had separate kings, but in that and the
following year the great king of Hawaii, Kamehameha, with cannon that he
procured from Vancouver's ships, assaulted and subjugated all the
surrounding kings, and since that time the islands have been under one
government. Previous to this, the natives had been at war, according to
their traditions, for three hundred years. The fierceness of their
hand-to-hand conflicts, as described by their historians, has probably
not been surpassed by those of any other people in the world. The four
descendants of Kamehameha reigned until 1872, when the last of his line
died childless. A new king was elected, who died within a year, and
another was then elected by the people. It was to this last line that
Queen Liliuokalani belonged, and she was deposed by the revolution of
1893, led by the American and European residents upon the islands. These
patriots set up a provisional government and made repeated application
for admission to the United States, the tender of the islands being
finally accepted by a joint vote of Congress on July 7, 1898, since
which time the Hawaiian Islands have been a part of our country.

The manners and customs of the native Hawaiians are most interesting,
but space forbids a description of them here. Their religion was a gross
form of idolatry, with many gods. Human sacrifice was freely practiced.
They deified dead chiefs and worshiped their bones. The great king,
Kamehameha I., though an idolater, was a most progressive monarch, and
invited Vancouver, who went there in 1794, taking swine, cattle, sheep,
and horses, together with oranges and other valuable plants, to bring
over teachers and missionaries to teach his people "the white man's
religion."


THE WORK OF AMERICAN MISSIONARIES.

But it was not until 1820, after the death of the great king, that the
first missionaries arrived, and they came from America. The year
previous, in 1819, Kamehameha II. had destroyed many of the temples and
idols and forbidden idol worship in the islands; consequently, when the
missionaries arrived they beheld the unprecedented spectacle of a nation
without a religion. The natives were rapidly converted to Christianity.
It was these American missionaries who first reduced the Hawaiian
language to writing, established schools and taught the natives. As a
result of their work, the Hawaiians are the most generally educated
people, in the elementary sense, in the world. There is hardly a person
in the islands, above the age of eight years, who cannot read and write.
In spite of education, however, many of the ancient superstitions still
exist, and some of the old stone temples are yet standing. What the
United States will do with these heathen temples remains to be seen. The
natives revere them as relics of their savage history, and as such they
may be preserved.

[Illustration: CHURCH IN HONOLULU, HAWAIIAN ISLANDS.

Built of lava stone. Seating capacity about 3000.]

Aside from the horrors of superstitions, the Hawaiians lead a happy
life, full of amusements of various kinds on the land and water--for
Hawaiian men, women and children live much of their time in the water.
Infants are often taught the art of swimming before they can walk. The
surf riding or swimming of the natives astonished Captain Cook more than
any of their remarkable performances. The time selected was when a storm
was tossing the waves high and the surf was furious. Then the men and
women would dive through the surf, with narrow boards about nine inches
wide and eight feet long, and, swimming a mile or more out to sea, mount
on the crest of a huge billow, and sitting, kneeling or standing, with
wild gesticulations, ride over the waves and breakers like gods or
demons of the storm.



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