Early Photography of the Kingdom of Hawaii
Welcome to our collection of early photography of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The Kingdom’s its demise tell a story that’s not so much about the threat of foreign cannons, though foreign disease accomplished far greater decimation of the population than weapons could ever have done. Never in history to my knowledge was there such an odd collision of cultures; Hawaii’s encounter with the West bridged no less of a cultural chasm than if we were to meet the Martians. Once the people had been decimated, their incomprehension of the Western values of land ownership and the manipulation of the missionaries then ensured the loss of the land. Despair very nearly finished off the job, but not entirely. The Hawaiian—thanks to the Hawaiian Renaissance among many of their quarter-million or so hapa-Hawaiian cousins—is struggling to overcome having been written off as a stranger in his own land. But many obstacles remain, including the inability of many Hawaiians to adapt to the Western value system of success at all costs and its attendant materialism; the unwillingness of the American Way to accommodate a Hawaiian way of life; the ice epidemic; economic marginalization… I could go on. I hope that we’ll find a moment in and amongst our headlong plunge into the future to consider what wisdom the Hawaiian might have given us, and still might, before they’re all gone.
Ha’ule i ka hope wa’a. – Left in the aft of the canoe. (Said of one who comes last.)
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P.S. If you have a taste for history, we invite you to our companion site WisdomMaps.info. It’s history as you’ve never seen it!