Sugar Cane

The sugar cane plant was brought to the Hawaiian Islands by the
Polynesians in outrigger canoes many centuries ago. Sugar cane
was part of the traditional native Hawaiian diet.

The Polynesians and early Hawaiians did not dream or
realize that this “sweet plant would ultimately change the
physical appearance and lifestyle of the islands. Through the
economic resources of the sugar plantations, tiny villages became
flourishing communities. Thousands of acres of the natural
forests were cleared for the cultivation of sugar cane, which
changed the environment. The mass production of sugar by the
many plantations required recruiting labor from foreign countries,
The arrival of foreign immigrants had the greatest impact on the
Hawaiian race, as Hawaii’s population became cosmopolitan.
Many of the immigrants were bachelors and later married
Hawaiian women. These interracial marriages resulted in greatly
reducing the number of pure Hawaiians, and presently, the pure
Hawaiian race is at the brink of extinction.

The first successful planting and production of sugar was at
Koloa, Kauai by Ladd and Company. Earlier crude mills had
been operated by the early Chinese immigrants on the island of
Lanai. By 1880 there were seventy-two sugar plantations in
Hawaii, One of the last plantations to be established was Olaa
Sugar Company which harvested its first sugar crop in 1902.


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Pahoa, HI. 96778
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All historical excerpts and photos
courtesy of
By Hiroo Sato

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