People, Races, Ethnicity in the U.S. Hawaiian Americans Part 2

About the Hawaiian Americans in the U.S. including where they are from, why they left, how many there are, famous Hawaiian-Americans and more.


Their Story in America: American Hawaii didn't officially exist until July 7, 1898, when Pres. William McKinley signed documents of annexation. On June 14, 1900, the flag of the U.S. was raised and Hawaii became a territory. But for a century before, Hawaii's background had brought it under constantly expanding American influence, and U.S. military leaders had long been aware of the growing strategic value of the islands. Annexation was a defense measure taken by the U.S. in the interests of its own security and to prevent Hawaii from falling under the influence of Russia or Great Britain, both of which had been attempting to curry the favor of the Hawaiian monarchy.

In 1903 the territorial legislature petitioned the U.S. Congress for admission into the Union as a state. Similar petitions were repeated every two years. Three wars and 56 years later, Congress passed the Statehood Bill. On Aug. 21, 1959, President Eisenhower displayed the new U.S. flag with 50 stars and announced that "admission of the state of Hawaii on an equal footing with the other states. . . is now accomplished."

Niihau was the only island to vote against statehood, because the residents believed that it would endanger the preservation of their pure Hawaiian culture. The island has been owned by the Robinson family since 1863 when King Kamehameha IV sold it to their Scottish ancestor, Elizabeth Sinclair. Since its purchase by the Robinson family, tourism has been banned and only pure Hawaiians may live there. Residents are permitted to leave the island only for education and temporary employment on the other islands and may not return if they choose to marry outside the Hawaiian race. Niihau is operated as a cattle ranch where the people live in much the same manner as they did when the Europeans first landed on their shores. They choose to speak the Hawaiian language instead of English and are dedicated to keeping the pure Hawaiian culture intact.

Since Prince Kuhio, Hawaii's sole, nonvoting representative to the U.S. Congress from 1902 to 1922, none of Hawaii's elected representatives to Washington has been racially Hawaiian.

Famous Hawaiian American: Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, swimming champion, was born Aug. 26, 1890. He competed in the 1912, 1920, 1924, and 1928 Olympics and for 16 years held every international swimming record up to the half-mile.

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