Nhsc-v1-150

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nhsc-v1-150

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overseer. This officer apportioned the lands to each Hawaiian, and on these allotments were raised the taro, the potatoes, the pigs, and the chickens which constituted the living of the family; even the forests, which furnished the material from which was made the tapa cloth, were apportioned to the women in like manner. It is true that no one of the common people could mortgage or sell his land, but the wisdom of this limitation is abundantly proved by the homeless condition of the Hawaiians at the present day. Rent, eviction of tenants, as understood in other lands, were unknown; but each retainer of any chief contributed in the productions of his holdings to the support of the chief's table. 27/

The early inhabitants of Hawaii developed an economic system that was, by necessity, self-sufficient. Hawaiians lived off the abundance of land and the sea, harvesting and catching only what they needed to satisfy their immediate needs. The basic land division of the islands for landholding purposes was the ahupua'a. The ideal u>ahupua'a</u> extended from the sea to the mountain. Within each ahupua'a, commoners engaged in the activities necessary to support themselves and the chiefs. The lowlands were used for cultivation of taro and bananas, the sea for fishing, and the forests in the mountains supplied bark for cloth and bird feathers for ornaments. 28/

In agriculture, a fairly sophisticated system of irrigation was developed to bring the large amounts of water necessary to grow taro to the dry lands. Periodically, droughts would occur, forcing the people to survive on roots and ferns.

The sea provided an important source of livelihood and sustenance. The Hawaiians were expert fishermen and skillful navigators. As with agriculture, strict kapu controlled the amount of fish caught and the seasons during which they could be caught, creating an efficient conservation scheme.

Other occupations necessary to supply the needs of the culture included house-builders, canoebuilders, and bird-catchers (who collected feathers for the magnificent Hawaiian capes, cloaks, and helmets). 29/

B. ISOLATION IS SHATTERED

The long isolation of the Hawaiian islands ended with the arrival of Captain James Cook of the British Navy. Captain Cook was on his third exploratory voyage to the South Pacific, travelling from the Society Islands to the northwest coast of America, when he sighted Oahu and Kauai on January 18, 1778. He christened the island group the Sandwich Islands, in honor of his benefactor, the Earl of Sandwich.

On January 19, the two ships under Cook's command, the Resolution and the Discovery, landed on Kauai and traded bits of iron (precious on the islands) for foodstuffs. Thus began the trade between Hawaiians and ships stopping at the islands to rest and replenish that would continue for generations.

Cook and his crew were enthusiastically received by the natives. At first they were somewhat confused at the great respect and awe with which the natives, even the king and chiefs, beheld Captain Cook. When the two ships left Kauai and landed at Niihau, the natives were just as impresses with the ships and gust as interested in trading, especially for iron.

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