Hawaii is a land of
immigrants, some ancient and some recent. Some estimate
the population of Native Hawaiians in 1778 was 300,000,
others believe it was much larger. The introduction of
diseases unknown in isolated Hawaii decimated the
population after European contact. The population of
Hawaii decreased from first contact until 1872 when it hit
a low of 56,000. The Hawaiian population was so low that
sugar planters needed to import labor from other
Timeline of Immigration
700 - 900 CE - Polynesian
migrations to Hawaii islands. (some estimates are much
1778 CE - Captain James
Cook of England 'discovers' Hawaii.
1821 CE - American
missionaries arrive from New England.
1852 CE - First Chinese
contract laborers (195) arrive in Hawaii.
1852 - 1898 CE -
Approximately 50,000 Chinese laborers, mostly single men,
come to Hawaii. 1868 CE - First Japanese laborers (153)
arrive in Hawaii.
1877 CE - Portuguese
laborers recruited in the Azores.
1878 to 1884 CE - 9,471
Portuguese workers arrive in Hawaii.
1880 CE - Castle & Cook
recruits 629 Norwegian to come to Hawaii.
1881 CE - German immigrants
recruited to come to Hawaii.
1883 CE - Kingdom of Hawaii
limits Chinese importation to 600 per three month period.
1885 CE - Hawaii and Japan
resolve issues regarding treatment of contract workers.
First large group of Japanese laborers arrive.
1885 to 1924 CE - 200,000
Japanese workers come to Hawaii.
1900 CE - First workers
arrive from Puerto Rico, eventually 5,000 would come to
1900 to 1908 CE - Over
eight thousand laborers arrive from Okinawa. Okinawa is
part of Japan.
1902 CE - First Korean
laborers arrive. 7,843 Koreans arrive between 1902 and
1905 CE - First laborers
arrive from the Philippines, then a U.S. territory. By
1916, 18,144 Filipinos arrive in Hawaii.
1907 CE - 2,250 Spanish
workers from Malaga arrive to work on the plantations.
1911 to 1920 CE - 3,000
Filipinos arrive in Hawaii each year. 1921 to 1930 CE -
over 7,000 Filipinos arrive annually.
Note: CE means common era
and means the same as AD.
Immigration to Hawaii was
in three big waves: Chinese, Japanese, and then Filipino.
There were smaller but substantial migrations of
Portuguese, Koreans and Puerto Ricans.
For Further Reading:
Immigration to Hawaii.
Labor Migration to Hawaii.
Data Book, Hawaii Department of Business, Economic
Development and Tourism. Population and other information.
Passengers Arriving in Honolulu 1903-1905. Passenger
- Portuguese Genealogy Resources. Includes ship lists
to find your Portuguese ancestors.
Pokiki: Portuguese Traditions.