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Hawaii's People and Culture

Hawai'i is one of the most racially diverse places in the world as there is no majority--everyone is in a minority!  In the 2000 census, more than 20% claimed multi-ethnic backgrounds, far more than any other U.S. state.  This was the first census that provided this category, so it's believed that many people chose one of their ethnic origins instead of the new multiple origins choice.  More than half of Hawaii's population is at least part Asian, about the same is part Caucasian, and about a quarter claim Hawaiian ancestry.

How did the most isolated population center on earth come to be populated by so many different people from all over the world?  Follow the WebLinks below to learn more about who we are and how we all came to be here.

Web Links

Magic Island - Planet Hawaii site focusing on the Kumulipo, the genealogy chant and epic poem about creation and the order of life. 

The Settlement of Polynesia - Research into Polynesian voyaging and migrations throughout the Pacific, by Dennis Kawaharada.

English in Hawaii - Captain Cook was probably the first Englishman to reach the islands, and many others visited or became residents of Hawai'i in subsequent years.

Germans in Hawaii - Islander Magazine article by Chris Cook.  "Kelemania" and their descendants have greatly influenced life in the islands, first arriving with Cook in 1778.

Portuguese Immigrants - A sea captain from Portugal, sailing under the flag of Spain, may actually have been the first European to find the Hawaiian Islands more than 200 years before Cook.  This page traces the history of Portuguese immigrants and their contributions.

Chinese in Hawaii - Article by Clarence Glick reprinted from Paradise News.  Good narrative of Chinese immigration and contributions to the islands.

Asian Immigration to Hawai'i - A look at plantation life, immigrant workers and how cultural differences were handled over time.

Japanese Immigration - An interesting contrast between immigrants to Hawai'i and immigrants to America.

Nikkei Home Page - History of Japanese-Americans, not specific to Hawai'i.

Filipino Migration to Hawai'i  - Traces the migration of workers to the sugar plantations as part of a larger site on Filipino migration to the U.S.

Honolulu's Chinatown - An excellent site brimming with information on what to see and do in Chinatown, Chinese customs and legends, and a good directory of Chinatown businesses.

Ethnic Food Glossary - One result of our ethnic mix is all the 'ono (delicious) foods of Hawai'i, defined and sorted by origin.

chicken-skin.com - Explore the mysteries of Hawai'i with our favorite historian and storyteller, Glen Grant.  Info on ghost and history tours, ghost radio and books.

Korean American Historical Society (KAHS) - Nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the collective memory of Korean Americans through collecting, maintaining, and transmitting the heritage and achievements of Koreans living in the United States and abroad. Community groups, publications and excellent online resources.  Not specific to Hawai'i.

Hawai'i Celebrities 
a long list of famous people with links to the islands, from e-Hawaii.com.

Essay on Hawaii's People - Take a look at Hawaii's diversity, the threat to local style that 'globalization' brings and other thoughts on our economy by UH Professor Dr. Herb Barringer. From e-Hawaii.

History of the Aloha Shirt - everything you might ever want to know about clothing in the islands through time from Aloha Fun Wear.

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