It's believed that the first people to settle Hawaii arrived in canoes, from the Marquesas Islands to the south, around 300-400 AD. Later, a second group of settlers arrived from Tahiti, somewhere between 800 and 1000 AD. The Hawaiian islands remained isolated from then until 1778 when the British explorer Captain Cook discovered them. It's believed that the population at the time of Cook's arrival was 300,000. A dense agricultural society had developed, with a highly sophisticated political system.
Cook's arrival, and that of subsequent travelers thereafter, brought with them diseases from abroad. By the 1850's the Hawaiian population had been reduced to about 70,000. Those 75 years or so brought about other changes too. Christian Missionaries came to spread their religion. Businessmen and traders came to make money. The Roman alphabet was adapted for the language, making writing possible.
In 1893, the last Hawaiian leader, Queen Liliuokalani, was deposed. In 1898 Hawaii was annexed to the US. In 1900 Hawaii became a US territory and in 1959 it became a US state.
Hawaiian is a Polynesian language descended from the one brought by the original settlers from the Marquesas.
The Christian Missionaries who went to Hawaii in the 1820's to spread Christianity gave the language a written form, with 13 consonants and vowels:
The Hawaiians quickly learned to read and write. The language continued to flourish until after the last Hawaiian leader was deposed. Soon after that, Hawaiian was banned from being taught in schools. Its use declined.
In the 1970's there was a renewed interest in preserving the Hawaiian language. In 1978 Hawaiian became an official language of the state of Hawaii. Schools developed to once again teach the Hawaiian language to children.
- Edit’ Dupont is a talented artist as well as a lovely singer! She has sung over 100 French songs for us. You can hear them on our French Song Pages. When Edit’ is creating art she likes to work with paint on paper. She wrote: "Paper expresses strength, fragility, softness, transparency... It readily transforms itself, […] Read more »
- Rhonda wrote to me looking for help with the Hawaiian Alphabet Song… Good Morning Lisa I have been looking for the Hawaiian Alphabet song and I have searched the internet for it. Are you able to tell me where I can purchase it or the name of the singer or a name of a CD […] Read more »
- In addition to this blog, I also host Mama Lisa’s World. Mama Lisa’s World is a large collection of children’s songs and rhymes from countries all around the globe. Matt, a music teacher from Rhode Island, wrote a question to me, the other day, about Mama Lisa’s World: Hey Mama, I love the concept of […] Read more »
- In previous entries I talked about the importance of Cherry Blossoms in Japan. In 1912 the mayor of Tokyo gave a gift of 3000 cherry trees to the city of Washington D.C., thus spreading the love of cherry blossom viewing to North America. Nowadays, Washington D.C. hosts the National Cherry Blossom Festival. I’ve been there […] Read more »
- Kathy wrote me… Dear Mamalisa, I was delighted to find your website and will be using it in the future. I am researching translations for the word “grandma” in various languages. I am most interested in the familiar, sweet terms children might call this individual. I am aware that in some cultures this would be […] Read more »