Kauai is the oldest island out of the 8 main islands in Hawaii’s archipelago. The heritage of Kauai is fascinating and rich in history. It is believed that the fire through eruption rose above the ground and created many islands of the Hawaiian archipelago and one of these islands is Kauai. After a huge destruction caused by that eruption, there grew beauty in the image of these islands. Kauai was born out of destruction but it grew into a beautiful little paradise.
One great fact about Kauai and all the other islands of Hawaii is that it’s just one of 4 countries that were independent before it became a state of the United States. The 3 other independent countries that became a part of the United States were the Republic of Texas, California Republic and Vermont Republic.
The Menehune was an ancient tribe that was connected to Central Polynesians and they were believed to have lived in Kauai. The Menehune lived in Kauai Island alone and none lived in the other islands of Hawaii. Because of this, many believe that Kauai is its own island that is independent from the other islands. Kauai has many legends and the legend of the Menehune tribe is just one of them.
Hawaiians in the ancient times were influenced by the manas. They are spiritual powers of gods and elements to take the form of a human or an animal. There are worship sites around Hawaiian’s archipelago that were built in worship of these spiritual powers.
In the 4th century A.D, the first settlers of the island arrived and became the privileged ones to see Kauai in its original and untouched beauty. These settlers came into the island bringing in basic foods to grow and feed them. One of these items that they brought to the island was taro that up to this day is being used by the Hawaiians for their feast or luau.
It was in 1778 that the British Captain James Cook landed in the Waimea Bay. It was with his arrival that the culture in the island had changed as well as the social lives of the people in the island. Nonetheless, the chief of Kauai had stood his ground for decades more but in 1810, the Kamehame has won the rulings of the land. King Kamehame I conquered all the islands of Hawaii but could not conquer Kauai. If not for King Kaumualii’s decision to offer Kauai to the king, there would have been more bloodshed drawn just to fight against the invasion of Kamehame. If he did not surrender Kauai, it might not be a part of the kingdom of Hawaii.
The early Hawaiians had a rich tribal culture with kings, chiefs, and warrior classes. Today you can still see ruins of old temples and royal grounds. A few stories and legends have been recorded and are still told about the culture of the native Kauains of the old days.
If you are in Kauai be sure to visit the museum in Lihue as they have collected many artifacts and stories from the history of Kauai and have them displayed for visitors to see.