Kona coffee first came to the attention of the world in the late 1800’s when it was shipped to Europe.
The world came to know about the Hawaiian Islands when British Naval Captain James Cook landed there in 1778. He quickly named his discovery Sandwich Island, honoring his Admiral,the Earl of Sandwich. As legends of the islands spread, it became a major source of trade. Sugar plantations were built, whaling ships by the hundreds circled the islands, and pineapples were developed into a flourishing industry.
Short of Hawaiian labor, European merchants brought laborers from China, Japan, Portugal, Philippines, Korea, and Puerto Rico to work on the sugar cane plantations and mills. This melting pot of cultures began to influence native traditions and religion which led to a government being formed, the Kingdom of Hawai’i, by which the Hawaiian King Kamehameha and chiefs controlled all the islands. Kamehameha and his heirs ruled the Kingdom from the time it was a hereditary monarchy through the time it became a constitutional monarchy with an elected legislature.
Captain James Cook, The Navigator
“… Ambition leads me not only farther than any other man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go …”
– James Cook, Royal Navy
With the admission to statehood of the USA in 1959, the stronghold on the Hawaiian economy and government by the few major plantations was broken. Hawai’i began its journey to becoming a major travel destination as well as reducing the dependence on sugar and pineapple by developing world class coffees.