The first newcomers were people of European ancestry, beginning with the
English under Captain James Cook and then Americans who came as
explorers, adventurers, businessmen and missionaries. At first, all
foreigners were known as "haole," which means outsiders or
non-Hawaiians. Since the first foreigners that the Hawaiians saw were
Europeans, the word soon came to refer strictly to persons of European
ancestry. This meaning continues to this day although sometimes it can
also be used derogatorily.
Among the Caucasians
who came in small groups as agricultural workers were Russians,
Portuguese, Spaniards, Germans and Norwegians. Many of these groups
intermarried with Hawaiians and other racial groups.
The first group of
indentured Chinese plantation workers arrived in 1852. Between 1852 and
1856, several thousand Chinese were brought in to labor on the
plantations. By 1884, this number had risen to 18,254. The Chinese
people who migrated to Hawaii were mostly Cantonese from the Pearl River
Delta near Macao. Quite a few Chinese married Hawaiian women. As a
result, Hawaiian-Chinese families are common in Hawai`i today.
In 1890 there were
12,610 Japanese listed in the census and the figure grew to 61,111 by
1900. By the early 1900's, Japanese made up some 40 percent of the
population of the islands. A Federal Exclusion Act in 1924 almost
completely halted any further immigration from Japan due to outgrowths
of hostility towards them.
The majority of
plantation laborers recruited to Hawai`i came from the Far East.
However, some also emigrated from Europe. Of these, the Portuguese
formed the largest contingent from the Atlantic islands of Madeira and
the Azores. Between 1878 and 1887, most of the 17,500 Portuguese
contract workers for Hawaii's plantations arrived.
In 1903, the first
major group of Korean immigrants arrived. This was marked by the
arrival of the SS Gaelic from Inchon, Korea. During the next two and a
half years, sixty-five boatloads of Korean laborers landed in Honolulu
with 7,843 passengers. Upon their arrival, the immigrants were
scattered to plantations on O`ahu and the Big Island. Between 1911 and
1924, many of the bachelor Korean immigrants sent home for "picture
brides." Eight hundred Korean women arrived. Subsequently, this helped
to stabilize the Korean population in Hawai`i.
The Filipinos were the
last large-scale arrival of immigrant groups recruited to Hawai`i as
plantation laborers. They were drawn mainly within the Philippine
Islands - Tagalogs, Visayans, and Ilocanos. Between 1907 and 1931,
nearly 120,000 Filipinos, mostly males, came to the islands.
On December 23, 1900,
the ship Rio de Janeiro entered Honolulu harbor with the first
significant group of Puerto Ricans brought to Hawai`i for plantation
work. Due to some similarities in culture and general appearance, the
Puerto Ricans intermarried frequently with Filipinos, Portuguese,
Spaniards and Hawaiians. The 1950 census, the last in Hawai`i which
counted Puerto Ricans as a separate group, gave a Puerto Rican
population of 10,000.
The Samoan migration
to Hawai`i was unique in that the Samoans did not come as plantation
workers and they were the only significant group of Polynesian migrants
to Hawai`i. The first large group of Samoans came to Hawai`i in 1919
when the Mormon temple was built in Lā`ie on O`ahu's northeastern
shore. In 1952 about 1,000 Samoans arrived in Hawai`i. It is estimated
that in the 1970s that there were more than 13,000 Samoans and
part-Samoans resident in Hawai`i, the majority of them on O`ahu.