Hawaii's Territorial Homesteads on Maui: An Attempt at an American Colony in 1911

Authors: Kawelau Wright*, University of Hawaii - Manoa
Topics: Political Geography, Pacific Islands, Cultural Geography
Keywords: Hawaii, US Territories, Racism, Ethnicity
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Hawaii's landscape underwent major transformations immediately following the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Among these were the changes to ethnic population demographics and land use. At the time of the overthrow, Anglo Saxons were greatly outnumbered by the population segments of other races, including Native Hawaiians. Within the space of forty years, there was an explosion of Americans that settled across Hawaiʻi.

This project examines Hawaiʻi territorial government systems put into place to facilitate these changes and presents an in-depth look at Territorial Homesteads in Haʻikū, Maui that encompassed more than two thousand acres. This land was given to American Anglo Saxons exclusively, creating an American Colony. It will also examine the role that the Land Act, Organic Act, and Settlement Associations played in the homesteading initiative. These systems were created and utilized to grow the American Caucasian population in Hawaiʻi, and did so effectively. Hawaii's landscape changed dramatically in numerous ways due to these systems, which affected not just the ethnic makeup of the population, but also had major economic and social impacts. I will use territorial government documents and letters as well as numerous newspaper articles generated during Hawaii's territorial period to present this history.

I believe that it is important to examine Hawaiʻi's history as a US territory in an effort to better contextualize and educate about the dispossession of Native Hawaiians in their homeland. This is a piece of that understanding.

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