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Establishing Hawaii’s First Sugar Plantation
Digital History ID 12

Author:   William Hooper

Annotation: William Hooper was sent by Boston merchants to develop Hawaii’s first sugar plantation. His mission was not simply to produce sugar, but introduce “free labor” to the Islands.

Document: Just one year to day since I commenced work on this plantation, during which I have had more annoyances from the chiefs and difficulties with the natives (from the fact of this land being the first that has ever been cultivated , on the plan of free labour, at these islands) than I ever tho’t it possible for one white man to bear, which, if followed up by other foreign residents, will eventually emancipate the natives from the miserable system of “chief labour” which has ever existed at these Islands, and which if not broken up, will be an effective preventitive to the progress of civilization, industry and national prosperity…. The tract of land in Koloa was [developed] after much pain…for the purpose of breaking up the system aforesaid or in other words to serve as an entering wedge…[to] upset the whole system.

Source: William Hooper diary quoted in Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore (Boston, 1989), 22.

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