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Sugar plantations in Hawaii

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**Historical Origins and Development**:
Sugarcane introduced to Hawaiʻi around 600 AD by Polynesians.
– First sugar mill on Lānaʻi island established in 1802.
– Old Sugar Mill founded in 1835 by Ladd & Co.
Reciprocity Treaty of 1875 allowed duty-free sugar sales to the US.
– Koloa plantation town established in 1836.
– The Big Five companies, including Castle & Cooke and Alexander & Baldwin, controlled the sugar industry.
– Descendants of missionaries played key roles in the industry.
– The overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi in 1893 was influenced by the sugar industry.

**Labor Importation and Environmental Impact**:
– Imported labor included Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and Filipinos.
– Chinese workers arrived from 1850 onwards.
– Japanese immigration increased between 1885 and 1924.
– Koreans arrived between 1903 and 1910, while Filipinos began arriving in 1906.
Sugar plantations strategically located for water, soil, and climate.
– Significant environmental degradation due to water use, deforestation, and destruction of ecosystems.

**Economic Impact and Transition**:
Sugar industry profits affected by market conditions.
Reciprocity Treaty of 1875 boosted plantation profits.
– McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 impacted Hawaiian sugar pricing.
– Land ownership shifted to foreign businessmen by 1890.
Sugar industry played a role in the annexation of Hawaiʻi by the US.
– The decline of sugar plantations led to the promotion of tourism.
– The Big Five shifted focus to a tourism-based economy.
– Cheaper labor in other regions impacted sugar production.
– Former plantation lands were repurposed for hotel development.
– Closure of Hawaii’s last working sugar mill in 2016 marked a significant shift.

**Social Impact and Labor Relations**:
– Hierarchical caste system in plantations broke down with racial integration.
– Workers staged the first multicultural strike in 1920.
– Labor costs increased significantly post-Hawaiʻi statehood, ending indentured servitude.
– Workers realized their rights.
– Global politics, including Cuba’s larger share in the US sugar market, contributed to Hawaiian sugar’s downfall.

**Influential Figures and References**:
– Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association played a significant role.
– Notable figures like John Mott-Smith, Claus Spreckels, and George P. Trousseau were involved.
– Other influential individuals include Rufus A. Lyman, Samuel Parker, and William H. Purvis.
– David M. Forbes was a key figure in plantation management.
– Works by various authors like Deerr, Urcia, Takaki, Kent, and Alexander offer in-depth analysis of the Hawaiian sugar industry.

Sugarcane was introduced to Hawaiʻi by its first inhabitants in approximately 600 AD and was observed by Captain Cook upon arrival in the islands in 1778. Sugar quickly turned into a big business and generated rapid population growth in the islands with 337,000 people immigrating over the span of a century. The sugar grown and processed in Hawaiʻi was shipped primarily to the United States and, in smaller quantities, globally. Sugarcane and pineapple plantations were the largest employers in Hawaiʻi. Today the sugarcane plantations are gone, production having moved to other countries.

Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company's Puunene mill on Maui was the last operating sugar mill in Hawaiʻi
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