In this book, noted historian Edward D. Beechert chronicles the history of Honolulu Harbor from the late 1700 to its present day dynamics.
Ancient Honolulu Harbor—the harbor of Kou—was a small collection of houses that formed an insignificant fishing village in the Hawaiian Islands. Discovered in 1792 by Captain William Brown, some fourteen years after Captain James Cook sailed by the difficult entrance, the harbor was a protected anchorage that could be entered only to secure necessity items, such as provisions and water. In 1825 the first "improvement" to the harbor was made when an abandoned hulk was towed in and sunk to become the first wharf. Shortly thereafter, regulations governing the use of the harbor were issued. From that time on, Honolulu Harbor was in operation.
This meager beginning did not reflect the singular importance of Honolulu as the only deepwater port in the vast area of the mid-Pacific. Besides being a supply point and a repair and maintenance center, Honolulu offered a large population of islanders from which to recruit seamen. No other port in the Pacific could rival its advantages. These circumstances have helped to transform the tiny village of Honolulu in ancient days into a major maritime center, as well as the political focus of the succeeding regimes of the Hawaiian Islands. Today Honolulu is a major tourist attraction, the state capital, the center of Pacific commerce, and home to one of the world's largest military bases.
Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Hawaii, Edward D. Beechert previously taught at Sacramento State University and Saint Mary's College of California. He has published numerous articles in economic history and labor history and is the author of Working in Hawaii: A Labor History and coeditor of Patterns of Resistance: Plantation Labor.