Hawaiʻian Islands
Hawaiʻi, now a state in the United States, is an island chain in the Pacific Ocean. This archipelago comprises dozens of islands, but the eight most prominent in the group are Hawaiʻi, Maui, Kahoʻolawe, Lanaʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, and Niʻihau. At a distance of over 4000 km from Vancouver Island, Hawaiʻi was, nevertheless, an overwinter location for famous West Coast explorers such as Cook, Vancouver, and Douglas, with the Cook being the first European to make contact with the Hawaiʻian people in 1778.1 Several despatches refer to the location of “Woahoo”, which is likely an archaism for Oʻahu. Throughout much of the 1800s, the HBC traded in dried salmon and timber to the Sandwich Islands, and sometimes drew from the Hawaiʻian labour pool for ship's crews and a variety of work.2
By the 1820s, Hawaiʻians were a common enough presence on the West Coast to be recorded in Chinook Jargon as “Owhyhees”, who became known by the Hawaiʻian word for human beings: Kanaka.3
  • 1. Gary Y. Okihiro, Island World: A History of Hawaii and the United States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), 53.
  • 2. E. E. Rich, Hudson's Bay Company 1670-1870, vol. 3, 1821-1870 (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1961), 622-623.
  • 3. Kanaka Timeline—Hawaii to the Pacific NorthWest, Salt Spring Archives.
Mentions of this place in the documents
People in this document

Cook, James

Douglas, James

Vancouver, George

Places in this document

Vancouver Island

The Colonial Despatches Team. Hawaiʻian Islands. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. The Colonial Despatches Team. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/hawaii.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)