13th
Jan
2014

Posted in Kafevend Blog

Time to put on your history hats folks.

The islands of Hawaii form part of the region known as Polynesia (from the Greek poly and nēsos, meaning many islands), which encompasses around a thousand islands in the Pacific Ocean. The area forms a triangle, with the points formed roughly by Hawaii in the north, New Zealand in the south west and Easter Island in the south east. Archeological evidence shows that the first settlers in Hawaii appeared in 300 CE. The Polynesians were expert navigators, traversing the Pacific with ease. They possessed a great understanding of the winds and currents in the area, and even navigated by night using the stars. This knowledge was passed on orally, and often expressed through song.

Hawaii is the only state in the USA that grows coffee commercially. Coffee was first introduced to the islands in 1813 by the Spaniard Franscisco de Paula Marín. As well as serving as a diplomat and physician to the first Hawaiian king, Kamehameha I, he was an avid horticulturalist, introducing and growing crops like grapes, sugarcane, pineapples, cotton and mangoes. Various individuals established coffee plantations in Hawaii during the first half of the 19th century, but it was Henry Nicholas Greenwell, an English merchant, who brought the coffee to the world's attention. The coffee he presented was that grown in the Kona district of Hawaii on the Big Island. The coffee from the Kona district remains popular to this day, and is some of the most expensive coffee in the world.

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