Visit The Garden Isle!
A Perfect Destination For A Destination Wedding!Credit: Morgue File
The Island of Kauai, the oldest of the eight main populated Hawaiian Islands, has a rich historical heritage, infused with myth and legend. Six to ten million years ago volcanic eruptions far within the bowels of the earth forced lava to emerge from the sea, creating the land mass that is now Kauai.
Unrelenting erosion caused by the flow of water against the lava rock created the natural beauty and dramatic topography for which Kauai, also known as Tauai in the ancient Kauai dialect, is famous.
Located 105 miles across the Kauai Channel, northwest of Oahu, Kauai encompasses an area of 562.3 square miles and is the fourth largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago.
Early Inhabitants, the Marquesans, sailing from Polynesia in 400 A.D. were the first people to live on the island. The Marquesans brought with them staple foods, including taro. Today, Kauai produces more taro than any of the other Hawaiian Islands. Poi, made from the taro plant, remains a popular food, served daily in most Hawaiian homes and featured at luaus.
In 1000 A.D., brave sailors traveling from Tahiti discovered the splendor of the island, violently overpowered the Marquesans and claimed the “Garden Isle” as their own.
Ancient island folklore remains interwoven with tales of the Menehune, mysterious forest dwellers credited with extraordinary feats. No one knows when the mysterious Menehune arrived on the island or how many still remain. Small in stature, the Menehune may be the descendants of the Marquesans, the first people to inhabit the island.
Working only by moonlight, the shy Menehune completed massive construction projects in a single night. The Menehune Ditch, a complex aqua duct to funnel water for irrigation of the taro fields from the Waimea River, remains an example of their incredible talent.
In 1778, the first westerners arrived. Captain James Cook landed two ships on the west coast of the island at Waimea Bay. Captain Cook christened the chain of islands the “Sandwich Islands” in tribute to the First Lord of the Admiralty, the Earl of Sandwich. Captain Cook initially had an amicable relationship with the native peoples, trading trinkets and trade goods for food and local knowledge.
The peace shattered due to a misunderstanding. Captain Cook lost his life in an attempt to capture the island’s high chief to hold in exchange for a stolen boat. Captain Cook and his men were, unfortunately, the catalyst that brought world attention to Kauai and prompted the arrival of missionaries, merchants, disease and irreversible change to the culture of the island.
In a bloody series of fierce battles that lasted more than 15 years, a powerful warlord known as Kamehaneha the Great, the ruler of the big island of Hawaii, gained control of the Islands of Maui, Oahu, Molokai and Lanai. He twice assembled a vast fleet of war canoes and planned attacks against Kauai. Violent storms and a deadly epidemic forced the king to delay his war plans.
Until 1819, Kauai’s chief Kakumualii maintained the island’s independence from King Kamehameha. Faced with the threat of an invasion, he decided to avoid further bloodshed and acquiesced to King Kamehameha’s demands.
Chief Kakumualii became King Kamehameha’s vassal, ceding Kauai to Kamehameha upon his death in 1824. The islands of Niihau and Kauai were the last of the islands to join Kamehameha’s Kingdom of Hawaii.
Missionaries soon arrived, introducing new beliefs that altered the social structure of the island.
In 1835, the first sugar plantation, established near the whaling village of Koloa, commenced production. Laborers from Europe and Asia immigrated to the island, seeking work in the sugar cane fields. The sugar industry flourished, becoming an integral part of the economy of the island.
In 1893, a greedy group of Americans seized control of the islands from Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani. The overthrow of the queen was the first act in a series of events that led to the United States claiming the islands and eventual statehood.
Kauai is home to Mount Waialeale, the wettest spot on the planet. Constantly wrapped in shrouds of misty clouds, Mount Walaleale, stands at an elevation of 5,148 feet. Mount Waialeale, which in the Hawaiian language means “overflowing” or “rippling” water, is the second highest point on the island. Records maintained since 1912, indicate that Walaleale receives an average of 426 inches of rain each year. In 1982, a record 683 inches of rain broke all records.
Kauai, known as the “Garden Isle” is home, to a diverse population composed of many different races. The spectacular coastline and sparking beaches attract visitors from around the world, making tourism the primary economic driving force on the island.