In early 1778, a British expedition under the command of James Cook stumbled upon a previously unknown chain of islands. In truth, Cook was surprised to find such islands so far north in the Pacific Ocean. He named the chain the Sandwich Islands, but they are known better by their native name: Hawaii. Cook landed first on the island of Kauai, and then proceeded to follow the chain to the south and west. He returned to the islands early the next year, stopping off at Kealakekua Bay in the district known as Kona.
Chief Kalani, ruler of Kona, met with Cook on board the Resolution. Facts about the meeting are muddled in history. What happened after Cook left was important. Kalani was struck by disease, as were all those who accompanied him on board the British vessel. Many died, including his cousin Kamahemahe. From the chief, the disease spread across Kona. Cook was blamed for the sickness, with many priests insisting he brought a curse down upon them. When cook returned a month later to repair damage to his ship sustained during a storm, the reception was less than hospitable. Cook had hoped to trade with the natives, instead he barely escape the island with his life. The attack forced Cook to sail northwest, making landfall on Maui.
Here, the ‘King of Maui’ as Cook styled him, Kahekili II proved a far more hospitable host. Illness was on Maui, brought from trade with Hawaii. The Maui King had a great deal of interest in the British, and especially the ships. With ships like the Resolution, he could hope to crush the kingdoms on Hawaii. Should any one of those kingdoms grow to dominate the island, they could sweep across the archipelago, bringing all of Hawaii under one ruler.
Upon completing repair to his ship, Cook departed the Sandwich Islands, with a report of a rich paradise in the middle of the ocean, as well as an ideal port of call for transoceanic voyages. Maui would receive favorable mention, and would be a port of call in Cook’s Fourth Voyage. Hawaii would be mentioned as well, but less favorably.
2) House of Kiwala’o
A year following contact with the strange outsides, King Kiwala’o attempts to reunify the island and claim the title of Ali’i Aimoku of Hawaii, vacant for four decades. With sheer numbers, Kiwala’o managed to defeat Keawemauhili in March of 1794. The Battle at Waipio Valley, Kiwala’o lost many soldiers, so many so that he had to withdraw from the campaign for more than a year. Kiwala’o attempted to find allies in Maui, but the King of Maui had no interest in a fight for the Big Island. If anything, he worried that the island would be unified under one King, and then turn on his own domain.
Attempts to land on Maui were repelled, partly thanks to British advisors that arrived in 1792. The Kingdom of Maui was learning from the newcomers, not only how to build mighty ships, but the tactics of warfare prevailing in Europe. Kiwala’o’s native tactics were unsuccessful in forcing Maui to aid him. If anything, he lost more on the landing than he could hope to gain. Kiwala’o retreated across the Maui Strait to Kona, to prepare for another campaign to unify the island.
By 1797, Kiwala’o defeated all his opponents, with the exception of Keoua Kuahuula, the King of Kohala. Kohalan and Hawaiian armies met in battle near Mauna Kea Volcano. The results of the battle were less than stellar. Overall, the forces of Kiwala’o carried the day. However, Kiwala’o did not live to see victory, as he was killed in combat on the slopes of the volcano. Keoua’s forces were battered bad enough that he was forced to end any designs he might have had on Hilo. Thus, in the Year 1800, the island of Hawaii found itself divided into two Kingdoms; that of Hawaii (Kona-Kau & Hilo) in the south and east and that of Kohala in the north. Any dreams of uniting the whole island chain died with Kiwala’o. By the time his heirs were strong enough to pick up his mantle of unification, the outsiders had returned in force.
3) Maui Ascendant
In 1786, the island of Maui received more visited from distant lands. French explorer Jean Francois de Galaup arrived on Maui after departing Easter Island. He heard tales of Cook’s expedition, and of the hostility of Hawaii compared with the hospitality of Maui. De Galaup attempted to forge a deal with Kahekili II, an early attempt to annex the island, with dismal results. Future French attempts to gain a foothold in the islands would focus on Hawaii itself. In 1790, American fur traders, seeking seal, sea otter and other maritime furs, arrived on Maui, where natives managed to steal the ship’s cutter. Attempts to regain the boat resulted in a native village being reduced by the ship’s gun.
In 1792, a British expedition under the commander of George Vancouver arrived on the island. After dealings with the French and Americans, the Mauians were weary of outsiders, even more of Cook’s people. Vancouver brought with him not ill intentions, but gifts, including several head of cattle. The Big Island would have made far better country for cattle, but Cook’s reception, as well as ongoing warfare, gave zero chance of a landing occurring there. Despite this, a few Hawaiians attempted to contact Vancouver while he was anchored off Maui.
Along with cattle, Vancouver brought along several advisors who expressed interest in visiting the islands. The British captain was hesitant to fulfill requests for firearms. Kahekili II was a brutal conqueror. In the conquest of Oahu, some years before contact, he killed all the chiefs who opposed him, and used their bones in the construction of houses. Not only was he brutal, but ambitious. Those aged for the day, he still had designs on furthering his control over Kauai (his brother was consort to the Queen of Kauai) and of conquering Hawaii. During the wintering on Maui, the Mauians learned much from the British, and did eventually obtain a small supply of muskets.
A trade treaty was signed between the King of Maui and the British government. The British had much to offer the Maui. Over the course of the next ten years, several aging merchantmen were delivered. These were old, and obsolete by European standards, but mighty ships in the eyes of the Mauians. These ships were put to use in the islands’ own trade. By 1825, the ships were venturing as far as China, where demand for was hard to satisfy. So much so, that by the 1830s, Sandalwood trees were growing scarce on Maui. Along with trade goods from across the Pacific, the merchantmen brought back many exotic diseases that would ravage the Mauian population for decades to come.
The islanders also had a love for nails. These simple items in the eyes of the British were almost worth their weight in gold. The Mauians did not use them to hammer wood together, but instead used them in more ingneious ways. Fish hooks, blades and even the tips of spears became the new use for these bits of iron. What did the Mauians have that the British could want in return? A resupply stop in the middle of the empty North Pacific. That, and land. In exchange for goods, the King of Maui granted land to the British. The British desired locations on Oahu, particularly Honolulu. There, a number of whaling stations popped up over the decades. Along with ocean front property, the British gained lots of forest, where the valuable Sandalwood tree grew. Unlike the Mauians, who stripped the forest bare, the British brought in their own foresters, with centuries of experience in maintaining Britain’s limited woods.
Along with the trade of goods, the trade of ideas flowed into Maui. Behind the British Captains and Diplomats came the Missionaries. Anglican missions opened up schools and began to teach the Mauians how to read and write. Most of this was done in English, though the Mauians did develop a written language for their own language, using the Latin alphabet. Education was one of the positive effects of the missions, but only one of a few. Missionary priests were quite appalled by the lack of modesty among the natives, as well as made a concerted effort to stamp out what they saw as heathen practices. Worse than the British Missionaries were the American ones, far more evangelized than their British cousins. The conversion of Maui to Christianity was a slow process, taking the better part of a century before many of the old ways were largely abandoned.
4) Tropical Gulag
With Kahekili, and later his heir Kalanikupule, casting eyes towards taking more control of Kauai, the Kauaians were in desperate scrapes. With the death of Queen Kamakahelei, her son Kaumualii became King of Kauai. With a new trade in sandalwood to China, Maui sought more of the wood to sell for Chinese goods. Kauai had its own groves of Sandalwood trees, and instead of allowing Kauai its own trade, the King of Maui decided to make them his own. Maui’s first attempt in 1809 was called off due to an epidemic raging through Kalanikupule’s army, claiming many warriors.
Before Maui made the attempt on seizing direct control over Kauai, a rather fortuitous event occurred. In 1815, a ship owned by the Russian-American Company wrecked off Kauai, survivors making it to the island. These were like the outsiders that arrived off Kauai decades previous, and have made many voyages to the Hawaiian Islands since. Kaumualii welcomed the foreigners, and attempted to communicate with them. A few in Kauai had learn the English language, which proved of little use to these new foreigners. A few of the Russian sailors had some grasp of English, and a long, protracted negotiation was entered.
During their time on the island, the stranded Russians (as well as other nationalities under contract) built a small fort. This later evolved into Fort Elizabeth. In late 1816, Kaumualii signed a treaty with the Russian-American company, which he believed was an alliance with this powerful and distant land. In the terms of the treaty, Kauai became a Russian Protectorate, and would turn out to be not as equal as the King believed. Along with Fort Elizabeth, the Russians constructed Fort Alexander on the northern coast of the island. Situated on Hanalei Bay, Fort Alexander soon became the chief port for the Russian import-export business. This base allowed the Russians to extend their claim westward as far as Midway and Wake. Fort Alexander also became home to Russian whaling stations and a few fishing vessels.
At first, the alliance was great for Kauai. Along with Russian forts and guns, Russian soldiers garrisoned these installations, and Kauaian warriors were trained in the European style of warfare, including the use of muskets. The Russian-American Company kept a tight control over powder and ammunition. The Russian brought outside trade as well. The Russian-American Company was foremost interested in the hides of marine mammals, which they ruthlessly hunted across the northern Pacific. For additional profit, the Russians, instead of the Mauians, extracted the sandalwood from Kauai, virtually eliminating the tree from Kauai and Niihau.
When fur began to dwindle, the Company’s position in Kauai was saved by the Sandalwood tree. The incense extracted from the tree was of great value in China. With both the British and Mauians trading in the wood, why should Russia not profit from it as well? Russia did not have the same level of experience in managing forests as the British, and stripped a few areas bare. To better manage the resource, the Company divided land into plantations amongst their own people. The King of Kauai was not pleased. To placate him, he was given a sizable quantity of nails as payment. To keep up with demand, the Russians began to press more of the Kauaians on to the “plantations”. When the native population was struck by a severe outbreak of small pox in 1836, a new source of labor was sought. The Russian-American Company began to import various peoples the Tsar’s regime deemed undesirable for penal servitude.
Along with sandalwood, the Russian grew a great deal of produce on the island. Much of this was slated for use in the Company’s operations in the frozen north. Some made it as far as the Russian Far East, but the slow wagon ride across Siberia limited just how far inland they could be distributed. Sweet Potatoes turned out to be one of the more popular native crops with the Russian colonists.
The culture of Kauai began to shrink at the influx of nationalities from across the Russian Empire. The surviving elite of the island found themselves speaking more Russian than their native language. The end of Kauaian religion came in 1851, when the Russians forced the natives to convert to the Russian Orthodox Church. The last Kauai King, Kauamilii II lead a rebellion against the now Russian oppressors. The rebellion was crushed, and the last King executed on November 3, 1851. Following the uprising, the Russian Empire outright annexed the islands of Kauai.
5) Kingdom of Kohala
For the first decade of the 19th Century, the small Kingdom of Kohala had to contend itself with constant threats from the larger of the two kingdoms on Hawaii. Their salvation, if one could call it such, came in the form of the restored Kingdom of France. The Kohalan alliance with France was concluded after the first French merchants arrived on the island. France desired their own market in the islands. The treaty granted France sole commercial rights to Kohala, in return for a supply of firearms to the Kohalans. French advisors trained the Kohalan Army in the tactics of 19th Century European Armies.
The French established a resupply station at the northern reaches of the island. Here, the French grew pineapples and tried to establish orange orchards upon the island. These citrus fruits were destined for French ships crossing the Pacific. The French brought with them cattle and sheep, a flock of sheep were granted to the King of Kohala as a gift, to supply their ships with freshly dried beef and mutton. French whalers made their way to the island, and French merchants even managed to force their way into the sandalwood trade.
On the heels of the traders came the Catholic Church. French missionaries arrived on the island in drove. So strong was the converting force, that the King of Kohala converted and was baptized Louis Philippe in 1833, taking the same name as the King of France. Though Catholicism became the official religion around the same time, aspects of Hawaiian religion continued to linger for decades. Missionaries spilled over the border into the Kingdom of Hawaii, competing with Protestants from Britain and the United States for control of the islanders’ souls.
6) Fall of Hawaii
The Kingdom of Hawaii remained more isolated with outside trade than did Maui, Kauai or even the northern Kingdom on their own island. Hawaii had no influx of allies or trade. Instead, they received the HMS Forrester and its crew of mutineers. The ship appeared off the west coast of the island in 1814. After most of sailors landed, the Hawaiians captured the ship in the middle of the night, then the crew in the morning. These captives were put to work, in the hope they could provide the same benefits that the Hawaiian king’s enemies were receiving. British military discipline was bestowed on the Hawaiian Army and Navy, but modern weapons were still lacking.
As with Kohala, Catholic missionaries made great inroads into the Kingdom of Hawaii. They were not alone in this endeavor, as Protestants of various denominations competed for the souls of the Hawaiians. The Protestants, particularly the American missions, had a head start on the French. Though Kohala was converted earlier than Hawaii, when the Hawaiian King Kiwalao II converted to Protestantism, his advisors convinced him to outlaw Catholicism. In 1851, the decree was enacted, and Hawaiian Catholics faced persecution. Some fled to Kohala to escape danger.
The French ambassador in the island attempted to make Kiwalao II see reason and to enact a edict of tolerance. The King refused, and precede to expel the French ambassador. Though France was having its own problems back home, the French navy still had ships to spare. In October of 1852, three French frigates appeared off the island with four hundred marines. The ships pounded the fortifications around Kona, while marines stormed the beach and sacked the city. Kiwalao escaped to the interior of the island and attempted to rally his forces.
In the north, thirsting for vengeance from decades ago, the Kohalans joined their French allies in the invasion of Hawaii. Kohala was seriously outnumbered by the Hawaiians. The Kohalan Army was not alone in their invasion. French soldiers stationed in their kingdom joined the battle, bringing artillery pieces to play in the battle. Though not as well connected as its neighbors, Hawaii still managed to acquire their own firearms. These muzzle-loaders were little match against grapeshot.
Franco-Kohalan forces captured Hilo on January 2, 1853, from both land and sea. Again, Kiwalao escaped capture with part of his army in tact. For over a year, he fought the French in a guerilla war. In 1854, Kiwalao II believed himself victorious when the French began to pull back. He was wrong; the French forces were being readied for a joint Anglo-French invasion of Kauai after word of the war in the Crimea reached the island. Kiwalao never recovered his island. Losing both Kona and Hilo weaken him in the eyes of his own people. Kiwalao II, last King of Hawaii, was killed by poison. Be it one of his internal enemies, or the French, nobody knows. What is known is that Hawaiian resistance fractured after his death.
Guerilla activity continued on the island until the 1870s, by which time Hawaii was firmly in French hands, and open to French colonists. Kohala received little for their participation in the war. The King of Kohala justifiably felt betrayed when France took all the spoils of conquest. So much so, that the issue would continue to strain Franco-Kohalan relations for the remained of Kohalan independence.
7) European Wars
When word of war between Russia and an Anglo-French alliance reached the Hawaiian Islands, the Royal Navy was quick to act. With a sizable French force already on the island of Hawaii, Britain and France worked together to take the battle to the Russians in Kauai. The Russian-American Company was little match against the Royal Navy, and the Russian Navy barely existed in the Pacific. Royal Marines and French soldiers landed on Kauai in early May of 1855.
Their first target was the Russian port town of Fort Alexander. Various industries grew up around the fortress, including Sandalwood harvesters, whaling stations and smithies. The Russian garrison in the actual fortress numbered only a few hundred, along with a dozen aging artillery pieces. The Siege of Fort Alexander lasted only two weeks, short compared to the fighting in the Crimea. With his own men starving and most wounded, Russian General Putyativ surrendered to the British on May 30.
Fort Elizabeth, on the Waimea River, fell in early June without much of a fight. With no hope for reinforcements, the Russian commander fired a few shots to satisfy his honor, then surrendered to the much larger French force. With the Russian garrison defeated, many of the Kauaians celebrated what they saw as their liberation. The hated oppressors were vanquished. A rash of violence against Russian settlers, whether they came to the island by choice or not, was quickly quashed by the occupying Anglo-French forces.
Kauai was not the only Russian possession to fall during the Crimean War. In September of 1855, the HMS Peregrine landed its contingent of Royal Marines on Wake. At the time, the island was uninhabited. The only proof that humans ever stepped foot upon the island were the bones of long dead whales. The Marines had little to police on the island. After running up the Union Jack over an empty pier, they re-embarked on their frigate and sailed onwards.
The Crimean War was not the end of the Russians in the Hawaiian Islands. When the peace treaty was signed in Paris in 1856, the British turned Kauai, and Wake, back to the Russians for concessions in the Japanese trade. Opening Japan to British goods was not London’s only motivation in giving Russia back their tropical paradise. It was all about Balance of Power; Russia was allowed back on Kauai to help balance out the French on Hawaii. Had Russia been permanently evicted, it would only have been a matter of time before France and Britain fought over control of all the islands. That was theory back in London, at any rate.
For the Kauaians, the return of the Russian-American Company was not welcome. As many of the Kauaians as possible tried to flee with the British, even to the point of clinging to the last Royal Navy ship as it departed. For their welcoming of liberation, the Russians enacted a severe punishment against the remaining native population of the island. Those known to have collaborated with the British and French found themselves deported from their homeland, mostly to destinations in Alaska and on Hokkaido. A few, lucky Kauaians were simply exiled to Niihau to tend flocks of Russian sheep on the island.
8) Sugar Islands
Sugar cultivation existed on the Hawaiian Islands long before their discovery by Europeans. The sugar industry itself did not start until a year after the Crimean War ended. The French were the first to try large scale plantations on the island. France itself had far closer, and cheaper sources of the sugar, but there was always a market to be had. The United States had little in the way of its own sugar production capacity, and ports along its west coast, especially San Francisco welcomed Hawaiian sugar. Along with sugar, the French imported new crops to the island. In 1857, the first coffee plantation was established in the hills east of St. Charles, the French colonial capital built on top of a sacked Kona.
Hawaiians soon found themselves dispossessed of their land. The French administration parceled these lots out to French colonists, as well as a few Kohalans. The Hawaiian people began to suffer the same exploitation as their land. With so many landless islanders, the French had themselves a pool of cheap labor. Working the Hawaiians to death was not France’s only interest. In the 1860s, a new type of missionary arrived in the island; the civilizing missionary. The French believed it their responsibility to civilize the islands, as they were civilizing the Indochinese. To the colonist, to be civilized meant the same thing as to be French. Hawaiians were forced to conform to French normalcy, including speaking a civilized tongue. Being but a protectorate of the French, Kohala did not suffer the direct oppression of their southern neighbors. This did not stop a select few Kohalans from seeing which side of bread was buttered, and to adopt French habits.
As the Sandalwood trade grew tighter with ever diminishing supplies, despite the best efforts at forest management, both Britain and Russia took up the sugar habit. The British began to spread their own sugar plantations across Oahu in the 1860s, much to the anger of the King of Maui. Oahu was still nominally part of the Kingdom, but as more and more colonists came in from across the sea, the island started to look less native. Ironically, the largest source of immigrants was not Britain, but rather India. Sugar is a rather labor intensive crop. To satisfy this demand, the British imported indentured laborers from their colony in India. Between 1860 and 1880, some twenty thousand Indians made themselves at home in Victoria, and the surrounding cities.
As the British presence expanded, so did their settlement. The British soon overran Honolulu Harbor, building on top of Waikiki the city of Victoria. As the years passed, the relationship between Britain and Maui gradually slanted in favor of Britain. The Mauians protested and even attempted to resist British colonization of Oahu. Maui had little to offer in payment except land. In 1871, using a little gunboat diplomacy courtesy of the Royal Navy, Britain convinced Maui to cede to them the island of Oahu as payment for all debts incurred. With the island legally theirs, the British preceded to relocate the surviving natives of Oahu to one of the other islands of Maui.
The Russian-American Company jumped on the sugar bandwagon as the Sandalwood industry collapsed on Kauai. Russia itself, save for territory along the Pacific, had far cheaper sources of sugar. Even with protectionist efforts, Kauaian sugar was still prohibitively expensive. Instead of selling the bulk of its produce to its own country, the Russian-American Company followed the French example and sold it to the Americans. Importation to Canada was blocked by Britain’s own sugar interests. The Russians had ample sources of penal labor to work the sugar fields. With 70% of the pre-Crimean War native population exiled or deported from Kauai, the Russians brought in their own criminals and malcontents to work the fields.
9) Fortress Oahu
In the 1880s, as the Royal Navy’s presence in the Pacific Ocean continued to increase, engineers took their first serious look at Pearl Harbor. At the time, the harbor was not much more than a swamp, too shallow for ships to enter. Dredging of the harbor’s entrance began in 1887. On both sides of the entrance, the British built a pair of fortresses, with three hundred millimeter guns hauled all the way from distant foundries to guard the harbor. Coaling stations were the first installations to be erected inside the harbor.
On Muko Island, the British build an even larger fort to not only defend the harbor, but to serve as headquarters and barracks for Pearl Harbor. Some envisioned Oahu transforming into an eastern Pacific version of Singapore. With these two bases, the British hoped to dominate an ocean that was half a world away from Britain. Deepening the harbor took millions of pounds and some in Parliament questioned if it was a worthwhile investment, with a perfectly good harbor at Victoria. The new base also sent the message to the King of Maui that the British were on Oahu for keeps. From here, the Royal Navy and Marines could protect British subjects and business interests.
Changes were coming on Maui as well. A written Constitution was drafted in 1886, by a select group of Mauian Nobles as well as British advisors. The Constitution established a parliament designed along the British model. Citizens were empowered with the franchises solely based on wealth. This limited the selection of members of parliament to the wealthy elite of the natives, as well as naturalized Europeans. Seeing the wealth limit set would give the foreigners too much power, the King lowered the requirement, allowing more of his own people to vote. At first, the franchise was limited to the island of Maui. By 1900, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe with its minute population, were allowed to vote based on their wealth.
The 1886 Constitution also granted a great deal of protection to the Mauian sugar industry. Macadamia nut cultivation increased as well. As Maui gained more contact with the outside world, its trade increased as well. Each year, a greater percentage of the island’s cultivation was given over to cash crops for export. Though the Protectorate Britain held over the kingdom prohibited its own foreign policy, Maui still did a great deal of business with American merchants and traders. In 1890, Mauian farmers purchased a number of coffee plants from the French in St. Charles. When the French showed no interest in purchasing back the grown product, the Mauians shipped their coffee to American ports along the West Coast.
10) Ecological Invasion
When Europeans brought their livestock and pests with them, it was not the first such invasion of the Hawaiian Islands. That occurred between 300 and 1000 AD, when the first Polynesians are believed to have arrived in the islands. Humanity itself was an invasive species, as destructive as the pigs the Polynesians brought as livestock. Early settlers in the islands hunted several flightless bird species into extinction, including some rather large ducks. Habitat destruction played a role as the settlers cleared away the forests for fields of taro and sugar.
European introductions wrecked even more damage on the environment. The biggest of these pests were rats. Aside from destroying stores of grain, rats fed upon the eggs of various species that survived the first wave of human colonization. On Oahu, the British moved to combat rats by introducing a predator from India; the mongoose. It was hoped they would keep the rat population in check. Instead, they fed upon various species of birds, placing more pressure upon the endemic species. One India veteran commented that they should have brought the cobra instead.
On Hawaii, the French opted to introduce cats as a means to control rats. As with the mongoose, the cat quickly decided the native birds were easier prey. Feral cats quickly became as big a pest as the rats. Introduction of cattle and sheep had its own impact. Both British and French colonists cleared forests to make room for their grazers. A large portion of Oahu’s forest was cleared for the staples of British civilization. As bad as Oahu and Hawaii fared, Kauai was worse. First the Russians over-harvested the Sandalwood, then cleared cut portions of forest for cattle and sheep. Niihau, with little in the way of forests to begin with, was far better shepherd country.
In the course of the 19th Century, it is estimated that half the species that survived the Polynesians did not survive the Europeans. Even animals as benign as the honey bee impacted the environment, though nowhere as hard as the goat. By the 20th Century, portions of Kauai faced severe erosion problems, as well as depleted soil. Oahu and Hawaii, being ruled by nations with experience in maintaining a limited area of land, fared moderately better. Even the Kingdom of Maui did not escape environmental impact. The introduction of sheep and cattle into the kingdom gave it the same problems as the European colonies. Molokai faced its own erosion problems as goats stripped away vegetation from the drier half of the island. By 1900, western Molokai resembled Easter Island in terms of environmental degradation.
11) Hawaii and the Great War
In 1915, nearly a year after war was declared on the other side of the planet, a German expedition departed Samoa for the Hawaiian Islands. The fleet was little more than a destroyer squadron accompanying three cruisers and two thousand soldiers. On September 29, the German expedition encountered what passed for the Russian Navy off Kauai. The Russian naval presence in the islands was even more pitiful than the Germans’. Without losing a single ship, the Germans destroyed the outdated defenders of Kauai. Shortly after, German battalions were landed near the mouth of the Waimea River and lay siege to Fort Elizabeth.
The British and French were not idle once word that their enemies have arrived. The French were in a poorer position to do much about it, with their ships further south in Polynesia. The Royal Navy, however, had a permanent fleet based at Oahu, including two battleships. The British fleet sortied in the evening of October 6, and engaged the Germans the next day. Like the Russians, the German fleet was all but annihilated. Unlike the previous battle, the British did not sail away unscathed. Along with a German squadron, four British destroyers and a cruiser were sent to the bottom of the Pacific. Cut off from any hope of resupply, the Germans on Kauai had little option but to surrender. The Battle of Kauai ended any German designs on the islands.
In 1917, Russia was racked by two revolution. The Kauaians, as they were, were lukewarm towards the Russian Revolution. Few of the original Kauaians remained on the island after a century of Russian control. Most of those modern population came from across the Russian Empire, people the Tsar exiled over the years. In the past decade, a number of Bolsheviks were exiled to the island. When the second revolution came in November, the Bolsheviks on Kauai lead their own Red revolution against the Russian authorities. On January 3, 1918, the Bolsheviks established the Kauaian Soviet.
12) Workers’ Paradise
Following the collapse of the Russian Empire, the Royal Navy moved quickly to seize ports in Kauai, to prevent the Germans from moving in again. The German Navy in the Pacific was all but gone, and its key islands under the control of British Commonwealth forces. British control over the seas around Kauai relaxed after November 11, but quickly returned when Russia descended into civil war. Allies from the Great War intervened on the White Russians side in their attempt to destroy the newly established Russian Federate Socialist Republic.
On January 7, 1920, British and French forces landed on Kauai. They were met on the beach by a determined, but outnumbered foe. Fort Alexander fell on January 10, and a second landing near Fort Elizabeth captured the city on January 18. The Reds did not surrender, but rather took to the hills of Kauai in a guerilla campaign. The campaign would have been far more effective had Kauai had its original forest, along with the dense canopy as cover. Britain’s use of aircraft over the island allowed Red holdouts to be located. Reaching them, was another matter. Kauai lacked the extensive infrastructure that the British built on Oahu and the French on Hawaii.
The Anglo-French occupation ended in 1921, with the defeat of the White Russians. In 1922, Kauai was made an autonomous region of the Far East Soviet Socialist Republic, which included all of Russia’s Pacific holdings. Following the establishment of the Soviet Union, a number of the Reds’ enemies were exiled to the Republic, either to corrective labor camps in Kamchatka or Alaska. Kauai would not become part of the Gulag system. Instead, many of the Party’s leaders had dachas built upon the island. Kauai, like the Black Sea, was transformed into a holiday resort for the Soviet elite.
Not all was picture perfect on the island. Stalin’s drive for collectivization hit Kauai hard as all the sugar plantations were nationalized and collectivized. The same applied to pineapple plantations and the sheep ranches on Niihau. Collectivization caused famine across the Soviet Union, but Kauai felt the impact far less than the Ukraine. The islands’ low population kept it safe. The island did suffer from hunger, for half of its food was imported. When the State seized control of pineapple and sugar production, and diverted it to internal distribution, trade with the United States ceased. Failure to export sugar meant failure to import wheat. Moscow took extra care to make up the difference, especially with so many power players of the city spending a winter month or two in their tropical villas. The peasants and workers survived off the leftovers.
13) Cold Peace
The end of 1944, left Berlin conquered by the Allies, as well as Poland, Finland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria occupied by the Soviet Union. Czechoslovakia was divided, as was Germany. The USSR ended up occupying lands east of the Oder as well as a zone of Berlin. The peace that followed between Allies and Soviets was a cold peace. In the late 1940s, the Soviet Union began a large build up of its Pacific forces, including a fleet base at Kauai, as well as Airbases on Kauai and Niihau. Both side spent the 1950s on a massive spending spree in arms.
France began to fortify the island of Hawaii. In 1955, the island, including Kohala, were made an Overseas Department of France. Military installations generated a new source of income for the island, as well as a market for Hawaiian coffee, considered some of the finest in the world. France allowed the United States an air force base on the island. St. Charles Air Force Base sported the longest runway in the islands to date.
The Kingdom of Maui started construction of its own air force, purchasing surplus fighters from the United States, leftovers of WWII. The Mauian Navy consisted of gunboats constructed by the British. The Mauian Army used small arms from France and America, as well as French artillery pieces. Despite the origins of its hardware, the Mauian Armed Forces were trained solely by their British protectors.
Britain was not silent during the arms build up in the islands. The Royal Navy increased its presence at Oahu. Pearl Harbor was drastically expanded. A prudent step considering the U.S. 7th Fleet was allowed by London to move its headquarters to Pearl Harbor. A second USAF base was built at the British airbase on Muko Island. Two regiments of US Marines joined the division of British soldiers based on the island by 1956.
Late that same year, insurrection broke out in Maui. The revolution began in the pineapple fields of Lanai. Under the command of a Soviet educated George Hammer, the People’s Liberation Army made it his goal to overthrow the Mauian monarchy. The United Kingdom pledged itself to air the King of Maui in defending his Kingdom against the Red Menace. British words were fast, but actions from London moved at a more glacial pace. By the start of 1957, Revolutionary cells were on all the islands of Maui. On March 3, 1957, the rebels captured Wailuku, routing the Mauian Army. King James Kohiliho was forced to flee Lahaina for Victoria a week later as there was little to stop Hammer’s advance. The take-over of Maui was quicker than the British anticipated. Before the Royal Navy and Marines could set sail, George Hammer declared the Democratic Republic of Maui.
In January of 1958, the Royal Marines hit the beaches of Maui to restore James Kohiliho to the Mauian throne. Opposition on the beaches was fierce, and easily crushed by aircraft of the Royal Navy. The rag-tag People’s Air Force stood little chance flying WWII vintage aircraft against modern jet fighters, and was swept from the sky within two days. George Hammer and his Revolutionaries were forced to abandon Lahaina only a week after the British invasion began. Instead of collapsing, the Democratic Republic headed towards the hills of Maui, as well as launching gunboats from Molokai and Lanai.
The Soviets were not idle during the fighting on Maui. Nor were they going to stand by and let the Democratic Republic of Maui vanish. Soviet forces prepared to aid the rebels, starting with painting MiGs on Kauai in Revolutionary Mauian colors. The CIA learned of this ploy, they exposed it to the international community. The United States Navy sortied from British Oahu with plans to stop any Soviet intervention. The Soviet fleet in Kauai likewise sortied and steamed towards the 7th Fleet. As tensions rose, both side’s atomic forces went on high alert.
With the potential of a war on Maui spread to engulf the globe, the United Nations called for an emergency session. The UN drafted resolutions calling for a cease fire in Maui, as well as both the US and USSR fleets to stand down. The former was vetoed by the Soviet Union, while the later was vetoed by the United States, Britain and France. While the meeting took place in New York, Soviet paratroopers slipped past the American air patrols and landed on Maui and Molokai. On Molokai, the small British presence was pushed into the sea by the rebels, with the aid of the Soviets. In retaliation for Soviet intervention, Allied Forces marched into East Berlin, bringing the world one step closer to World War III.
15) Maui War
Open conflict between the United States and Soviet Union began on February 17, 1958, when the U.S. 7th Fleet launched its strike against the Red Navy steaming from Kauai. In one swift air and missile strike, the United States delivered to Russia its worse naval defeat in history, all but annihilating their naval forces. The Soviets were not without their own wins; bombers based in Kauai launched their own missiles at the U.S. Fleet, sinking the U.S.S. Gettysburg, as well as 3 destroyers.
Shortly after their sortie, British and French bombers flown out of their own respected islands pounded Kauai. Though they did not completely destroy Soviet air power in the islands, they did crater the runways bad enough to ground the Red Air Force. With British ground forces busily fighting in the Maui, it was up to the United States Marine Corps to neutralize the Red menace in Kauai. With both sides tied up fighting in Germany, only a single division of Marines was used for the invasion. The division was nearly lost before reaching the island.
Soviet defenses around the islands chewed away at the oncoming invasion, sinking three transports and killing thousands of Marines out at sea. Despite these losses, the Americans still managed to land on the island. The local Soviet commander, at the urging of his political officer, met the invasion at the beaches. U.S. and allied air power maintained air superiority over Kauai, and aided in pushing the Soviets back into the countryside. After a fierce four day battle, the American flag flew over Fort Elizabeth.
War outside of the Hawaiian Islands escalated to the point, that by March, both sides were well into strategic bombing campaigns of the other’s country with conventional weapons. Attempts at mediation by neutral powers, or compromises over Maui in the U.N. have been rejected by both sides. In 1958, the Superpowers were intent on slugging it out. Even embargoes against the warring states proved of little use, since these same states supplied those issuing the embargoes much of their manufactured goods.
The first atomic bomb used in the “Maui War” was dropped by the Soviet Union in Europe. Their limited assault destroyed logistical areas in Germany as well as NATO headquarters in Brussels. The War in the Pacific was brought to a speedy resolution by the American counterattack. Taking full advantage of being on the winning edge of the bomber and missile gap, the United States retaliated with overwhelming response, though not enough to destroy all the Soviet weapons. Seven American cities, as well as fourteen NATO cities were destroyed. The Soviet Union and its puppets lost one hundred seven cities, as well as nearly forty million dead. The United Nations condemned the US response as excessive.
Remaining Soviet forces in Kauai surrendered short after their own government collapsed. The destruction of the Soviet Union was met with a mixed reaction by the Kauaians. Many of the natives, whose great-grandparents were exiled, managed to return to their homeland. The land had changed greatly. No longer was Kauai a Polynesian island, but rather a Russian one. The immigrants were pleased to see the repression of the old system lifted, but the island’s economy depended greatly upon Party bosses vacationing in the tropical clime. Their money was soon replaced by American soldiers who garrisoned the island as a new provisional government was established.
With the Soviet Union in ruins, the Hammer of Maui lost most of his supply line. The British forced the Mauian King to grant amnesty to those revolutionaries who surrendered. This dwindled the Red forces in the island kingdom to the point that, by 1960, George Hammer and his diehard followers were trapped and killed by British and Royal Mauian forces. Though the Maui War caused a great deal of destruction around the world, the islands where it started survived with minimum damage. Not a single nuclear warhead was used in the island chain.
17) The Fate of the Islands
American occupation of Kauai turned the island from a communist vacation resort into a capitalist one. Though not as popular or beautiful as the other islands, Kauai offered a strange lure, one that allowed average Americans to live like Soviet Party Bosses. In 1976, The Republic of Kauai was established, in an economic union with the United States. Over a century of Russian rule left the island a shadow of its former self. In the 1980s, ecological restoration projects were attempted, in effort to return Kauai to its former beauty.
The island of Oahu remained a British colony, along with Gibraltar and the Falklands throughout the 20th Century. Its capital of Victoria, and especially Waikiki, attract millions of tourists each year. Tourist supplanted sugarcane as the island’s dominant industry. As British world power waned, the United State Navy’s presence in Pearl Harbor grew, until it was the premier American base in the eastern Pacific.
The Kingdom of Maui had its monarchy restored following the Maui War. In 1970, the islanders voted to keep their monarchy in a failed republican referendum. Maui has a multiparty parliamentary democracy, though the Communist Party is outlawed. Maui’s own economy continues to trail behind the British and French. Tourists flock to Maui, though the island has no international airport of its own.
The island of Hawaii has long since been an overseas department of the French Republic. By the 1950s, the Kingdom of Kohala was quietly brought into the French fold. Though deprived of their independence, the Kohalans were extended the rights of French citizens. The Kohalan King went into self-imposed exile on Molokai. The department’s capital of St. Charles is the third largest city in the island chain, behind Victoria and a second Hawaiian city, Hilo. Hilo’s population is largely composed of former French colonials from Indochina.