My generation, or perhaps the one preceding mine,
has been the first to engage, under the leadership of
the exact sciences, in a destructive colonial warfare
against nature. The future will curse us for it.
ERWIN CHARGAFF, the father
of molecular biology
The first European to enter the Kingdom of Hawai'i was Captain James Cook. He landed on the west side of the island of Kaua'i in January 1778. Cook was already several years into his third exploratory voyage around the Pacific as commander of two British ships, the Resolution and the Discovery. Of all the Pacific island nations he had visited, Hawai'i, he found, was a place of incomparable beauty and abundance. His journals were not usually effusive, but on his first visit to Hawai'i he wrote that the flowers “sent forth the most fragrant smell I had any where met with,” the taro was “the best I ever tasted,” the sweet potatoes were the largest, the canoes were “shaped and fitted with more judgment than any I had before seen,” and the people were “open, candid, active… and traded on the most favorable terms of any in the Pacific.”
That was probably the last time Hawaiians and Westerners dealt with each other on anything like equal terms. Following