This introductory chapter discusses Hawai‘i as a Pacific crossroads. The country became an economic junction for the West and the East, beginning in the late eighteenth century and continuing into the next, as the Europeans and the Americans engaged in the fur trade and whaler reprovisioning with the Chinese. By the mid-nineteenth century when the Native Hawaiian population declined, Hawai‘i had turned into a strategic crossroad for nations seeking global power. For instance, American expatriates involved in the country's plantation economy exerted increasingly greater economic and political influence. They overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy when the U.S. government annexed the islands.
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