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From King Cane to the Last Sugar MillAgricultural Technology and the Making of Hawaii's Premier Crop$
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C. Allan Jones and Robert V. Osgood

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824840006

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824840006.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Birth of an Industry—to 1875

Birth of an Industry—to 1875

(p.1) 1 Birth of an Industry—to 1875
From King Cane to the Last Sugar Mill

C. Allan Jones

Robert V. Osgood

University of Hawai'i Press

Hawai‘i’s sugar industry began in the early 1800s, and its first commercial plantation developed on Kauai in the 1830s. The California gold rush of the 1850s, as well the decline of the whaling industry and the U. S. Civil War, provided incentives to increase production and export of sugar, molasses, rice, and other agricultural products. In response, the sugar industry expanded throughout the islands, increasing its demand for labor. However, the steady decline of the Hawaiian population forced plantations to recruit immigrant labor, especially from China and Japan. Productivity increased as a result of more productive sugarcane varieties, agricultural practices and more efficient milling and processing equipment. The industry also took a leading role in negotiation of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1876, which eliminated most tariffs between the United States and the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, setting the stage for rapid growth of the industry by increasing sugar prices and by reducing the costs of imported manufactured goods.

Keywords:   Reciprocity Treaty, immigrant labor, irrigation, tariffs, Civil War

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