The fact that this small Hawaiian island chain holds the most remote location in the Hawaiian archipelago, nearly 400 km as the crow flies, lends to an interesting migration history. Couple that with a rich culture that developed and is known for its incredible nautical and navigational feats.
Kauai’s history is both commemorative of and distinctly different from the other islands. Like the other islands, Kauai was originally inhabited about 1500 years ago by the same Polynesian adventurers who achieved their voyage on canoes when they first landed on the shores of the Big Island of Hawaii. 500 years later, a second wave of sea-canoe travelers migrated to Tahiti this time. It is from the arrival of the first Tahitians that today’s Hawaiian gods, belief structures and many traditions have evolved.
A name with a mysterious meaning
Kauai’s name has no particular historical meaning ;although, it is a word in the Hawaiian dialect but its meaning has been lost over the time. Despite the mystery behind the name “Kauai”, an important part of Kauai’s history resides in the preservation of the ancient Hawaiian dialect, before it was extinct, which differs distinctly from current accepted Hawaiian language.
Its discover, James Cook
European traders did not discover the islands until 1778, when James Cook found them and named them the “Sandwich Islands” after one of Cook’s expedition sponsors. Unfortunately, the interaction between Cook and the Hawaiians was not the most friendly, especially when Cook attempted to ransom a chief and was killed in the altercation. Before his death, however, Cook managed to introduce the Hawaiian Islands to the European world, bringing in new European travelers, traders and businesses.
A disrupted biodiversity but a remarkable nature
The island of Kauai is also a perfect example of biodiversity. Environmental Changes provoked by humans have caused new species to appear, although this has also probably caused others to disappear. Indeed, the majority of plants have been introduced by humans, as well as coconut palms. Yet nature seems to have been there forever, they had to go deep into the interior forests to go back to the past.
In terms of biodiversity, insects are often forgotten ! Out of the 10,000 species recorded on the island, more than three quarters are found nowhere else on earth.