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History of the Hawaiian Islands

Date: 1872
Overall: 238 x 154 x 23 mm, 0.4 kg
Medium: Cloth, leather, Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00006449
Related Place:Hawaiian Islands,

User Terms

    A book by James Jackson Jarves titled 'History of the Hawaiian Islands: embracing their antiquities, mythology, legends, discovery by Europeans in the sixteenth century, re-discovery by Cook, with their civil, religious and political history, from the earliest traditionary period to the year 1846".
    James Jackson Jarves was a young American writer and later art critic based in Hawaii from 1837 - 1848. The original edition of this book was written in 1843. Jarves was also the editor of 'The Polynesian', an English language newspaper based in Hawaii.
    SignificanceThis book by James Jarves records the European perception and state of Hawaii less than 100 years after Cook visited. Jarves did little research himself amoungst Indigenous Hawaiians but talked to other Europeans on the island or 'honest searchers after truth'.
    HistoryJames Jackson Jarves settled in Hawaii in 1837 at the age of 18 for health reasons. He was the son of a wealthy glass manufacturer but he himself seemed to have no great business acumen as business attempts in Hawaii failed. He was an enthusiastic writer and in addition to writing 'History of the Hawaiian Islands', Jarves also became editor of 'The Polynesian', an English langusage newspaper in Hawaii.
    King Kamehameha III commissioned the 'The Polynesian' as the "official voice of the kingdom" and kept Jarves on a five year contract as 'director of the Government Press'.
    The paper 'served as the principal vehicle for publishing all enacted laws and criminal codes as well as the policies of Kamehameha III and his successor, King Kamehameha IV.'
    There was criticsim of Jarves appoach at the paper in that;

    "Although government sponsored, the Polynesian was ideologically an American haven. Jarves's ethnocentrism ran through his journalism, and he was not afraid to use editorials to influence public opinion. Jarves upheld Western culture as superior and discounted the Hawaiian language as not worth preserving. He promoted Christianity, agriculture, and commerce; endorsed English as the language of instruction in schools; advocated for the institution of private land ownership--the event known as the Great Mahele--as the key to "preserving" the native Hawaiian population; and encouraged the creation of an American-style constitution for Hawai'i. Between government sponsorship and Jarves's editorializing, the Polynesian exemplified the many conflicts, contradictions, and tensions that characterized Hawai'i during this period."


    In 1851 Jarves moved to Italy with his family and remained there for 30 years. Whilst there he became an avid collector of Italian art and wrote extensively on its development.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: History of the Hawaiian Islands

    Primary title: History of the Hawaiian Islands

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