Nickname - The Garden Isle

Size: Kauai is the fourth largest of the Hawaiian Islands, with a land area of 555 square miles. It is 33 miles long and 25 miles wide.Kauai History
Highest Point: Mt. Kaluaikini, 5,243 feet
Miles of Shoreline: 90 miles
County Seat: Lihue
Flower: Mokihana
Color: Purple

Introduction: The oldest of the eight main islands, Kauai is by far the greenest of the Hawaiian Islands. At its very heart, Mount Wai‘ale‘ale, is the wettest spot on Earth, with an average rainfall of 500 inches a year. Gazing at the time-etched mountains with tumbling waterfalls, lush tropical foliage and sun-drenched beaches, it’s clear to see why Kauai is called The Garden Isle.

Menehune: Theories differ as to how and when Kauai, Hawai‘i’s oldest populated island, was first inhabited, but popular are fables regarding the “menehune”-—a mysterious race of “small people”—who sailed North from Tahiti. Short and squat, the menehunes were seldom seen and worked only at night. In a single night, they would perform prodigious works and accept in payment only a single shrimp per worker. Among the construction projects attributed to them are the Menehune Ditch in Waimea, which indicates a knowledge of stonework not seen elsewhere in Hawai‘i and the Alakoko Fishpond.

Introduction of Foreigners
It must have been quite a surprise in 1778, when a slight Englishman wearing white breeches and a blue coat with brass buttons sailed his huge ship, the Resolution, into Kauai waters. It was Captain James Cook, whose ships’ sails were similar to the draped banners of tapa cloth that Hawaiians hung from their own masts in honor of one of their primary gods, Lono. Thus, Cook was accepted by the Hawaiians as the reincarnation of their long-disappeared god, Lono.

Kamehameha’s Attempt on Kauai
As the 18th century drew to a close, warring chiefs fought for control of the islands, often using the newfound weapons, guns, and foreign advisors. By 1796, Kamehameha the Great controlled the entire Hawaiian chain except for Kauai and Ni‘ihau.

Kamehameha’s attempt at assault on Kauai failed twice, first due to a storm at sea which killed many of his men, and second, years later, when an epidemic decimated his troops. In 1810, Kauai was finally won by negotiations and a little deceit. Kaumuali‘i, the King of Kauai, agreed to give his lands to Kamehameha as long as he, Kaumuali‘i, remained the island’s king. Kamehameha’s son and heir, Liholiho, sailed to Kauai and invited Kaumuali‘i aboard his vessel for dinner, suggesting he leave his warriors ashore. Kaumuali‘i agreed and the ship sailed for Oahu during the meal. From that moment on, the King of Kauai was a prisoner.

Missionary Settlers on Kauai
Just as Kamehameha’s rule was late to come to Kauai, so too, were the missionaries, arriving in 1820 to convert the heathen. The Reverend and Mrs. William Harrison Rice were the first permanent missionaries to settle on Kauai.

There have been a handful of prominent and influential non-Hawaiian families who have set their imprint upon Kauai over the years, and the Rice family must certainly be counted among them. Others would include the Wilcoxes, Fayes, Doles and Isenbergs, who found Kauai a loving home. The Reverend Rice died young at age 48 and of his offspring, it was his middle child of five, William Hyde Rice, who had the greatest impact on the Island of Kauai. Like his father, William Hyde Rice spoke fluent Hawaiian and at an early age began to amass his fortune. In 1872, he formed Kipu Plantation and Lihue Ranch.

The Monarchy of Hawai‘i
Rice loved politics, serving eleven years in the State House of Representatives in the 1870s and 1880s, one of the only three Caucasians to be elected to a predominately Hawaiian legislature. In 1891, he was appointed Governor of Kauai by his dear friend, Queen Lili‘uokalani. When the monarchy ended in 1893, with the house arrest of the Queen, Rice adapted easily, serving his childhood friend Sanford Dole, who was named President of the new republic.

Kauai’s beauty has long been a favorite of Hollywood and has served as the scenic backdrop for many movies, including Jurassic Park, Blue Hawaii, South Pacific and From Here to Eternity. Major resort areas are Po‘ipu, Kalapaki Beach, Wailua-Kapa‘a and Princeville. Kauai is one of the gems in the crown of Paradise.

The Wright Company