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The IslandThe guide was updated:Like its fellow Hawaiian islands, Kauai is shrouded in fantastical mystery. As the oldest of the islands, its legends run parallel to Kauai’s wonderful history.
The most popular of the legends introduces the Menehune, a mythical race of dwarfs who hid from the sight of human beings in the lush forests and hills of Kauai. They were said to be talented craftsmen, constructing Kauai’s aqueducts and fishponds in unseen swiftness. Hawaiians continue to show due deference to the Menehune, as the fishponds like Alekoko are often referred to as Menehune Fishpond.
During the era of Hawaii’s discovery by western explorers, King Kamehameha I was exercising his influence to unite the islands under one kingdom. Initially, Kauai and the neighboring island of Niihau withstood Kamehameha’s efforts, but Kauai’s King Kaumualii eventually agreed to join the Kingdom of Hawaii in peace.
Famed British explorer Captain James Cook landed on Kauai’s Waimea Bay in 1778—thus commencing Hawaii’s introduction to the world. Waimea Town features a statue of Captain Cook to commemorate this event. In 1835, as it was discovered that the Hawaiian Islands were optimal for sugar plantations, Old Koloa Town opened its first sugar mill. Many historical registries line the island as a result, including the Waioli Mission House and sites along the Koloa Heritage Trail.
Step onto the shores of Kauai and you’ve instantly become one with history.