In the century from the death of Captain James Cook in 1779 to the rise of the sugar plantations in the 1870s, thousands of Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) men left Hawai‘i to work on ships at sea and in na ‘aina ‘e (foreign lands)—in California, the Arctic Ocean, the equatorial islands, and throughout the Pacific Ocean. Beyond Hawai‘i tells the stories of these forgotten indigenous workers and how their labor shaped the Pacific World, the global economy, and the environment. Whether harvesting sandalwood or bird guano, hunting whales or mining gold, these migrant workers were essential to the expansion of transnational capitalism and global ecological change. Bridging American, Chinese, and Pacific historiographies, Beyond Hawai‘i is the first book to argue that indigenous labor—rather than ships, goods, and diseases—was the glue that held the Pacific World together.
Gregory Rosenthal is Assistant Professor of History at Roanoke College.
“Beyond Hawai‘i is a sprawling study that moves outward from the island chain of Hawai‘i into the vast stretches of the Pacific. Gregory Rosenthal’s use of Hawaiian-language source material gives voice to an indigenous working class that eludes other scholars writing in the field. The result is an excellent and highly original work of history that resonates with current debates about Hawaiian sovereignty and more broadly about the place of labor in nineteenth-century capitalist economies.”—David Igler, author of The Great Ocean: Pacific Worlds from Captain Cook to the Gold Rush
“Thoughtful and deeply sourced, Beyond Hawai‘i gracefully illuminates the aspirations and struggles of Hawaiian chiefs and laborers, and those of an entire Islander civilization navigating a global capitalist system. Through remarkable portraits of Hawaiians like Boki, Make, and Kailiopio, Rosenthal reconstructs complex motives and perspectives as voyagers tie together the world through an oceanic labor circuit.”—Matt K. Matsuda, author of Pacific Worlds: A History of Seas, Peoples, and Cultures