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Plantation Times

Plantation Days

Kohala Sugar Company 


Info taken from Kohala Keia written by Gary Kita, Sylvester Paalua, Edwin Sakai,and Samuel Soares


S.N. Castle and Dr. Mott-Smith visited Kohala in late 1862 to inspect the lands of Father Bond and those of his neighbor, Dr. James Wight, which were available for the proposed sugar plantation at the low price of $2.00 per acre.  A short time later it was decided to raise $40,000 in capital stock, with Father Bond and Dr. Wight receiving stock in exchange for their lands.  Thus, the Wights helped Father Bond found Kohala Sugar company


Kohala Sugar Company was incorporated on February 3, 1863, with G.M. Robertson as President, S.N. Castle as Vice President, Daniel Smith as Secretary and Auditor. Before the month was out, Castle had ordered the sugar mill equipment from Glasgow, Scotland, and Edward Hitchcock was employed as the first manager of the firm. 


Info taken from Kohala Keia written by Thomas Kaiawe


The story of Kohala Sugar Company’s early cooperation reflects a significant determination of a company devoted to progress despite discouraging situations encountered from the founding of the sugar mills to the exporting of their sugar products.  Perhaps, encouraged by its presence as an industry and depended upon by the people in the community, Kohala Sugar Company strived through the years with hopes for the future and yet at times was faced by virtue of uncertainty and despair.  


Kohala Sugar Company operated for 112 years and closed down in 1974.  



Chinese laborers were the first immigrant group to arrive in Hawaii for work on the plantations and numbered more than 50,000 between 1852 and 1887. 


Between 1885 and 1924, more than 200,000 Japanese immigrated to Hawaii as plantation laborers until their arrivals suddenly stopped with the Federal Immigration Act of 1924.


More than 16,000 Portuguese immigrants, many of them from the offshore islands of Madeira and the Azores, arrived in Hawaii from 1878 to 1911 to work the plantations.

The first Filipino plantation laborers arrived in Hawaii in 1906, most male and unmarried. By the industry’s peak in the early 20th century, however, Filipinos made up more than half of the sugar plantations’ labor force in the Islands. 

The first immigrant laborers from Okinawa arrived in the Islands in 1900, eventually numbering more than 25,000.


First large group of Korean immigrants arrived on the RMS Gaelic in 1903. A mix of men, women and children, they were mostly from small rural villages in Korea. 


Many of the first Puerto Ricans arriving in Hawaii in 1900 were out-of-work laborers from homeland coffee plantations destroyed by devastating hurricanes. 

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