Second Decade keeps marching along! Episode 4, “Hawaii,” went live on Sunday evening and has by now appeared on iTunes and your other podcast aggregators. The show isn’t very old, but if I do say so myself I think “Hawaii” is my best episode so far. Give it a listen, you may learn something you didn’t know about the fascinating history of the Hawaiian islands during the 1810s.
Second Decade is on iTunes, here; it’s on TuneIn, here; you can access it directly on the Libsyn page for it, here; or, perhaps the easiest way, click this link for an embedded player that will open in your browser.
In Episode 4: Hawaii, two worlds are about to come into collision: the kingdom of Hawaii, which was unified at the very beginning of the Second Decade by King Kamehameha I after a 30-year cycle of wars and political upheaval, and the religious evangelical world of Protestant New England. The missionaries that arrived on Hawaiian shores in March 1820 aboard a tiny ship called the Thaddeus had survived one of the most epic sea voyages of the century, but they found themselves strangers in a strange land whose people had just thrown off a repressive medieval social and religious system that had governed their culture for centuries. It was a moment of maximum opportunity for the missionaries, but they weren’t quite the saints they thought themselves to be.
The history of Hawaii in the 1810s has fascinated me for years. Like many others I was introduced to it from the work of novelist James Michener, whose 1959 tome Hawaii was made into a movie in 1966. I used some of the same source material for this episode that Michener used to write his book more than half a century ago, but our perspectives on the material couldn’t be more different. This episode also draws on some research I did at the Massachusetts Historical Society in 2014.
Listens and downloads of Second Decade are steadily rising with each installment! Thanks to everyone who has heard and shared the show.