Stage 6– Binder

“The History of Hawaii’s Sugarcane” maps out the amount of land sugar cane plantations encompassed from the 1830s when sugar cane was first introduced to the islands until 1970 when the last plantation ceased production. The map provides a lot of background information about Hawaii’s sugar production, but it would have been good to put Hawaii into conversation with other sugar producers. Hawaii rose in importance for sugar production as Cuba (previously the largest sugar producer) was at war for independence and fell as beet sugar production grew in prominence.

This look at Hawaiian sugar production highlights how poorly workers were treated in the first section, while the maps illustrate how plantations pushed the boundaries set for them by the government. These two sections could have been tied together better by discussing other ways plantation owners violated government regulations with workers or by mapping more of the workers discussed in the text.

 I really liked how Hawaii’s history as a US territory (Hawaii did not become a state until 1959) was interwoven with the rise of sugar production on the island. Incorporating these different elements helps to give a clearer picture of how sugar production on Hawaii was a piece of the US’s attempts to become an imperial power. The explanation for why sugar production in Hawaii fell could have been fleshed out more, but the map of the current land uses over former plantations helps to show how urbanization and tourism replaced the space for plantations.

The maps of the Koloa and Lihue plantations were really good to see how production changed over time. These specific examples gave a close look at the changes in the sugar production industry, although an explanation of why these two plantations would have been beneficial. The irrigation ditches map did not fit in the best. It could have been good to instead include a map showing all the sugar plantations throughout the islands in order to more widely contextualize sugar production. The final map of sugar production today would have been more effective with a key since the colors are not explained very clearly.

 Overall, this map effectively describes the rise and fall of sugar production in Hawaii and shows how plantations pushed the boundaries set for them in order to maximize profits. The use of images to show the workers highlights the impact of Hawaii’s sugar production on individuals.

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