Pineapple Imperialism – a History of Hawaii

Viewed as a microcosm of Manifest Destiny beyond the confines of the geographical limits of the continental United States, the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the US in the late 19th century marked the beginning of what we now consider the global American Empire. To the Hawaiian peoples, it was a clearly just as if not moreso a historic moment, albeit done for reasons of pragmatic acceptance of their minor power relationship in an ocean surrounded by much larger political and economic forces. The Hawaiian Islands, given their incredible strategic military location in the middle of the Pacific, would inevitably come under the sway of one of the surrounding powers. It was almost always less a question of if, but rather a question of when – and how.

Myth of the 20th Century – Episode 251 – Pineapple Imperialism – a History of Hawaii

— References —

– The Influence of Sea Power upon History, Mahan (1890)

– Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq, Kinzer (2006)

– Banana Imperialism – Central America and the Rise of the United Fruit Company, Myth of the 20th Century (2020) –

– Indigenous Continent: The Epic Contest for North America, Hämäläinen (2022)


7 Comments Add yours

  1. Rush YWNBAW says:

    Are we here to talk about bananas? Oh, that was last time


    1. EndOfCiv says:

      Thanks as always
      My favorite podcast. Been listening to you guys since 2016.


  2. Ray says:

    I got so excited seeing this title. I was just wondering the other day if they’d ever make this one, or if Nick was just being funny (he was hilarious in the banana episode).

    Promises made, promises kept 🙏🏻


  3. Veit says:

    Seems to me, the Atlantic interests strangling SA and Rhodesia is a similar action to the Hawaiian matriarch disposing of her surplus heiresses. Doesn’t exclude convergent Cold War motivations, either.


  4. Karl says:

    Wignat hours


  5. Joe says:

    At long last we finally (yet briefly) got to talk about the fucking pineapple! I’ve never felt so seen.
    One thing when it comes to Hawaiians and race is how for contemporary Hawaiians it’s mostly seen as a way to differentiate themselves from the mainland (or just White America). The actual pure Polynesian Hawaiian population is small and is mostly mixed to the point of being pretty much destined to be genetically forgotten. People will make a big point about using a few pidgin words here and there but it mostly seems rather pandering to a people that are basically powerless.
    Asians on the islands are welcome as they were also seen as fellow oppressed race under the White Man even though now it seems like you see mostly rich Japanese Hawaiians profiting and lots of native Hawaiian or Micronesian homeless walking around Waikiki. The only acceptable European ethnicity is to be Portuguese, if you’re a tanned white guy and say your last name is Silva you get a much warmer welcome than if you said it was Schneider.


  6. Torin McCabe says:

    There is a limitation to the “people just made mistakes” which is why Nick’s further perspective of “these are the the answers we should have explored” is so useful. Nick’s perspective does lead mistaking passive mistakes for active conspiracy; but the positive dimension is highly useful


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