Pineapples Arrive in Hawaii

The pineapple, long a symbol of Hawaii, did not originate there. Even though Polynesians lived on Hawaii for a great many years, the pineapple is not native to the Hawaiian Islands. In fact, pineapples did not appear there until 1813. Don Francisco de Paula y Marin, a Spanish advisor to King Kamehameha, brought the famous fruits back with him.

The pineapple is originally to be found in Paraguay and in the southern part of Brazil. Natives spread the fruit throughout South American and Central America and into the Caribbean region, including the West Indies, where Christopher Columbus first found them. The pineapple's original name was anana, which meant "excellent fruit" in one of the Caribbean native languages. European explorers called it the "Pine of the Indies." When the fruit traveled to English-speaking countries, the word "apple" was added. (Historians aren't really sure why this happened. Many believe that it was to associate the "Pine of the Indies" with the "apple," another fruit that people really enjoyed. Nonetheless, the suffix "apple" stuck, giving us the English word pineapple.)

Columbus brought it, along with many other new things, back to Europe with him. From there, the tasty fruit spread throughout other parts of civilization. It was carried on sailing ships around the world because it was found to, like oranges, help prevent scurvy, a devastating disease that often afflicted sailors on long voyages. It was at the end of one of these long voyages that the pineapple came to Hawaii to stay. On January 11, 1813, pineapples were first planted there.

The familiar name of Dole came into the picture in 1901, when James Drummond Dole planted his first pineapples near Wahiawa. He also founded the Hawaiian Pineapple Company. Just six years later, he opened another cannery, in Iwilei. The pineapple industry was off and running.

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David White