The endless pursuit of wealth driven by determined businessmen led to Hawaii’s collapse as a monarchy.
The newly formed Hawaiian Fruit & Packing Company shipped its first cases of canned pineapple on November 13, 1895. The company was formed to compete with The Pearl City Fruit Company, whose products were helping the Hawaiian monarchy keep control. The shipment represented the successful aftermath of the overthrow of a monarch and changed the path of American history.
History of the Pineapple
The pineapple took an extended trip to reach the American West and eventually Hawaii. The fruit was cultivated and eaten by the ancient Aztecs in South America, where Spanish Conquistadors brought pineapple plants back to Spain. The fruit moved west and eventually made it to the North American Colonies. George Washington loved pineapples and came up with the pinery, a type of greenhouse for growing pineapples. As America became a country, wealthy Americans imported pineapples as a luxury item. Pineapple canning started in Baltimore with pineapples shipped to the cannery from the Bahamas so more people could enjoy them.
The Pineapple Business
By the late 19th century, businessmen began eyeing Hawaii and other Pacific regions for lucrative pineapple plantations. Sugar cane plantations had already been very profitable. However, the pineapple was several times more expensive, making it a lucrative crop worth the effort.
The ruling Hawaiian monarchy tried to nationalize the pineapple canning industry to combat foreign encroachment. If not for a coup d’etat, they might have succeeded.
For Hawaii, the pineapple canning industry is a shell of what it used to be. Major brands like Del Monte and Dole left because it’s cheaper to grow pineapples back in South America.