Sugar and Population Growth
In 1875, 25 million pounds of sugar were exported. Just fifteen years later, exports were ten times that amount. Because sugarcane needs a great deal of water, more irrigation systems were dug. New ships were built to carry sugar across the Pacific to the mainland. More roads, bridges, and railroads were also needed. All this took money, and much of it came from non-Hawaiian businessmen. For example, Claus Spreckels, originally from Germany, did well in California making sugar from sugar beets. Then, he moved to Hawai‘i to create a large empire based in sugarcane.
Further growth was the story of the next years. People were needed now even more in the fields and sugar mills. People from Portugal came to Hawai‘i by the thousands and became new citizens. Many of them became plantation luna, or overseers. More and more Chinese and Japanese left their countries to come to the islands to work on the plantations. Over 15,000 people from those two countries alone came in thirteen years. More people came from other countries around the world. Hawai‘i was continuing to grow as the center of trade in the Pacific. The population was also growing as a mixture of different ethnic groups.