Right now, on the white-sanded beach of Kekaha in Kauai, you will experience many breathtaking moments like the intense blue of the Pacific, mouth-watering smell of the local barbecues, with slow and soothing sounds of waves. But if you really want to see the beauty of the place, then you should wait until sunset because only then you might see what most people aren’t aware of.
There is a forbidden island that no one is allowed to visit. What is that island, and what is the reason that humans are not allowed to visit it? There have been several attempts where people tried to enter the island, but they met the most unexpected fate that made them regret their decision. The story is non-fictional; you’ll see that in the real world, there are some places that are still out of human reach. Reaching Mars is possible, but not this place.
When you’re in Hawaii, you can find people wearing those beautiful garlands around their heads, tan surfers, and amazing views that make you want to stay for longer. When you know your vacation is about to end, there’s a very interesting history that revolves around this incredible island, of which only a few have a roundabout.
As time passed, the Hawaiian culture was lost due to colonization, never to be seen again. But among the beautiful huge mountains, there was one place that stayed hidden for centuries. This island survived everything but still didn’t allow any external human entry. But why? You’ll soon find out.
17 miles away from the coast of Kauai lives this forbidden island, which is also the smallest Hawaiian island. This island banned human entries some 150 years ago, and even today, nobody has been able to set foot on this island because of the fact that nobody is allowed to enter this island.
People gave it a name: the Forbidden Island. But what is the reason that we aren’t allowed to visit this place? What lies between those huge forests and mountains that we aren’t allowed to see?
As time passed, the story of the Forbidden Island grew and spread all around the world. Just imagine the curiosity and frustration among the people when they found out that, though we can reach Mars on Earth, there’s still one place that is out of our reach. This island became the mystery that was impossible to solve.
In movies, when Sherlock wants to solve some case, he goes to the scene to understand the depth of the situation, right? But this was the one place that neither had a start nor an end. There was no way to solve the mystery behind this Forbidden Island. But eventually, it was solved, and you’ll be surprised to see what all happened that made this place forbidden.
In 1800, a girl was born into a family of merchants. Who could have thought that this girl would soon change history? Elizabeth Mick Hutchison was born to change the world, and don’t forget that it was the time when women were considered a way to continue the family lineage. But she was different and became the Chieftess of Hawaii. Amazing, right? So, what role did she play in the story? All we can say at this moment is an important one.
Elizabeth was better known as Eliza. She grew into a beautiful woman, and at the age of 24, she married Francis Sinclair in 1824. Francis was captain of a ship, and their family started to grow. Eliza and Francis had six children, and the whole family started a new venture when they set sail for a new life and beginning in New Zealand.
In 1841, eight people stepped foot in the land of Maori. Even after moving so many times from one place to another, in the end, they settled in Pigeon Bay, where they built a farm through which they started to make money. Everything was going well for the Sinclair family, and the new cities seemed like the city of their dreams. But in the year 1846, things didn’t remain the same.
As we already told you about Francis’s profession, he was aware of the sea routes by heart. For the family’s supplies, he was the one who sailed for trade in different parts of the country. His eldest son started to show interest in sailing, and in no time, Eliza could see the father-son duo waving at her, telling her that they would be back soon. One day, Francis and his eldest son set for a voyage on their self-made ship, Jesse Miller.
But something happened that day. Francis and his eldest son left the shore with several other people, and the ship was filled with people. It wasn’t something new they were doing this time, as they had been doing this for all their lives. Everybody was on that ship for one purpose, which was to trade and buy family’s goods. But it seemed like the sea wasn’t in a good mood that day, and Jesse Miller crashed. Nobody survived but memories for their loved ones. At the age of 46, Eliza was now a widow.
The last cargo, which was with Eliza when this unfortunate event took place, shattered all her dreams. But things were only getting darker for her. Eliza was now left with her five children and the supply of the last cargo, and she wasn’t ready to take charge. But still, she had to move on. Determined, she was ready to change both her and her children’s lives, and it was time to toughen up her Scottish roots to come out.
Back in the 1800s, nobody saw a woman succeeding without her husband. Eliza was different, and she knew what was right for her. And what she did next was just extraordinary. People started to see her from a different angle. With five children by her side, Eliza started working on the farm in Pigeon Bay, which soon was thriving with happiness. She married off all her children and bought a ship for herself. She named her ship Bessie and was determined to make this work and swore to herself that she won’t ever let anything happen to Bessie. It was time to make history, and Eliza was ready to do that. What she did next was something extraordinary that changed the fate of the island.
Eliza married off her five children, and soon the children started having families of their own, and from five, the Sinclair family was now a big and happy family. With one farm, she was able to support her five children.
But now, when the Sinclair clan was more now a family of over 35 individuals, they needed more land to support everyone. And then Eliza decided that she will sell the farm and sail to the Pacific Northwest with her whole family and start anew. The new ship, Bessie, was ready to sail in the year 1863. The Sinclair family was on the ship, ready to sail for British Columbia, where they were hoping to acquire a big new land for the whole family.
After sailing the new ship to a new land, the family was excited and happy. But the Vancouver Island had something else planned for the family, and when they thought things would be easy, it turned out to be exactly the opposite. After reaching Vancouver Island, the family was surprised to see that the land was not actually land but filled with wilderness and undeveloped.
They weren’t expecting this, as the land wasn’t fit to be counted as a decent farm. Eliza didn’t lose hope; she came up with an idea. She thought of moving to California, but destiny had some other plans, and the family stepped into a place that nobody heard about. The place just came out in front of them as if it was waiting for them. Soon, the mystery around the Forbidden Island was solved, but if it was solved, then how come no one was able to enter the island? Was it really an island, or just an illusion of the family?
The Hawaiian islands are also known as the Sandwich Island, and the sea route was the safest back then for the ships to pass. Eliza took the same route, and without discussing with the family, she took a turn in the night and sailed her ship towards the south of Hawaii. Obviously, she was anxious about her decision, but that didn’t stop her from making the life-changing decision. She was confident that this would change her family’s life forever. Indeed, it did change a life, but in the most unexpected way.
When she arrived at this mysterious island, Eliza was just 63 years old. She was brave and took a decision which she thought would be better for her family. Eliza and her family were in Hawaii, looking at the place. The family realized this place was no California but something else. Eliza, who was looking at the sea, spotted another ship which was coming their way. It was the ship of King Kamehameha V, the ruler of the Hawaiian islands.
But then something amazing happened with the family. King Kamehameha V was just visiting the islands when the crew members spotted an unknown ship and notified the king. The king ordered the ship captain to take him to that island. King Kamehameha met Eliza and introduced himself. She asked about the island that was looking so mysterious to the whole family. The king told them, “This island is Niihau.” It was then the king asked if Eliza was willing to buy this island. She was surprised and happy that at last they could start anew. But it was just a start. We have no idea why Kamehameha V agreed on selling the island to Eliza in the first place.
In 1864, Elizabeth Sinclair bought the Niihau island from Kamehameha V for ten thousand dollars, which she paid in gold. But there was one condition that the king put in front of Eliza that changed the fate of the family and the island. The condition was tough, but still, Eliza was tired of traveling and agreed on that one condition. So what was the condition?
Kamehameha V sold the island to the Sinclairs and said, “Niihau is yours, but the day may come when the Hawaiians are not as strong in Hawaii as they are now. When that day comes, please do what you can to help them.” After hearing those words, she got a new purpose in her life. She and her family were more than happy to help people. Surprisingly, there were humans living on that small mysterious island, but what help was Kamehameha talking about?
The Sinclairs’ family settled into their new life on Niihau island. They knew what they promised to the king before purchasing the island, and Eliza made sure that the promise stays with the family. Soon, Elizabeth was chosen as a Chiefess by the native people of Niihau island. The Sinclair family worked very hard for the locals. They provided them with houses, that too free of charge.
The natives of the Niihau island weren’t aware of the outer world the way other countries were, so they welcomed the changes that were being brought by the Sinclair family. It wasn’t like they were imposing strict rules on the natives, but they asked the natives only thing was to attend church every Sunday, which wasn’t much of a task because due to colonization, the people were already introduced to Christianity.
After Christianity was introduced to these people, several missionaries stayed on this island for some time. After a few decades later, in 1893, the Hawaiian monarchy ended after the intervention from the American government.
While the American government was trying to impose statehood on the Hawaiian islands, the culture and traditions of these islands started to fade away. But the Niihau islands didn’t oppose their gates for outer people and remained hidden from the American government. The Sinclairs were able to stop the American government from entering the island as the island was private property. The family tried their best to make sure that things remain the way they were.
The family created a pressure that built a wall between the Hawaiian and the United States. It was in the 1930s when Niihau made a very dramatic proclamation that changed the history of Niihau island.
The island decided that it would not allow any American influence on the people and made sure that the island would completely be off-limits. The island was closed to all visitors. The decision was really made to protect the natives of the island. Back then, diseases like polio and measles were spreading like fire all over the world, and to save the natives from these diseases, they made sure nobody from the outer world entered the island.
After they cut off every connection with the outer world, Niihau was saved and was able to preserve its culture known as Kahiki. Unlike the other islands of Hawaii which surrendered themselves, Niihau fought for its independence. They knew how important their roots were, and Eliza was able to keep her promise she made to Kamehameha V. Today, Niihau is the only place in the world where the Hawaiian language is the dominant one.
It’s not like these Niihauans live differently; it’s just that they have their own way of living that makes them different from other people. Even in this place, many natives speak several other languages, and people don’t just rely on farming but look for job opportunities in the forbidden island and Kauai. They are aware of everything that has been happening in the world, but as they say, every coin has two sides, and just like that, the decision of staying away from the outer world has also affected them in certain ways.
When the natives decided to cut off every tie from the outer world and made sure no person from the outer world enters the property, they also cut off many opportunities like electricity. But that didn’t stop the natives, though they don’t have a facility for running water and electricity. They rely on other resources. They sustain the civilization on collected waters and produce electricity with the help of solar panels. In Niihau, every house has a solar panel attached to the roof. Amazing, right?
The Kauai is much more advanced than Niihau, and the people of Niihau know that for a fact. And this is why they know how to use the resources from their neighbor, Kauai. They get their weekly deliveries of groceries and other needs from parts of Kauai.
Though alcohol and tobacco are never included in these lists, as the Sinclairs have banned them officially, and guns too, though they have banned guns on the island, they are still fulfilling an outer purpose for somebody else because of the reason that this place is strategically in a very important position for the United States. The U.S. military has set up an army base near Niihau island, and because of that, several Niihauans serve in the U.S. army.
It’s not just that the general public isn’t allowed to visit the island, but even celebrities like Mick Jagger’s request was turned down when he wanted to visit the island. He even said that he won’t step on the island and will just take a look from above through his helicopter. But the Sinclairs didn’t change their rules for anybody.
Thanks to the Sinclairs who didn’t give up the island and kept their promise, which they made to Kamehameha V when they purchased the island, even today, the island is the same as the day it was bought in the 19th century. This place is left alone for a very good reason. [Music]”
Note: Due to the length of the text, it has been broken down into several paragraphs for easier reading.