The Forbidden Island Of Hawaii: A Paradise On Earth Where We Still Live Like 200 Years Ago.

Would you ever have thought that in the advanced and hyperconnected civilization we live in today, there are still places that have remained cut off from time, all forms of “contamination” and modernity? If that seems unlikely to you, you have probably never been to Niihau.

Anyone who saw the word Hawaii would immediately think of marvelous seascapes, as enchanting as they are taken by tourism. In fact, this is the case in most cases, except for one island: Niihau. This island looks pristine, but it is not uninhabited. So why is it called “forbidden”? Its fascinating history can explain it to us.


image credit: Christopher P. Becker/Wikimedia

Forget the roads, restaurants, shops, tourist facilities, even electricity or running water: this is how people live in Niihau, completely devoid of anything that, near or far, could represent modernity. It’s no coincidence that, like the other Hawaiian Islands, this one also has its own nickname: Forbidden.

veil of mystery has been hovering for years around this emerged land, where the inhabitants have preserved the traditional local dialect and live in total autarky. Hunting, farming, and ranching are their livelihoods, and to understand why this is so, we have to go back to 1864.


image credit: 25kim/Flickr

It was that year that Elizabeth Sinclair-Robinson, a Scottish owner of a plantation in New Zealand, bought the island from King Kamehameha V for the equivalent of around $ 10,000. A sale which included a very precise condition: the woman had to preserve the indigenous culture, including the dialects and the customs, in order to maintain the history and the identity of a people over the years, elements which risked disappearing. in the future.


image credit: Francis Sinclair (1833-1916)/Wikimedia

Since then, every descendant of Robinson has done everything possible to honor the agreement with the king. For decades Niihau has been an almost mythical place, an island on which to come into contact with the most authentic Hawaiian culture, made up of increasingly rare activities, dances, traditions, and languages.

This was the case until the early 1950s, when foreigners were barred from entering Niihau due to the polio epidemic that was raging at the time. Anyone who did not live on the island was not allowed to enter it, which is why this earthly paradise became ” forbidden “. Once the health emergency was over, Niihau remained closed, literally closed to the public.


image credit: Christopher P. Becker/Wikimedia

Today, to visit the island, you need a personal invitation from the Robinson family themselves. For the inhabitants, on the other hand, this is not the case: they can move and return to the island but, when they are there, they must respect several specific rules. Alcohol, tobacco, and weapons are prohibited, men must wear short hair and on Sundays, all inhabitants of the villages are required to attend church.


image credit: Jessica Merz/Flickr

In short, rather strict and “puritanical” rules which, in the end, have made Niihau a place where time has literally stood still. On the other hand, from Robinson’s point of view, all of this was necessary to preserve this island in its original state. It is not known exactly how many people live there, as population estimates and censuses are carried out at the discretion of the family that owns the island, but it is certain that such a place in today’s world hui, is a real rarity.


image credit: D kuba/Wikimedia

The only small departure from the rule of isolation is constituted by the small visits that the family allows tourists, only aboard a helicopter. This is a small glimpse of this unusual place, but it does not allow travelers to access the main village of Niihau.

What do you think ? Did you know the history of this incredible and fascinating Forbidden Island?

source used: The Culture Trip

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