Niihau may be the smallest inhabited island of the Hawaii island cluster, but it certainly holds the most mysteries. It can be found approximately 17 miles off Kauai’s coast and 300 miles from Hawaii. The local culture of the land is still very much alive and breathing, but very few in the world are aware of its existence.
The main reason for this is that, unlike its island counterparts like Maui or Oahu, this particular one is entirely sealed off from tourists. Thanks to prohibiting all visitors from around the world, this mysterious part of the Hawaiin archipelago in the middle of nowhere has earned itself the nickname “Forbidden Island.” For over 15 decades, no outsiders have been able to set foot on Niihau’s territory, making it a total mystery to us. But why?
In the Middle of Nowhere
Usually, when someone mentions Hawaii or thinks about it, our mind generally conjures tropical vibes like palm trees, pineapples, and perhaps Polynesian dancers. In reality, though, there's so much more to these isolated islands than meets the eye. By that, we're referring to one of the area's lesser-known territories of, Niihau Island.
As the sun sets on the horizon, one enormous secret of the Pacific reveals itself. Against the pink and orange hues of the beautiful backdrop, a tiny outline of this distant island becomes visible. The fact of the matter is that this little island in the middle of nowhere holds so many secrets that are only known to a few who have had the rare privilege to set foot on it.
Amid the Shores
Niihau's silhouette can be observed from the coasts of its neighboring island, Kauai. This little mysterious island looks like a small speck in the sea from above, but appearances can be deceiving because there is so much more to it than we know. Niihau is very different from the other islands in Hawaii, and it doesn't even have many similarities with all the islands in the world.
Most of Hawaii's islands have lost a lot of their culture through colonization over the years, but thankfully, that doesn't apply to this little island. Niihau is a reminder of a pledge that was made many moons ago. Thanks to the promise kept by former settlers, the island has been able to sustain its native culture after all these years.
A Little Bit of History
It's a known fact that humans are drawn into the unknown. The more secrets we know something holds, the more we find ourselves drawn to that thing so we can ultimately figure it out and unearth everything there is to know. Niihau has a lot of secrets, but its extreme exclusivity is far from being the most mesmerizing thing about the territory. Evidently, the island has a long story to tell.
It starts way back in 1864 when Niihau was bought for a measly $10,000 by Scottish farmer and homemaker Elizabeth Sinclair. She was a notable figure at that time, and she also owned a plantation in New Zealand, so traveling this far for a deal was nothing new to her. King Kamehameha V did the exchange with her as he was ruling over the collection of Hawaiian Islands at the time.
The King's Conditions
The sale of the island wasn't all smooth sailing from the start. The monarch had a set of requirements that he wanted to uphold if the sale was to go through. King Kamehameha V had one condition to be met by the Scottish lady who wished to purchase the island. For better or for worse, this condition determined the course of Niihau's future for decades to come.
As a matter of fact, it was a small suggestion that the King had for the purchase. The King made Sinclair swear that she and her descendants and settlers on Niihau would do anything in their power to help the Hawaiians should a day come in the forthcoming years when they are no longer strong in their native Hawaii.