The first “Ricans” arrived in Hawaii in 1900.
Hispanics in Hawaii: 214 Years of meaningful contributions
In August of 1899, San Ciriaco, a huge hurricane, punished Puerto Rico for two days with winds of 110mph – 150mph. It left the island completely devastated, its agrarian society destroyed, and most of its agricultural workers suddenly unemployed.
The Hawaii Sugar Planters Association (HSPA) was looking for experienced workers for their plantations. When they found out about the hurricane, they started recruiting workers in Puerto Rico. Between 1900 and 1901, the HSPA brought 5,000 Puerto Ricans workers to toil on Hawaii’s plantations. We call the descendants of these early residents “Local Ricans” – Puerto Ricans born in Hawaii.
As a result of this migration, some Puerto Rican traditions were adapted to their new environment. The traditional "arroz con gandules" is called "gandule rice" in the Hawaiian Islands. And "pasteles" have become "pateles." You will see many roadside vendors selling "pateles" as you drive around the islands. No matter what you call them, they're good eating!
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