This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is not supported by advertising, it's supported by the generosity of my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Los Angeles in the days of the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii)


I just finished reading "Two Years Before the Mast", which is simple narrative story of a young man who spends two years (1835-6) on a ship that sails from Boston, Massachusetts, around the tip of South America, and spends a lot of time on the coast of California.

The book is public domain, and you can read it for free. I spent 99 cents to get it on my Nook (an ereader), and I have to admit that it wasn't really catching my attention until it got to places that I recognized, like San Diego, and Santa Barbara. And then the term "Sandwich Islands" was mentioned, so I looked it up. It was what Hawaii was called back then! How about that?

When the author visited California it still belonged to Mexico, and Hawaii was still called the Sandwich Islands. If you read the book, you'll see Los Angeles mentioned, as "El Pueblo" when they stop at San Pedro. Of course, the rest of the names you'll know, such as Monterey, and San Francisco.

When the author revisits 24 years later, I noticed that he used the term "Los Angeles" instead of "El Pueblo", but he still was calling Hawaii the "Sandwich Islands". He was forty by then, and often old-timers have difficulty adjusting to the new names of things. I suppose that the young 'uns would either correct him, or have no idea what he was talking about? Sandwich Islands?

The drawing at the top of this post is from 1873, long after Los Angeles was called "El Pueblo", and long after Hawaii was called the Sandwich Islands. But it's all that I can find, and I wanted to have a picture with this blog post. The real image of Los Angeles at the time will take your imagination. If you read the book, you'll see it. I did.


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