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Hawaii: Peculiar ethnic terms



Carlos López from Chile says: "I often wandered if the paniolos in Hawaii were not Chileans that went there afetr the Gold Rush or directly. There seems to have been a Honolulu/Valparaiso connection from way back. Why were they not called Mexicanos or Californios if they came from California?" Edgar Knowlton from Hawaii explains: "The paniolos are a curious group, but some, at least, were here before the Gold Rush. Doris Ladd pointed out to me that "Mexican" in the early 19th century implied Indians, whereas Peninsulares in Mexico were Spanish. In the Spanish colonial Philippines, perhaps for similarly unexpected reasons, Indio was what we think of as Pilipino, and Filipino indicated Spanish origin. Thus, Filipinos studying at the Universidad de Santo Tomas were really not indigenous, but from Spain or of European extraction. Harvard, likewise, was not attended in 1636 by American Indians to any perceptible degree. And why was Kossuth a name of an early paniolo? Like Chile's O'Higgins? One friend of mine here thinks paniolo comes from pañuelo, the kerchief they wore. Another thinks they were, in the first instance, Portuguese settlers in the early 1800s".

My comment: It would be simpler to suppose that paniolo simply comes from español, Spanish. As for O'Higgins and Kossuth, O'Higgins was of Irish ancestry. Kossuth, the Hungarian who fought vainly for Hungarian independence from Austria, died in exile in Turin. It is possible that one of his family took refuge in Hawaii and was taken for a Spaoiard. Edgar should consult the Mormons in Hawaii. They are good at tracking down these things. One of the specific aims of founding Harvard was to educate the Indians.

Ronald Hilton - 9/7/02


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