After deserting a Spanish naval ship in the Pacific Northwest, Don Francisco de Paula Marin, a 20-year-old Spanish sailor, arrived in Honolulu in 1794. Marin was the first documented Hispanic to arrive in the Hawaiian Islands.
Marin’s arrival occurred about the same time that King Kamehameha was consolidating all of the Islands into one kingdom while he was living on Oahu. The king maintained a body of advisers who acted as a council of state to aid in his struggle for supremacy.
Don Francisco de Paula Marin, who was from an agricultural part of southern Spain, was known for his extensive knowledge of the medicinal uses of plants and herbs. According to a Hawaiian history book by Richard Wiesnewski, “The Rise and Fall of the Hawaiian Kingdom,” Marin planted the first pineapple in the kingdom of Hawaii on Jan. 2, 1813.
Marin soon became a trusted advisor and confident of the king, acting as his business advisor, bookkeeper, interpreter (he spoke fluent Hawaiian). He also served as the king’s physician and was at his bedside during his death in 1819.
As a result of his service to the king and the alii, Marin was given land on Ford Island to collect plants and provide fresh fruits and vegetables to the crews of foreign ships that arriving at Honolulu Harbor.
Today, Marin is best remembered for his green thumb. He introduced apples, apricots, asparagus, avocados, cabbage, carrots, Chile peppers, eggplant, lemons, limes, macadamia, nectarines, nuts, olives, onion, oranges, parsley, peas, peaches, pears, potatoes, rice, tea and tobacco into the Hawaian Kingdom. READ MORE