Based on earlier published descriptions by missionaries and others, the US Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842, under Charles Wilkes, expected to find Hawai‘‘i a fertile tropical garden. Instead, they found a significantly westernized climatic borderland between tropical and temperate zones. Wilkes’’s report is a case of landscape creation. It represented Hawai‘‘i in terms of comparison to American readers’’ experience and expectations. In presenting Hawaiian landscapes as distinct from the tropics, the expedition made the islands seem more inviting to American expansionism.

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