Don Francisco de Paula Marin, known to the Hawaiians as “Manini,” was born in Jerez de la Frontera in the Andalusian region of Spain on November 28, 1774. Not much is known of Marin's life before he came to Hawai'i or of his activities in the first years after his arrival. After joining the Spanish naval service, most likely at the age of 16, he jumped ship in Nootka, in the American northwest, in c.1792. He eventually made his way to Hawai'i, perhaps shanghaied, in 1793 or 1794, joining a small group of foreigners on O'ahu whose numbers would swell to nearly 60 by 1809 (Gast and Conrad, 1973, 2002) (Figure 4.1). Not long after his arrival, Marin got married and became an interpreter, friend, trusted adviser, and part-time physician to King Kamehameha I (Figures 4.2 and 4.3), who was in the process of consolidating his control of all the Hawaiian Islands. Marin was a colorful, if not controversial, figure of early Honolulu who adopted many aspects of Hawaiian culture, including learning the language. He is reported to have had several Hawaiian wives, fathering many children. He collected, introduced, and propagated many plants (e.g., olive, grape, tamarind, etc.) in the Hawaiian Islands and made many different kinds of commodities such as wine, brandy, soap, pickles, and cigars, to name a few. He also provided some of the first accommodations for transients in Hawai'i and provisioned visiting ships with fresh produce from his gardens.
In 1810, in recognition of his services, King Kamehameha I granted Marin, aged 36, a tract of waterfront land near the royal compound in downtown Honolulu (Figure 4.4). Over the next few decades, with the expansion of Marin's immediate and extended family (‘ohana), the lot filled with people and various enterprises (Goodwin et al., 1996: 360). There were houses for female members and their children, houses for cooking and sleeping, men's houses, houses for visiting ship captains and other guests, as well as houses for Marin's adult children and their partners.