It is said that there is no accounting for taste, but few would dispute that the Hawaiian Islands rank among the world’s most beautiful. Their latitude is tropical but temperatures are moderate. The surrounding seas are rich, and the high mountains and coastal plains create microclimates suitable to most types of agriculture. The prolific volcanic activity has resulted in fecund soil, no doubt lending to the success of the first human habitation, thought to have begun between A.D. 300 and 800. Theories abound as to a single arrival event, with Polynesians carrying pigs, dogs, coconuts, bananas and the now ubiquitous taro. Others state that migrations came in waves, mostly from the Marquesas. In any event, by the time of the first European arrival, perhaps as early as the mid-1500s, a large population with a sophisticated agrarian culture had developed.