Last queen of Hawaii

  In the palace in Honolulu, Liliuokalani hesitated over a document. Once signed, she will lose the throne. Previously, six ardent Queen supporters had assembled a small force of less than 100 to maintain her dominance, eventually retreating after several failed small-scale struggles and being arrested and jailed for high treason awaiting execution. If the Queen announces her abdication, the six will be released from prison.
  ”Personally, I would rather die than sign it,” she wrote in her autobiography, “but consider the present situation…only my pen can prevent this bloody catastrophe.”
  January 24, 1895, with With her pen and signature, the Hawaiian monarchy, which has lasted for generations, ended. White settlers saw Hawaii as a huge cash cow. Under their claim, the island of Hawaii, once ruled by Liliuokalani, would soon be annexed by the United States. Submission to the wealthy minority still affects the island to this day.
  Sugar boom sparks political crisis
  Historically , each island in Hawaii was ruled by a local hereditary chief. When European explorers first arrived in 1778, Hawaii began to engage with the outside world, trade opportunities proliferated, and the written language developed. A warrior named Kamehameha on the island of Hawaii (now commonly known as “The Big Island”) used weapons brought by Europeans to wrest dominion from the island’s leaders. He established the united constitutional monarchy of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1795, ending years of interisland conflict, and the united Hawaii was more resistant to potential takeover attempts by foreign interests.
  These interest groups wreaked havoc on traditional Hawaiian society, with indigenous peoples ravaged by exotic diseases, and by 1840 the population plummeted by an astounding 84 percent. At the same time, a new constitutional monarchy modeled on the European concept of government, reshaping the long-established social structure.
  The island’s growing European population included missionaries as well as American entrepreneurs buying land for sugar cane plantations. Plantations required a lot of labor, and owners began to recruit low-wage contract workers from around the world, especially in East Asia. Hawaiian sugar production skyrocketed, exporting about 25 million pounds of cane sugar to the United States in 1874.
  Hawaii isn’t just an economic powerhouse: the archipelago is strategically placed between Asia and the Americas, and the United States is looking for a foothold in the Pacific. The newly enthroned King Kalakaua agreed to cede parts of his territory (Pearl Harbor on Oahu and a small island today called Ford Island) in exchange for signing a free trade agreement in 1875 that eliminated taxes on Hawaiian imports—the Reciprocity Treaty .
  Large amounts of American money flowed into the sugar industry, and American interference in Hawaiian affairs began with it. In 1887, a group of highly influential white sugar cane growers, led by lawyers Rolling Thurston and Sanford B. Dole, took advantage of a financial spending scandal involving Kalakahua to threaten the king at gunpoint to sign A new constitution that strips the Hawaiian monarch of most of his powers.
  Known as the Bayonet Constitution, the document gave foreign residents the right to vote while limiting the right to vote for Asian workers and those with low incomes or the proletariat. Overnight, three out of every four Native Hawaiians lost their eligibility to vote. White growers who called themselves the “Hawaii Union” effectively controlled the islands, although they remained a minority.
  In the 1890s, an economic and political crisis swept Hawaii. The U.S. passed legislation to remove tariffs on sugar imports from other countries that compete with the Hawaiian sugar industry, sending sugar prices tumbling. Growers, seeking political stability and a competitive advantage, began petitioning the United States to annex Hawaii.
  A bloodless coup
  In 1891, Kalakaava died and his sister Liliu Kalani took the throne. In 1893, the Queen sought to repeal the Bayonet Constitution and replace it with a constitution that stripped foreign residents of Hawaii of the right to vote and strengthened the power of the monarch.
  In response, Thurston gathered in front of Liliuokalani’s palace with an armed group of foreigners and Hawaiian subjects to demand her step down. U.S. diplomat John Stevens dispatched U.S. Marines to Oahu to protect U.S. interests. Liliuokalani ordered the surrender of the Royal Guard, and the coup leader declared the monarchy abolished, imposed martial law and raised the American flag above the palace.
  It was a bloodless coup, and at first glance, an interim government led by Dole would quickly advance the U.S. annexation of Hawaii. US President Benjamin Harrison even signed an annexation treaty in February 1893.
  But less than a month later, new U.S. President Grover Cleveland withdrew the treaty and sent Commissioner James H. Blunt to the island of Hawaii to investigate the coup. “There is no doubt that public opinion supports the Queen against interim government and annexation,” Blunt wrote in the report.
  Cleveland, who called the coup “serious and embarrassing,” summoned Stevens home and ordered a new minister to restore the Queen of Hawaii. throne. Liliuokalani, confident that he would have the support of the United States, insisted that the coup participants should be punished according to national law. But Dole argues that his interim government is legitimate unless it is overthrown by armed force. He refused to step down, and the United States took no further action against the rebels. Although Liliukalani held the throne, she was unable to stop Dole’s actions.
  In December 1893, Congress began its own investigation and responded to Blunt with the Morgan Report, unabashedly supporting the merger. In the words of historian Ralph Kurkendall, Congress “managed to absolve everyone but the Queen”. Congress did not act on the report, and Dole’s interim government accelerated its consolidation of power. In July 1894, the Republic of Hawaii was established, with Dole as president.
  Six months later, royalist rebels led by Hawaiian Robert William Wilcox unsuccessfully attempted to restore the monarchy in January 1895. He and his co-conspirators had hoped to gather at least a thousand Native Hawaiians and other residents, but ended up drawing only about a hundred. The counter-revolutionary group was disorganized and surrendered to the police after three brief battles. After the rebellion ended, 191 suspected conspirators were arrested, and police seized weapons in Liliuokalani’s home and arrested him for complicity. Liliuokalani eventually abdicated in exchange for the freedom of the six sentenced to death. She herself was sentenced to five years of hard labor and a fine, but was replaced by house arrest at home. Dole pardoned her in 1896.
  The annexation of
  the United States The Cleveland government of the United States has always been reluctant to use force to retake Hawaii from the Americans in power. With the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898, new President William McKinley, eager to gain a strategic advantage by strengthening the Navy’s ability to fight in the open seas, fulfilled his promise to annex the island of Hawaii. He called on Congress to pass a joint resolution, and in August 1898, Hawaii officially became a U.S. territory, a status that lasted 61 years. In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States.
  So, where does the overthrown queen go? In the years following his abdication, Liliuokalani tried to reclaim the family land and demanded compensation from the U.S. government. In 1911, nearly 20 years after the monarchy was overthrown, she received a lifetime pension.
  In 1993, the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution recognizing that Native Hawaiians “never directly renounced” their claims to sovereignty. However, an apology does not mean a change in U.S. policy. Hawaiians are the only indigenous group in the United States without political sovereignty.
  Today, only about 10 percent of the islanders are of Native Hawaiian descent. Compared with whites, there are significant health and social disparities among Aboriginal groups, such as lower levels of education, but higher rates of unemployment, poverty, tuberculosis, smoking and obesity.
  But they have an unwavering pride in their culture. In the 1970s, Native Hawaiians launched a movement to revitalize language and traditional practices, in the same vein as a sovereign movement that continued to expand in influence. They are still seeking government recognition to this day. “We are an independent and sovereign nation,” Kauai teacher Kelly Holden told a public hearing in 2014, “and more and more people are recognizing this truth.”

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