Hawaii’s quest for a new type of independence

The Royal Family of Hawaii.

“Hawaii is the only American state that was once a kingdom. The royal family was overthrown in 1893 with decisive help from President Benjamin Harrison and US Marines,” writes Stephen Kinzer of the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University in the Boston Globe. “Soon afterward a new president, Grover Cleveland, condemned the overthrow as “an act of war” and asked Congress to return the royal family to power. Congress refused. Instead, in 1898, it voted to annex Hawaii. In 1959 Hawaii was admitted to the Union as our 50th state.
“Native Hawaiian culture is enjoying a renaissance. Cities and towns have passed ordinances stipulating that most streets should bear Hawaiian names. Clubs have sprung up to promote traditions ranging from hula dancing to navigation with double-hulled canoes. The University of Hawaii has opened a center for the study of native Hawaiian law. Courses in the Hawaiian language, which not long ago seemed on the brink of disappearing, have become steadily more popular. Some elementary schools offer instruction in Hawaiian only — a far cry from days when schoolchildren were required to speak English and punished if they did not.

“History, like ethnicity and geography, makes Hawaii distinct. The arrival of European and American mariners set off a series of devastating plagues. Within sixty years of Captain James Cook’s arrival in 1778, the native population had fallen by more than 70 percent. The mariners were followed by hundreds of Christian missionaries, most of them from New England. They were horrified by native customs and worked tirelessly to suppress them. Some of their descendants went on to assemble vast sugar and fruit plantations, depriving natives of their traditional land. A handful of them organized the 1893 uprising in which Queen Lilioukalani was deposed, ending a monarchy that had ruled for nearly a century. They succeeded only because the United States, by prior arrangement, immediately recognized them as the legal government and landed Marines to secure their power.”

To read Stephen Kinzer’s entire article on the restoration movement of the Kingdom of Hawaii, click HERE.

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