1850 - 1900


Heroes of Kalaupapa—Father Damien and Mother Marianne

Mark Twain in the Sandwich Islands

King Kamehameha Day—Henry Berger and the Royal Hawaiian Band

Ali‘iōlani Hale

Iolani Palace

The Legend of Pele

Public Transportation

The Coronation Pavilion

Statue of King Kamehameha I

The Bayonet Constitution

Kamehameha Schools and Bishop Museum

The Sugarcane Era

The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy

The Waikīkī Beachboys

Aloha ‘Oe

Annexation—The Kū‘ē Petitions

The Newlands Resolution Annexing Hawai‘i to the United States

Princess Ka‘iulani—Heir to a Vanished Throne

Heroes of Kalaupapa—Father Damien and Mother Marianne

In 1865, the first victims of Hansen’s disease (leprosy) in the Hawaiian Islands arrived at Kalawao on Moloka‘i’s Kalaupapa Peninsula, beginning the practice of segregating patients at the remote site. Hansen’s disease is caused by the slow-growing bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. Over the following decades, nearly 9,000 Hansen’s disease patients were quarantined at Kalaupapa.

Kalaupapa Peninsula is located along Moloka‘i’s north-central coast, and is surrounded on three sides by ocean and on the other side by cliffs rising up 2,000 to 3,000 feet. The area is accessible only by boat, airplane, foot, or mule. The trail into Kalaupapa descends about 1,600 feet (500 m) and includes 26 switchback turns.

The peninsula’s many archaeological sites attest to the fact that Kalaupapa was an important place in ancient Hawai‘i, and well populated before Captain Cook established Western contact with the Hawaiian Islands in 1778.

In 1873, the Belgian priest known as Father Damien (Joseph Damien DeVeuster) volunteered to minister to the needy at the Kalaupapa leper colony. In 1874, Father Damien built Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church at Kalua‘aha, Moloka‘i on the site of Moloka‘i’s first Christian mission.

Serving tirelessly to help the residents of Kalaupapa, Father Damien died there of leprosy 16 years later, in 1889. In 1936, the body of Father Damien was exhumed on Moloka‘i and sent to Belgium. Bones from Father Damien’s hand were reinterred on Moloka‘i.

Today Father Damien’s spirit lives on as one of Hawai‘i’s beloved heroes. Referred to as the “Martyr of Moloka‘i,” Father Damien is immortalized in a statue that faces Beretania St. on O‘ahu, in front of the State Capitol Building, and another statue in Washington D.C.’s National Statuary Hall. Pope John Paul II beatified Father Damien on June 4, 1995 in Brussels, Belgium, bringing the priest one step closer to sainthood.

Roman Catholic nun Mother Marianne Cope was another selfless and dedicated servant who ministered to the leprosy patients of Kalaupapa. Born in Germany as Barbara Koob, she took the name Marianne upon joining the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in New York in 1862.

Mother Marianne later volunteered to minister to leprosy patients in Honolulu, arriving in the Hawaiian Islands on November 7, 1883 along with three other Franciscan nuns. Mother Marianne moved to Kalaupapa in 1888 to supervise a new girls’ home for Hansen’s disease patients, and later she also ran a home for boys.

At Kalaupapa, Mother Marianne first worked alongside Father Damien, and then continued working at Kalaupapa for decades after Damien’s passing. She ministered to the needy for a total of 30 years until she passed away in 1918 at the age of 80.

Mother Marianne was known for her uplifting attitude. She helped the patients in many small but meaningful ways such as planting flowers and trees, organizing picnics, sewing clothes for the residents, and playing piano so they could sing along. Mother Marianne also founded Maui’s first hospital, now known as Maui Memorial Hospital.

King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua] honored Mother Marianne with royal decorations, and famed author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850—1894) wrote of her. In January of 2004, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints affirmed Mother Marianne’s “heroic virtue,” which was a step toward canonization and sainthood.

Mother Marianne’s bones were exhumed in January of 2005 so they could be enshrined in the headquarters of the Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse, New York. Also in 2005, Mother Marianne was beatified, the last formal step before sainthood.

[Photographs: Father Damien; Mother Marianne]

Mark Twain in the Sandwich Islands

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), a Missouri-born, California newspaper correspondent and former riverboat pilot going by the pseudonym Mark Twain, arrived in the Hawaiian Islands on March 18, 1866 aboard the steamer Ajax.

Sporting a Wild West moustache and auburn hair, Twain was on assignment to write a series of travel letters about the whaling and sugarcane industries in the Islands. He writes about everything from government corruption to social life to volcanoes, and calls the Hawaiian Islands the “Isles of the Blest.”

After returning to California Mark Twain began a novel about the Hawaiian Islands, which he later abandoned, though it is said the book became a model for A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

Twain visited Maui’s ‘Īao Needle, (Kūkaemoku), the summit of Haleakalā, the site of Captain Cook’s death at Kealakekua Bay, and Kīlauea Volcano where he stayed at the Volcano House.

Of the volcano Twain noted, “Vesuvius is a soupkettle compared to this.” Twain later wrote of the Islands: “No alien land in all the world has any deep strong charm for me but that one; no other land could so longingly and so beseechingly haunt me, sleeping and waking, through half a lifetime, as that one has done.”

Twain’s writings about the Hawaiian Islands are included in the travelogue Roughing It as well as the newspaper articles he wrote in 1866 and some speeches, lectures, and personal letters.

King Kamehameha Day

Henry Berger and the Royal Hawaiian Band

A royal proclamation in 1872 by King Kamehameha V (Lot Kapuāiwa Kamehameha) declared June 11 a Hawaiian national holiday in honor of King Kamehameha I. Originally known as Commemoration Day, the holiday later became known as King Kamehameha Day.

On June 11, 1872, the Royal Hawaiian Band gave its first concert under the lead of Heinrich “Henry” Berger (1844-1929), who was brought from Germany to lead the band. Henry Berger attended the Berlin Conservatory of Music before he was picked by German leader Wilhelm I, for King Kamehameha V (Lot Kapuāiwa Kamehameha), to become the Hawaiian Kingdom’s bandmaster.

Berger held the bandmaster post for 43 years, giving more than 9,000 concerts including several United States Mainland tours with the band, increasing the popularity of Hawaiian music. Berger also authored the music of Hawai‘i’s State song, Hawai‘i Pono‘ī; the words were written by King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua].

Berger was an organist at Kawaiaha‘o Church, and assisted Queen Lili‘uokalani [Lydia Kamaka‘eha Pākī-Dominis Lili‘uokalani] in the writing of the well-known song, Aloha ‘Oe.

Ali‘iōlani Hale

In 1874, construction was completed on Ali‘iōlani Hale at 417 South King Street in Honolulu. The two-story building was initially planned as a palace for King Kamehameha V (Lot Kapuāiwa Kamehameha). King Kamehameha V laid the cornerstone for Ali‘iōlani Hale on February 19, 1872.

Ali‘iōlani was one of the names of King Kamehameha V, and is thought to be a contraction of Ali‘i-iō-lani, which means “Chief unto heavens” referring to the heavenly nature of Hawaiian royalty. Another interpretation of the name Ali‘iōlani Hale, is “House of Heavenly Kings.”

Ali‘iōlani Hale became the new seat of the Hawaiian government after the Honolulu Courthouse was extensively damaged in a riot by supporters of Queen Emma, who had asserted a claim to the throne but lost the election to King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua].

Built with concrete blocks, Ali‘iōlani Hale was the first major Western-style building constructed by the Hawaiian monarchy. The concrete block construction used to build Ali‘iōlani Hale was pioneered in the Hawaiian Islands.

Designed by architects Thomas Rowe and Robert Stirling in the Renaissance Revival style, Ali‘iōlani Hale is notable for its distinctive four-story clock tower.

Ali‘iōlani Hale housed the Supreme Court, Legislature, and House of Nobles, and the old Honolulu Courthouse became the main office for American Factors Ltd. (Amfac), a “Big Five” company.

On November 8, 1875, the Hawaiian National Museum opened in Ali‘iōlani Hale, and the museum’s first supervisor was Charles Reed Bishop. The museum’s collection included many royal artifacts that were later transferred to the collection of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum.

In January of 1893 after the overthrow of the monarchy, Ali‘iōlani Hale was the site of the announcement by Sanford Ballard Dole that a Provisional Government had been formed.

The Provisional Government renamed Ali‘iōlani Hale the “Court House,” though it came to be known as the Judiciary Building and has been used for that purpose ever since that time. The House of Representatives and the House of Nobles met there until 1896 when they moved to ‘Iolani Palace, which they renamed “The Executive Building.”

In 1911, Ali‘iōlani Hale was in disrepair due to termite damage, and was set on fire so only the exterior walls remained. Architects Ripley and Reynolds designed a new floor plan, including a rotunda and double staircase.

A new wing on Ali‘iōlani Hale was completed in 1944, and a second story was added to the new wing in 1949. Refurbishments/renovations took place in 1965, 1972, and 1978. Ali‘iōlani Hale is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today Ali‘iōlani Hale includes the King Kamehameha V—Judiciary History Center of Hawai‘i, (founded in 1989), which provides educational exhibits about Hawai‘i’s judicial processes. In front of Ali‘iōlani Hale is a statue of King Kamehameha I.

Ali‘iōlani Hale Judiciary History Center: phone-808-539-4999; website: Jhchawaii.org; open free to general public for self-guided tours, Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

[Photograph: Ali‘iōlani Hale]

Iolani Palace

The cornerstone for ‘Iolani Palace was laid on December 31, 1879 in midtown Honolulu at King and Richards Streets. A project of King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua], ‘Iolani means “Hawk of heaven,” or “Royal hawk,” referring to the flight of the ‘io (Hawaiian hawk), considered a sign of royalty.

‘Iolani Palace was built near the site of the earlier royal palace, called Hale Ali‘i, which was built by Mataio Kekūanaō‘a for his daughter, Princess Victoria Kamāmalu, and given to King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) in 1845 when the king moved his court to Honolulu from Lahaina.

Hale Ali‘i was named ‘Iolani in 1863 at the request of King Kamehameha V (Lot Kapuāiwa Kamehameha), who chose the name “‘Iolani” to honor his deceased brother Alexander Liholiho ‘Iolani (King Kamehameha IV). ‘Iolani is also the name of a sacred hawk of Hawaiian mythology.

Some of the stones used in the foundation of ‘Iolani Palace were brought from Kūki‘i Heiau in Puna on Hawai‘i Island, which was built by ‘Umi, a Hawai‘i Island chief, around A.D. 1500.

A project of King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua], ‘Iolani Palace was completed in 1882. Measuring 140 long and 100 feet wide, the palace cost nearly $360,000 to build. The building’s architectural style was said by newspapers of the day to be “American Florentine.” The architectural style was also called “American Composite.”

‘Iolani Palace was the royal palace of the Hawaiian monarchy for King Kalākaua and Queen Kapi‘olani from 1882 to 1891. ‘Iolani Palace served as the royal palace for Queen Lili‘uokalani [Lydia Kamaka‘eha Pākī-Dominis Lili‘uokalani] until the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893.

At least four years before the United States’ White House installed electricity, the original gas lamps in ‘Iolani Palace were replaced with electric lights. King Kalākaua was very interested in new technology, and once met Thomas Edison.

Electric lights were installed at ‘Iolani Palace on July 21, 1886. Five lamps in all are installed, including one at the Palace, one at the gate to the Palace on Richards Street, two on King Street, and one at the Government Building. Within two years Honolulu’s streetlights, which were formerly gasoline lamps, are also replaced with electric lights.

‘Iolani Palace was also ahead of its time in other ways, including flushing toilets and bidets, hot and cold running water, copper-lined tubs and other amenities. Beautifully crafted native and Polynesian-introduced woods such as koa, kou, kamani, and ‘ōhi‘a lehua were used throughout the interior along with other fine hardwoods.

The main floor of ‘Iolani Palace was used for formal functions, the royal family resided on the second floor, and the basement housed the Palace kitchen as well as all the wines, food, silver, and other materials to supply the lavish social events held at the Palace.

A dumbwaiter transported royal meals up to the first and second floors. The basement had rooms to house more than 40 servants, and a room for the kāhili, the feather standards that were symbols of Hawaiian royalty.

(Note: Many of these kāhili are now on display in the basement of ‘Iolani Palace, along with other precious cultural artifacts. The kitchen is also beautifully restored to authentically represent the era of the monarchy.)

Steeped with history as a royal palace, ‘Iolani Palace also served for seven months as the prison chamber of Queen Lili‘uokalani after the overthrow of the monarchy. The Palace was then used as the capitol building of the Republic of Hawai‘i (1893-1900), the Territory of Hawai‘i (1900-1959), and the State of Hawai‘i (1960-1969), and was known as the Executive Building.

Many valuable items were taken from ‘Iolani Palace by those involved in the overthrow of the monarchy, and much of the Palace furniture was sold between 1895 and 1903 in public auctions. The Throne Room was used for meetings of the House of Representatives, and the State Dining Room was used as the Senate Chambers.

The Minister of Finance used the Blue Room, where heavy safes were installed, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs used the Gold Room, and the Attorney General used Queen Kapi‘olani’s Bedroom.

The Secretary of the Territory used the room now known as Queen Lili‘uokalani’s Prison Chamber, which later housed the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawai‘i.

In great disrepair, the Palace underwent extensive renovations beginning in 1969, and was opened as a museum in 1978.

‘Iolani Palace is located at King and Richards Streets in Honolulu; phone: 808-522-0832; internet site: www.alike.lcc.hawaii.edu/openstudio/iolani; guided tours offered to the public from 9 to 2:15, Tuesday to Saturday; gallery 9-4.

The non-profit organization Friends of ‘Iolani Palace now runs the Palace as a museum, offering guided tours of the United States’ only royal palace.

The Legend of Pele

Pele, the legendary goddess of fire and volcanoes, is the daughter of Wākea, the Sky Father, and Papa (Haumea), the Earth Mother.

Pele is a creator of mountains and islands, including the Hawaiian Islands. She is also a destroyer and a burner of lands. Pele is able to assume different forms, and said to be akua kino lau “...because of her ability to change into a child, a beautiful maiden, a plain matron, or a very old woman.”[i]

According to legend, Pele protects her sacred fires today in Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano on Hawai‘i Island. Halema‘uma‘u means “House surrounded by the ‘ama‘u fern,” referring to the ferns that surround the volcanic crater. These ferns are said to be the embodiment of the demi-god Kamapua‘a, who pursued Pele’s love but was rejected.

The battle between Pele and her sister continues today on Hawai‘i Island’s southeast coast where the lava meets the sea in fiery explosions.

In ancient Hawai‘i, the fruiting branches of the native ‘ōhelo were thrown into Kīlauea Volcano as an offering to Pele. Another plant considered sacred to the goddess of fire and volcanoes was ‘ōhi‘a lehua.

Pele is said to be found everywhere that fire comes up through the earth to light the sky. Wherever the ground is hot and steam hisses up from cracks in the earth, wherever the incandescent glow of molten rock and the smell of sulfur fill the air, and wherever lava erupts in fiery fountains into the sky, “...‘ae aia la ‘o Pele”—“...there is Pele.”

[Illustration: Pele]

Public Transportation

Public transit in the Hawaiian Islands began in 1868 when horse-drawn carts operated by the Spring Pioneer Omnibus Line went into operation in Honolulu. The first streetcar in Honolulu was a mule-drawn tram operated by Hawaiian Tramways, Ltd. beginning in 1888.

Benjamin Franklin Dillingham formed the Oahu [O‘ahu] Railway & Land Company in 1888, and the first train ran on September 4, 1889.

With the permission of King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua], the first 9 miles (14.5 km) of track opened on November 16, 1889 (King Kalākaua’s 53rd birthday) when about 4,000 Hawaiian residents enjoyed free rides. The opening of the railroad has a significant influence on generating land sales and helping the sugar and pineapple industries.

Hawaiian Tramways, Ltd. was taken over by the Honolulu Rapid Transit & Land Company in 1903. By 1889, 12 miles (19 km) of track were laid on four routes: Nu‘uanu, Beretania, King Street, and Waikīkī.

An electric trolley (tram line) was put into operation in Honolulu in 1900, replacing horse-driven and mule-driven tram cars. Operated by Pacific Heights Electric Railway Company, Ltd., the electric streetcars were open-sided, carrying 30 passengers and initially running between Pacific Heights and upper Nu‘uanu Avenue.

Waikīkī’s horse-driven tram cars were replaced by an electric trolley (tram line) in 1902, connecting Waikīkī and downtown Honolulu.

Railroad use in the Hawaiian Islands peaks in the 1900s with seven major railroads running on about 160 miles (257 km) of track. Oahu [O‘ahu] Railway and Land Company’s “narrow gauge” line with its double-track main line was one of the most advanced rail systems, including Mikado locomotives and automatic block signals.

The rails were mostly used to carry sugar and pineapple as well as construction materials. During World War II the rails carry significant amounts of military personnel as well as civilians.

The Honolulu Rapid Transit & Land Company began offering bus service in Honolulu in 1915 using locally built buses. American Car & Foundry buses were purchased from the United States Mainland in 1928. The last electric trolley ran in Honolulu in 1933 when buses became the predominant mode of public transit.

The 1946 tsunami dealt the final blow to the Oahu [O‘ahu] Railway & Land rails when large sections of track were destroyed. Labor strikes also led to a decline in freight.

The Coronation Pavilion

On the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace is the Coronation Pavilion, an octagonal, copper-domed structure with eight tapered columns. The Pavilion was built for the coronation ceremony of King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua] and Queen Kapi‘olani, which took place on February 12, 1883.

Two weeks of festivities included a grand lū‘au, parades, gun salutes, fireworks and formal receptions. The ceremony included the unveiling of the statue of King Kamehameha I in front of Ali‘iōlani Hale across the street from ‘Iolani Palace.

The Coronation Pavilion was also used for King Kalākaua’s 50th birthday jubilee, which took place in November of 1886. The Coronation Pavilion, is now used for inaugurations of Governors of the State of Hawai‘i, as well as for concerts by the Royal Hawaiian Band.

The Coronation Pavilion, also known as Keli‘iponi Hale, was originally closer to the ‘Iolani Palace, near the steps on the King Street side and connected by a bridge to the first floor veranda. The Pavilion was later moved to its current location a bit farther from ‘Iolani Palace (near the King-Richards Street corner).

In the early 1900s a concrete basement was added, and concrete columns and balustrades replaced what had been delicate woodwork. During World War II the Pavilion was used as a bomb shelter.

Statue of King Kamehameha I

As part of the 1883 coronation of King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua] at ‘Iolani Palace, a statue of King Kamehameha I was unveiled across the street in front of Ali‘iōlani Hale, the judiciary building opposite ‘Iolani Palace. The Honolulu statue of King Kamehameha I is located at 417 South King Street in front of Ali‘iōlani Hale.

Now an O‘ahu landmark, the King Kamehameha I statue is about 8˝ feet (2.6 m) tall and shows the warrior king holding an ihe (spear), and wearing a mahiole (feather-crested helmet), ‘ahu ‘ula (royal feather cloak), malo (loin cloth), and kāma‘a‘ie (braided sandals). The statue is said to represent King Kamehameha I at the age of about 45.

King Kamehameha I remains the most renowned and revered warrior and ruler of the Hawaiian Islands. He was responsible for uniting the Hawaiian Islands under one rule and establishing the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, which lasted until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. Every June 11, on King Kamehameha Day, the king’s statue is draped with many different lei, some more than 26 feet (8 m) long.

The statue is a replica of the original nine-ton statue cast by American sculptor Thomas Gould in Italy in 1883, which was based on an early engraving. That statue was lost in transport to the Hawaiian Islands, but then recovered in the Falkland Islands soon after a duplicate statue arrived in Honolulu.

The original King Kamehameha statue is now on Hawai‘i Island where it stands in front of the North Kohala Civic Center in Kapa‘au, near Kamehameha’s birthplace.


‘Oni kalalea ke ku a ka lā‘au loa.

A tall tree stands above the others.

Said of a person of outstanding achievements.[ii]

[Photograph: King Kamehameha I with Ali‘iōlani Hale in background]

The Bayonet Constitution

In 1887, a political organization of American merchants called the Hawaiian League instigated the Bayonet Constitution, which was drafted by Kalākaua’s Minister of Interior, Lorrin A. Thurston (18581931). The League’s membership included Sanford Ballard Dole (18441926).

The Hawaiian League considered King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua] to be corrupt. When King Kalākaua’s government sold its opium monopoly to a Chinese interest, it was the premise for the Americans to try to restrict King Kalākaua’s power.

Holding a mass meeting, the League demanded the dismissal of Kalākaua’s Cabinet, including Premier Walter Murray Gibson (18821888) and also insisted that Kalākaua sign a new constitution.

A radical faction of the League wanted to march to ‘Iolani Palace with guns and annex the Hawaiian Islands to the United States, but Sanford Ballard Dole and the majority only wished to limit King Kalākaua’s monarchical powers.

King Kalākaua soon signed the new constitution, which was later given the nickname “The Bayonet Constitution,” implying the document was signed at gunpoint.

Accounts vary on the actual threats that were wielded against the king to force him to attach his signature to the new constitution, but the effects of the new document included drastic changes that severely curtailed King Kalākaua’s power, and ended 23 years of rule under the previous constitution of King Kamehameha V (Lot Kapuāiwa Kamehameha).

One result of the Bayonet Constitution was that a vote of the Legislature became necessary to replace Cabinet members. The constitution also allowed nobles to be elected by those who owned large amounts of land, and this significantly reduced the power of Asians and native Hawaiians.

The constitution allowed the Legislature to override the king’s veto, and extended voting rights to all Europeans and Americans who would take an oath to support the new constitution.

One view of these events attributes the new constitution to mercantile, commercial and industrial interests, including the Chamber of Commerce, sugar planters, and missionary store workers who banded together with the aim of abrogating the monarchy, declaring the Hawaiian Islands a Republic, and annexing the Hawaiian Islands to the United States.

Politically known as the “down-town party,” they sought to reduce King Kalākaua’s sovereign power. Another view emphasizes the corruption said to be taking place among Kalākaua’s Cabinet at the time, particularly by his Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Walter Murray Gibson.

Kamehameha Schools and Bishop Museum

Princess Pauahi and Charles Reed Bishop

Princess Bernice Pauahi Pākī Bishop (1831-1884) was the great granddaughter of King Kamehameha I, and the monarch’s last direct descendant.

Princess Pauahi was said to have once been engaged to the young Lot Kapuāiwa Kamehameha before he became King Kamehameha V, but instead she chose to marry Charles Reed Bishop. They wed on June 4, 1850 and lived in their Honolulu home called Haleakalā, located near King and Bishop Streets, and built by Princess Pauahi’s father in 1847.

Just an hour before King Kamehameha V (Lot Kapuāiwa Kamehameha) passed away on December 11, 1872, he offered to name Princess Pauahi as his successor, but she declined. Princess Pauahi traveled to England in 1876 with her husband, and the couple was presented at Queen Victoria’s Court. They were later received by Pope Pius IX in Rome.


When Princess Ruth Ke‘elikōlani died in 1883, her will bequeathed to Princess Pauahi her elaborate mansion, Keōua Hale, located on Emma Street in Honolulu, as well as approximately 353,000 acres (143,000 ha) of Kamehameha lands, totaling nearly nine percent of all land in the Hawaiian Islands.

In 1885, Princess Pauahi inherited Haleakalā from her parents, Abner Pākī and Konia [Laura Konia]. Princess Pauahi also inherited approximately 25,000 acres (10,117 ha) of land from her parents and her aunt, ‘Akāhi.

When Princess Pauahi died in 1884, her will left 434,000 acres (175,634 ha) of land in perpetual trust to assist in the establishment of two schools in the Kamehameha name.

Under the terms of the endowment of benefactor Princess Bernice Pauahi Pākī Bishop, Kamehameha School for Boys opened in Honolulu on October 4, 1887, and then Kamehameha School for Girls opened on December 19, 1894.

Today the Bishop Estate, officially renamed Kamehameha Schools, continues to operate Kamehameha Schools, including the 600-acre (243-ha) Kapālama Heights campus in Honolulu as well as smaller campuses on Maui and Hawai‘i Island. The Estate has vast land holdings and investments with an endowment worth an estimated $7.66 billion during the 2005—2006 fiscal year, with $897 million in revenue in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006.

In that same fiscal year, $221 million was spent by the trust to educate children of native Hawaiian ancestry, with a total of 6,715 students enrolled at its various campuses including the Kapālama Heights campus, preschools, and schools on the outer Islands.

The trust also supports 14 charter schools as well as community outreach programs, and these schools and programs serve another 22,000 children. (See The Bishop Estate Scandal, Chapter 12.)

Charles Reed Bishop (1822-1915) was born in Glen Falls, New York on January 25, 1822. Orphaned as a child and raised by his grandparents, Charles attended Glen Falls Academy through the eighth grade, working on his grandparents’ farm and at various jobs in New York. At age 24, he sailed around Cape Horn bound for Oregon, and then stayed in the Islands when the ship stopped to take on provisions. Bishop first posted books for the government and then in 1849 became Honolulu’s Collector General of Customs.

Bishop later opened a mercantile business with A. W. Aldrich, forming the firm of Aldrich and Bishop in 1858. They initially worked out of an office on the Honolulu waterfront, and the company later became the Bank of Bishop & Co. Ltd. Much of the bank’s initial business involved loans to companies involved in the whaling and sugar industries.

The Bank of Bishop & Co. later the bank did significant business with the “Big Five” companies: Theo H. Davies; American Factors (Amfac); C. Brewer & Co.; Alexander & Baldwin; and Castle & Cooke, which dominated the sugarcane industry in the Hawaiian Islands.

Charles Reed Bishop served on the Board of Education under King Kamehameha V (Lot Kapuāiwa Kamehameha), King Lunalilo, and King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua], and then belonged to the Privy Council of Queen Lili‘uokalani [Lydia Kamaka‘eha Pākī-Dominis Lili‘uokalani]. Bishop was also known for his philanthropy, serving on the boards of various charities and contributing generously to many needy causes.

After Bernice Pauahi Pākī Bishop passed away in 1884, her husband played a large role in carrying out the wishes stated in his wife’s will, which included the establishment of Kamehameha Schools.

Charles Reed Bishop contributed much of his own money to help construct the first school buildings at the original Kalihi location on O‘ahu, including the Preparatory Department facilities constructed in 1888, as well as Bishop Hall constructed in 1891. Bernice Pauahi Bishop Memorial Chapel was built in 1897.

To honor his wife, Charles Reed Bishop founded the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu in 1889, constructing Polynesian Hall and Hawaiian Hall on the same site as Kamehameha School. The school was relocated in the 1960s and Bishop Hall became part of the Bishop Museum, which was established to complement the Hawaiian education being provided for the students at Kamehameha Schools.

The Bishop Museum’s collection materials initially came from three prominent women who passed away in the mid-1880s: Princess Ruth Ke‘elikōlani, the granddaughter of King Kamehameha I; Princess Bernice Pauahi Pākī Bishop, the great-granddaughter of King Kamehameha I; and Queen Emma [Emma Na‘ea Rooke; Kalanikaumakeamano; Kaleleonālani], the wife of King Kamehameha IV.

When Charles Reed Bishop passed away in 1915, his ashes were interred in Nu‘uanu, O‘ahu next to his wife in the Kamehameha Tomb at the Royal Mausoleum in Nu‘uanu, O‘ahu at Mauna‘ala (“Fragrant mountain”[iii]). Honolulu’s Bishop Street, named after Charles Reed Bishop, is now the business and finance center of the State of Hawai‘i as well as the entire Pacific region.

In 1969, the Bank of Bishop & Co. Ltd. was renamed First Hawaiian Bank, and remains today as the oldest financial institution in the state.

[Photographs: Bernice Pauahi Pākī Bishop; Pākī; Konia [Laura Konia]; Charles Reed Bishop]

The Sugarcane Era

Sugarcane was first processed and refined in the Hawaiian Islands in 1802 when a Chinese man on Lāna‘i set up boilers and a stone sugar mill shipped from China. Spaniard Francisco de Paula Marín, a physician and adviser of King Kamehameha I, manufactured sugar in 1819.

The first successful commercial sugar plantation in the Hawaiian Islands and the first to export the product was Koloa [Kōloa] Sugar Plantation, established in Kōloa, Kaua‘i in 1835 under the direction of William Hooper for the American firm Ladd & Co. Ladd & Co. was a Honolulu mercantile trading house founded by William Hooper, Peter Brinsmade, and William Ladd in 1833.

In 1851, David M. Weston of the East Maui Plantation invented a centrifugal machine that separated sugar from molasses, speeding up the drying process. The first steam-operated sugar mill in the Hawaiian Islands opened in Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i in 1853.

With the help of American businessmen living on the Hawaiian Islands in 1854, King Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho ‘Iolani) encouraged the development of plantation agriculture as the main force of Hawai‘i’s economy.

In 1856, a 10-mile (16-km) long irrigation ditch was dug on Kaua‘i to supply water for the production of sugarcane at Lihue [Līhu‘e] Plantation, run by William Harrison Rice. The use of irrigation to grow sugarcane soon led to a massive expansion of sugarcane production as a commercial crop.

The United States’ Civil War caused the price of sugar to rise in 1861, the same year the vacuum pan was invented, increasing productivity by allowing boiling of sugar at lower temperatures.

In 1864, George N. Wilcox (1893-1933) leased Grove Farm sugar plantation in Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i and began using irrigation methods pioneered by William Harrison Rice to build Grove Farm into a major plantation. A trade agreement in 1867 between the United States and the Hawaiian Islands made it easier to sell Hawaiian sugar in the United States.

King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua] negotiated the Reciprocity Treaty in 1875 and it was passed by the United States Congress on September 17, 1876, allowing Hawaiian products to be sold in the United States without customs or duties. In return, the United States was allowed to use Pearl Harbor as a naval base.

The Reciprocity Treaty resulted in a rapid expansion of the sugar industry in the Hawaiian Islands, which increased ten-fold over the next 15 years, and then continued to double each decade, providing an economic boost for the Islands and opening the door to the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States.

In 1877, the firm of Alexander & Baldwin completed the construction of the 17-mile (27-km) long Hāmākua irrigation ditch from Haleakalā to East Maui. Claus Spreckels helped secure and develop some 18,000 acres of leased Crown lands on Maui in 1878, leading to the establishment of the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.

Spreckels constructed the 30-mile (48-km) long Ha‘ikū Ditch between 1878 and 1880 to carry 50 millions gallons (189 million liters) of water daily to sugarcane fields in Pu‘unēnē and Spreckelsville. Spreckels became known as the “Sugar King of Hawai‘i” and was later accused of corruption involving secret deals with King Kalākaua.

James Ashley bored the first artesian well in the Hawaiian Islands for James Campbell on July 1, 1879 near Campbell’s ranch in Honouliuli, O‘ahu. More wells were soon bored to provide water for the cultivation of sugarcane on thousands of acres of ‘Ewa, O‘ahu.

In 1880, 63 sugar plantations operated in the Islands, and all were controlled by the “Big Five” companies: Theo H. Davies; American Factors (Amfac); C. Brewer & Co.; Alexander & Baldwin; and Castle & Cooke.

In 1888, Colonel Zephaniah Swift Spalding of Kaua‘i’s Makee Sugar Plantation introduced the first diffusion process plant for manufacturing sugar. Passage of the McKinley Tariff by the United States in 1890 eliminated advantages of sugar producers in the Hawaiian Islands over foreign producers.

Construction of 22 steel cargo vessels was begun by the American-Hawaiian Steamship Company in 1900 for the purpose of transporting sugar. About 68,500 acres were planted with sugar in 1900, up from just 30,000 acres (12,140 ha) in 1880. In the early 1900s, 51 sugar companies operated at least 100 sugar mills.

The Kohala Ditch was completed in 1905 on Hawai‘i Island after 18 months of construction, tapping the rivers of the Kohala mountains to irrigate the region’s sugar plantations. Designed by the well-known hydraulic engineer M. M. O’Shaughnessy, the Kohala Ditch was an engineering feat that included flumes and tunnels spanning 17 miles (27 km), requiring a long and difficult construction process took 17 lives.

A power plant was built by Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company in 1916 to replace steam with electricity for milling sugar. Also in 1916, the Waiāhole tunnel was completed to bring water through the Ko‘olau mountains to central O‘ahu.

The mechanical sugarcane planter was developed in the 1920s, and by 1933 the amount of land in the Hawaiian Islands dedicated to sugar production reached a peak, totaling more than 250,000 acres, with the “Big Five” companies controlling about 96% of the sugar crop. A federal sugar act in 1940 eliminated restrictions on United States sales of sugar refined in the Hawaiian Islands.

On October 17, 1946, one of O‘ahu’s oldest sugar plantations, the Waianae Company Ltd., announced that it would cease operations and sell its land, totalling about 10,000 acres (4,047 ha).

In 1957, annual worker productivity on Hawaiian sugar plantations was the best in the world, reaching 65 tons per worker, up from 20 tons per worker two decades earlier.

Hawai‘i was admitted as the 50th state in 1959, and increases in jet travel allowed tourism to thrive, gradually lessening sugar’s domination of Hawai‘i’s economy. Total revenues from tourism exceeded those of the sugarcane industry for the first time in 1960.

Sugar production in the Hawaiian Islands peaked in 1966, with 1,234,121 tons of raw sugar produced.

Year Pounds of Sugar Exported

1850 750,238 (and 129,432 gallons molasses)

1870 19 million (and 216,662 gallons molasses)

1880 64 million

1890 260 million

1910 1 billion

1932 2 billion

1965 2.4 billion

1966 2.46 billion

A landmark ruling by Judge William S. Richardson in 1973 in the McBryde Sugar Company v. Robinson court case declared that water supplies must remain within their originating watershed.

Richardson’s term in the court was notable for expanding native Hawaiian rights and providing greater access to beaches and the waters around the Islands. Richardson was criticized by the legal profession and others, but championed by the public and by native Hawaiians.

The Sugar Act expired in 1975 and led to the end of quotas and tariffs imposed to maintain prices of United States sugar. Sugar prices increased from 11 to 65 cents per pound.

In subsequent years, many Hawaiian sugar plantations were shut down, including half of the industry when Alexander & Baldwin closed six plantations in 1982.

By 2005, just two sugar mills remain operating in the Hawaiian Islands, Alexander & Baldwin’s Cane & Sugar on Maui and Gay & Robinson’s Olokele Plantation on Kaua‘i.

The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy

In January of 1893, a small group of United States sugar planters and pro-annexation businessmen backed by 162 United States marines from the U.S.S. Boston led an insurrection against Queen Lili‘uokalani [Lydia Kamaka‘eha Pākī-Dominis Lili‘uokalani]. They deposed the queen, abrogated the monarchy, and declared a Provisional Government with the goal of annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States. Hawai‘i’s previous 98 years of rule under eight different monarchs was effectively ended.

The exact events of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy remain the subject of intense historical debate. The basic facts are as follows:

Princess Lili‘uokalani became queen on January 29, 1981. Cabinet Ministers waited for Lili‘uokalani at ‘Iolani Palace to have her swear allegiance to the Bayonet Constitution.

On January 14, 1893, Queen Lili‘uokalani informed her Cabinet members that she planned to proclaim a new constitution at the request of a majority of the Hawaiian people. After the prorogation (closing) of the Legislature at Ali‘iōlani Hale, the queen instructed her Cabinet Ministers to go to ‘Iolani Palace to sign the new constitution, which they had helped prepare.

When the Cabinet Ministers refused to sign the new constitution, Queen Lili‘uokalani decided to defer any action, and gave a speech from the lānai of ‘Iolani Palace, telling the many people outside who were gathered there in anticipation of a new constitution being announced to go home peacefully because she would not be able to declare a new constitution.

A group of annexation supporters then held a meeting and formed the “Committee of Public Safety.” They declared the queen’s actions treasonous, and made plans for a Provisional Government with the goal of eventually annexing the Hawaiian Islands to the United States.

In consultation with United States Minister to Hawai‘i John Leavitt Stevens, the Committee of Public Safety was assured on January 15, 1893 that Stevens would land troops from the U.S.S. Boston if any danger was posed to American lives or property.

The Committee of Public Safety called a meeting for the following day for all supporters of annexation. Supporters of Queen Lili‘uokalani also called for a meeting on the same day.

On January 16, 1893 Queen Lili‘uokalani declared in an official proclamation that changes to the constitution would only be made with the consent of the Legislature. The two mass meetings were held, one by supporters of annexation and the other by supporters of Queen Lili‘uokalani.

U.S. Minister Stevens, ordered the troops from the U.S.S. Boston ashore in Honolulu, saying the action was necessary to protect American lives and property. Stevens claimed the Americans were in danger and had no protection.

Troops from the U.S.S. Boston came ashore at 5 p.m. and marched down King Street past Ali‘iōlani Hale to Arion Hall, across from ‘Iolani Palace. Meanwhile, the Committee of Public Safety met to further their plans for a Provisional Government.

On January 17, 1893 Queen Lili‘uokalani requested assistance from U.S. Minister Stevens, but he refused. The Honolulu Rifles, an armed volunteer group, assembled in Ali‘iōlani Hale in opposition to the loyalist guard across the street at ‘Iolani Palace.

At 2:30 p.m., on the rear veranda of Ali‘iōlani Hale, a Provisional Government was proclaimed by members of the Committee of Public Safety, which included Sanford Dole, the Provisional Government’s first president. U.S. Minister Stevens recognized the Provisional Government as Hawai‘i’s lawful government.

That evening, about 100 armed men gathered around Ali‘iōlani Hale in support of the annexationists. Guards were posted around Ali‘iōlani Hale, the new headquarters of the Provisional Government, drills were held on King Street in front of ‘Iolani Palace.

Martial Law was declared, and troops from the U.S.S. Boston remained nearby. U.S. Minister Stevens raised the United States flag over the Hawaiian Islands on February 1, 1893 and troops from the U.S.S. Boston took over as official guards of Ali‘iōlani Hale, the center of the Provisional Government.

On March 4, 1893, Grover Cleveland succeeded Benjamin Harrison as President of the United States. Cleveland was a Democrat, replacing the pro-annexation administration of Harrison, a Republican.

James H. Blount arrived on March 29, 1893 by order of the President to investigate the events leading to the overthrow of the Hawaiian government. Blount gave orders for the American flag to be taken down and the Hawaiian flag raised, and the United States naval forces were sent back to their ships.

In June, 1893, Sanford Ballard Dole, the President of the Provisional Government, ordered that the government’s executive departments be moved to ‘Iolani Palace, with the garrison occupying the adjacent ‘Iolani Barracks. The Palace location was thought to be better defensively in the case of an attack.

The Provisional Government also passed a resolution renaming ‘Iolani Palace the “Executive Building,” and renaming Ali‘iōlani Hale the “Court House” (it was often called the “Judiciary Building”).

The Blount Report was given to President Cleveland on October 18, 1893. The report blamed the overthrow of the monarchy on U.S. Minister Stevens, and suggested restoring the Hawaiian government. President Cleveland denounced the overthrow as lawless because it was achieved under “false pretexts.”

On November 4, 1893, orders were given by President Cleveland to restore the power of Queen Lili‘uokalani. President Cleveland also sent word that he regretted the “unauthorized intervention” that took away the queen’s sovereignty.

The Provisional Government refused to restore Queen Lili‘uokalani to the throne, saying that only armed conflict would force them to give up power. President Cleveland did not support annexation, but he was reluctant to order the use of force against the group of Americans and their supporters, who were mostly Americans.

The Provisional Government called a Constitutional Convention in May, 1894 to draft the constitution of the Republic of Hawai‘i.” In the courtroom of the Supreme Court at Ali‘iōlani Hale, the new constitution was written by nineteen delegates appointed by the Provisional Government along with 18 elected delegates.

On July 5, 1894, the leaders of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy proclaimed the Republic of Hawai‘i, with Sanford Ballard Dole as president.

On January 6, 1895, a small group of royalists, mostly native Hawaiians in support Queen Lili‘uokalani, attempted a counter-revolution to overthrow the Republic and restore the queen.

The uprising apparently took place without any participation by Queen Lili‘uokalani, who denied any involvement. Hundreds of men were arrested, including Robert W. Wilcox, who was condemned to death, but within a few months he was pardoned.

Martial Law was declared on January 7, 1895 and a military commission was appointed to court-martial Queen Lili‘uokalani and others. Queen Lili‘uokalani was imprisoned in ‘Iolani Palace on January 16, 1895, and on January 24, 1895 she signed a formal abdication calling for the recognition of the Republic of Hawai‘i as the lawful government. Queen Lili‘uokalani later claimed that this abdication was invalid due to coercion, and that she signed the document only to spare the lives of her supporters.

On February 5, 1895, Queen Lili‘uokalani was arraigned before the military commission for treason, a charge that was later changed to misprision of treason (knowing of treason, the attempted counter-revolution, but not disclosing it).

Queen Lili‘uokalani was found guilty of misprision of treason on February 27, 1895 and sentenced to a fine of $5,000 and imprisonment with hard labor for five years. This sentence was not carried out, though Lili‘uokalani remained imprisoned in ‘Iolani Palace for seven months, until September 6, 1895.

She was then confined to Washington Place until February 6, 1896, and then island-restricted until October 6, 1896. Queen Lili‘uokalani’s freedom was restricted for 21 months in all, from Jan. 16, 1895 until October 6 1896.

Martial Law in the Hawaiian Islands was ended on March 19, 1895. In all, 37 people were found guilty of treason and open rebellion, 141 guilty of treason, and 12 guilty of misprision.

Twenty-two people were exiled to the United States. President McKinley succeeded President Cleveland in 1897, and Queen Lili‘uokalani visited Washington D.C. to petition McKinley to restore the rights of the Hawaiian people, but her petition was not acted upon. (See AnnexationThe Kū‘ē Petitions.)

The Provisional Government sent a petition to Washington D.C. in 1897, and on June 16, 1897 President McKinley sent an annexation treaty to the Senate. Queen Lili‘uokalani submitted a formal protest, which was ineffective.

The United States Senate later claimed that President McKinley’s act of sending the bill to the United States Senate amounted to a recognition of Hawai‘i’s Provisional Government.

While acknowledging that the native monarchy was overthrown, they claimed that McKinley’s recognition of the Provisional Government meant the facts would not be reviewed further by the United States.

The Waikīkī Beachboys

In 1897, native Hawaiians in Waikīkī organized Hui Pākākā Nalu, charging tourists for ocean canoe rides. This was the forerunner of the Waikīkī Beachboys, a name given to a group of water sports instructors working on the beaches fronting the Royal Hawaiian and Moana Hotels from the 1920s to the 1950s. The first Waikīkī Beach Patrol was organized in the 1930s.

Many of the Beachboys had colorful names such as Toots, Chick, Steamboat, and Turkey. One of the most famous of the Beachboys was the legendary surfer and Olympic gold medallist Duke Kahanamoku.

Duke and other local surfers founded Hui Nalu (Club of the Waves) in 1911, and many of the club members eventually became Waikīkī Beachboys. Their clients along Waikīkī’s beachfront were mostly wealthy visitors who wanted to surf or ride an outrigger canoe in the waves. Clients also included Hawaiian royalty as well as the general public.

Many visitors to Waikīkī stayed for lengthy periods of time, and the Beachboys developed friendships with them, sharing the aloha spirit and insights into Hawaiian culture. There were also many gifted musicians among the Beachboys. Rumors of the Beachboys’ amorous adventures abounded, as they had many female clients.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States entered World War II and Martial Law was imposed in the Islands, ending the carefree lifestyle many had known. The golden era of the Waikīkī Beachboys was over. In 1973, the Waikīkī Beachboys Canoe Club was formed to restore the original image of Waikīkī Beachboys, who embodied not only surfing and canoe paddling skills, but also a generous and open-hearted spirit of aloha.

[Photograph: Ala Wai Canal]

Aloha ‘Oe

Proudly sweeps the rain clouded by the cliffs

As onward it glides through the trees

It seems to be following the liko

The ‘āhihi lehua of the vale


Farewell to thee, farewell to thee

Thou charming one who dwells among the bowers

One fond embrace before I now depart

Until we meet again.

AnnexationThe Kū‘ē Petitions

After the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, a small but powerful group of residents of the Hawaiian Islands led the movement for annexation of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States. Annexation was also supported by many in Washington D.C., including President McKinley, a veteran of the U.S. Civil War and an avowed imperialist who was eager to increase the international prominence of the United States.

A large number of native Hawaiians, however, opposed annexation just as they had opposed the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. On September 7, 1897, two native Hawaiian groups held a mass rally at Palace Square in front of ‘Iolani Palace to begin a petition drive against annexation.

Another anti-annexation rally took place on October 8, 1897 to counter a visit to the Islands by pro-annexation senator John Morgan of Alabama.

The two groups formed in support of Queen Lili‘uokalani [Lydia Kamaka‘eha Pākī-Dominis Lili‘uokalani] after the 1893 overthrow were Hui Kalai‘āina, formed in 1887 by native Hawaiians opposed to King Kalākaua’s signing of the Bayonet Constitution, and Hui Aloha ‘Āina (one for men (Hui Aloha ‘Āina o Na Kane) and one for women (Hui Aloha ‘Āina o Na Wahine)).

Thousands of native Hawaiians united in their opposition to annexation attended the rally and then set about getting signatures from residents of all the Hawaiian Islands.

The Hui Aloha ‘Āina petition against annexation was titled “Palapala Hoopii Kue Hoohui Aina a Ka Lahui” (“Petition of the Nation Protesting Annexation,”) and contained 21,269 signatures. The population of the native Hawaiians at this time was about 40,000.

The Hui Kalai‘āina petition contained 17,000 signatures, and called for the restoration of the Hawaiian monarchy. (Note: The location of the Hui Kalai‘āina petition remains a mystery.) These signed documents are known as the Kū‘ē Petitions (kū‘ē means “to oppose, or protest”).

Agreeing that the main goal was preventing annexation, group leaders decided to present only the Hui Aloha ‘Āina petition to the U.S. government in order to avoid showing a division of opinion.

James Keauiluna Kaulia, the president of Aloha ‘Āina, and David Kalauokalani, the president of Hui Kala‘āina, traveled to Washington D.C. and in December of 1897 consulted with Queen Lili‘uokalani before presenting the petitions to Senators Hoar and Pettigrew.

Traveling to Washington were four Hawaiians: James Kaulia, David Kalauokalani, William Auld, and John Richardson. During the decade after annexation, the deposed Queen Lili‘uokalani made five more trips to the United States to appeal for a settlement of the disputed Crown lands and fair treatment for the Hawaiian people.

The 566 pages of signatures were sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and then discussed on the Senate floor in front of the whole Senate. (Note: The anti-annexation petitions, 556 pages in all, are now in the National Archives of the United States on the Mall in Washington D.C..)

Queen Lili‘uokalani also presented an Official Protest to the Treaty of Annexation on June 17, 1897. The protest states, in part, “I declare such a treaty to be an act of wrong toward the native and part-native people of Hawaii, an invasion of the rights of the ruling chiefs, in violation of international rights both toward my people and toward friendly nations with whom they have made treaties, the perpetuation oft he fraud whereby the constitutional government was overthrown, and, finally, an act of gross injustice to me.”[iv]

By the time the native Hawaiian representatives left Washington D.C. in February, 1898, they had succeeded in persuading numerous pro-annexation senators to change their minds, leaving the Senate twelve votes short of passing the treaty (a 2/3 majority was required for ratification) and successfully stalling the political process of annexation.

Some Senators pushed for a vote among the residents of the Hawaiian Islands, but pro-annexation Senators opposed this as they knew a vote would doom their cause.

On June 15, 1898, the Spanish-American War moved to the Pacific’s Spanish Philippines, and the Hawaiian Islands became strategically important as a coaling base for the United States fleet.

On July 6, 1898, a simple majority passed a Joint Resolution of Congress approving annexation. Known as the Newlands Resolution (after Congressman Frances Newlands), it was signed by President McKinley on July 7, 1898, and thus the Hawaiian Islands were annexed to the United States.

The official transfer of power from the Republic of Hawai‘i to the United States took place on August 12, 1898. The Hawaiian flag at ‘Iolani Palace was taken down and replaced with the United States flag, which was raised over the Territory of Hawai‘i, with Sanford Ballard Dole as the first governor.

About 1.8 million acres (.73 million ha) of Hawaiian Crown lands and government lands were ceded to the federal government as a result of annexation.

The Newlands Resolution

Annexing Hawai‘i to the United States

“Whereas, the Government of the Republic of Hawai‘i having, in due form, signified its consent, in the manner provided by its constitution, to cede absolutely and without reserve to the United States of America all rights of sovereignty of whatsoever kind in and over the Hawaiian Islands and their dependencies, and also to cede and transfer to the United States the absolute fee and ownership of all public, Government, or Crown lands, public buildings or edifices, ports, harbors, military equipment, and all other public property of every kind and description belonging to the Government of the Hawaiian Islands.”

“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress Assembled, that said cession is accepted, ratified, and confirmed, and that the said Hawaiian Islands and their dependencies be, and they are hereby, annexed as a part of the territory of the United States and are subject to the sovereign dominion thereof, and that all and singular the property and rights hereinbefore mentioned are vested in the United States of America.”

“The existing treaties of the Hawaiian Islands with foreign nations shall forthwith cease and determine, being replaced by such treaties as may exist, or as may be hereafter concluded, between the United States and such foreign nations.”

Approved July 7th, 1898

William McKinley

Princess Ka‘iulaniHeir to a Vanished Throne

Princess Ka‘iulani (1875-1899), the niece of Queen Lili‘uokalani [Lydia Kamaka‘eha Pākī-Dominis Lili‘uokalani] and King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua], was proclaimed heir apparent to the Hawaiian Kingdom when Queen Lili‘uokalani ascended to the throne in 1891.

Princess Ka‘iulani was the daughter of Archibald Scott Cleghorn and Miriam Likelike (the sister of King Kalākaua and Queen Lili‘uokalani). Her full name was Victoria Kawēkiu J. Lunalilo Kalaninuiahilapalapa Ka‘iulani Cleghorn.

The young princess attended boarding school in England, and was a talented artist, musician, horseback rider and swimmer. She was also active in many charitable causes.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850—1894) had visited Princess Ka‘iulani in Waikīkī, and when she departed for England he wrote a celebrated poem:

Forth from her land to mine she goes,

The island maid, the island rose,

Light of heart and bright of face

The daughter of a double race.

Her islands here in Southern sun

Shall mourn their Kaiulani gone.

And I, in her dear banyan’s shade,

Look vainly for my little maid.

But our Scots Islands far away

Shall glitter with unwanted day,

And cast for once their tempest by

To smile in Kaiulani’s eye.

Robert Louis Stevenson, 1889

Princess Ka‘iulani had many peacocks (also known by the Hawaiian word pīkake), and she was referred to by some as the “Princess of the Peacocks.”

The birds roamed the gardens of fragrant, white Arabian jasmine flowers at Princess Ka‘iulani’s spacious Waikīkī estate known as ‘Āinahau, which was built by her father, Archibald Scott Cleghorn, the governor of O‘ahu, and was the palace of her uncle, King Kalākaua [David La‘amea Kalākaua].

The blossom of the white Arabian jasmine flower was a favorite of Princess Ka‘iulani. From its association with the young princess, the Arabian jasmine flower later became known by the Hawaiian term pīkake.

On March 6, 1899, at the age of 23, the last Hawaiian princess passed away at ‘Āinahau, where her favored flowers grew and where her peacocks roamed.

The princess had become ill after going horseback riding in a rainstorm, and though her death was attributed to a fever, many believe she died of a broken heart as the last Hawaiian princess and heiress to a vanished throne. On the night she died the peacocks (pīkake) are said to have made extremely loud vocal displays of their grief.

[i] p. 194, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 1803.

[ii] p. 275, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 2520.

[iii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[iv] Official Protest to the Treaty of Annexation: Presented by Lili‘uokalani in Washington D.C., June 17, 1897. Internet site: http://hawaiii-nation.org/treatyprot.html, 6/14/2005.