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Her Majesty Lili‘uokalani, Queen of Hawai‘i

Queen Lili‘uokalani of Hawai‘i (September 2, 1838 - November 11, 1917), given the Christian name Lydia Lili‘uokalani and later named Lydia K. Dominis, was the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i.

On September 16, 1862, she married John Owen Dominis, who became Governor of O‘ahu and Maui. They had no children; Lili‘uokalani's heiress for several years was her niece Victoria Ka‘iulani (1875–1899), although Ka‘iulani predeceased her.

Lili‘uokalani inherited the throne from her brother Kalākaua on January 17, 1891. Shortly after she gained power, she tried to enact a new constitution, since the existing consititution, known as the Bayonet Constitution limited her power and the political power of native Hawaiians. American interests within the Kingdom were concerned about foreign tariffs in the American sugar trade, and considered annexing Hawai‘i as a means to protect their business. As a result, the American minister in Hawai‘i at the time, John L. Stevens, ordered troops from the U.S.S. Boston ashore, under the guise of protecting ‘Iolani Palace and other governmental buildings. The Queen was deposed in 1893, and a provisional government was instituted.

The American government believed the people of Hawai‘i sided with the Queen and that the overthrowing of Lili‘uokalani was illegal and offered to give the throne back to her if she pardoned everyone responsible. She refused, partially because of the force used against both her and her property, involving such items as stones and firearms, designed to make her leave. With this development, then-President Grover Cleveland sent the issue to the United States Congress. On July 4, 1894, the Republic of Hawai‘i was proclaimed and Sanford B. Dole, one of the first people who originally called on the institution of the monarchy to be abolished, became President. It was recognized immediately by the United States government.

Lili‘uokalani was arrested on January 16, 1895 (several days after a failed counterrevolution by Robert Wilcox) when firearms were found in the gardens of her home; she denied knowing that they were there. She was thereafter confined to a small room in ‘Iolani Palace until she was released in 1896, with the establishment of the Republic of Hawai'i. She went home to Washington Place, where she lived as a private citizen until her death in 1917 due to complications from a stroke. Hawai‘i was annexed to the United States through a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress in 1898.

Lili‘uokalani was also an accomplished author and songwriter. Her book, Hawai‘i's Story by Hawai‘i's Queen, told the history of her country. Some of her best-known musical compositions include the anthem, "Aloha ‘Oe," which she composed during her captivity. This was the end of the Hawaiian Monarchy.

The statue of Queen Lili‘uokalani on the grounds of the State Capitol in Honolulu, Hawai‘i
The statue of Queen Lili‘uokalani on the grounds of the State Capitol in Honolulu, Hawai‘i

Further reading

External links

Preceded by:
Queen of Hawai‘i
1891 - 1893
Succeeded by:

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