(2 September 1838 â 11 November
1917), born Lydia Kamaka eha
Kaola Mali i Lili
uokalani, was the last monarch
of the Kingdom of Hawai i
. She was also known as
Lydia Kamaka eha PÄkÄ«
, with the
chosen royal name of Lili uokalani, and she was later named
Kaolupoloni K. Dominis.
Lili uokalani was born on 2 September 1838 to High Chieftess
and High Chief
Caesar Kaluaiku Kapa akea
accordance with Hawaiian tradition, she was adopted at birth by
and his wife
. Liliuokalaniâs childhood
years were spent studying and playing with her foster sister
, the PÄkÄ«s'
The Premier Elizabeth KÄ«na u
developed an eye infection at the time of Lili u's birth. She gave
her the names Lili u (smarting), Loloku (tearful), Walania (a
burning pain), and Kamaka eha (sore eyes), translated as Lydia
Smarting Tearful Anguish the Sore Eyes
. Lili u's brother
changed it when he named her Crown Princess, calling her Lili
uokalani, "the smarting of the royal ones".
uokalani received her education at the Royal
School (originally known as the Chiefs' Children School),
and became fluent in English.
She attended the school with
her two elder brothers James
.Liliuokalani was one of 15 children.
September 1862, Lili uokalani married John Owen Dominis, who became Governor of
O ahu and Maui.
Although Lili uokalani's named successor was her niece Princess Ka iulani
(1875â1899), Ka iulani
predeceased her. Lili uokalani had three hanai
children: Lydia Ka onohiponiponiokalani Aholo; Kaiponohea Ae a, the
son of a retainer; and John Dominis.
In 1874, Lunalilo
, who was elected to
succeed Kamehameha V
to the Hawaiian
throne, died and left no heir to succeed to the throne. In the
election that followed, Lili u's brother, David KalÄkaua
, ran against Queen Emma, the
widowed Queen of Kamehameha IV
uokalani sided with her family on the issue and a sort of quarrel
developed between the KalÄkaua family and Queen Emma. Lili u denied
that Emma had any claims to the throne other than those derived
from her dead husband. The KalÄkaua family strongly stated that
was the ancestor of Queen
Emma rather than Kealiimakai
this would give the dowager Queen no claim as the great-grandniece
of Kamehameha the Great
party viewed themselves as the greatest chief and the rightful heir
the throne of the Kamehamehas.
In the election that followed, KalÄkaua won a majority of the vote
of the Legislature and was anointed the new king of Hawaii. Queen
Emma never forgave Lili u and her position in the family which was
chosen to reign over the Hawaiian people. Lili u said: "It did not
trouble me at all, but I simply allowed her to remain in the
position in which she chose to place herself." One of the first
acts of KalÄkaua was to name his brother heir-apparent. He also
granted other royal titles to his two surviving sisters, Lili
uokalani and Likelike
. With Lili u's
younger brother's death in 1876, the position of heir-apparent
became vacant. Princess Ruth
offered to fill the spot of her adoptive son; this
suggestion was placed before the king's counselors at a cabinet
meeting, but it was objected on the grounds that, if her petition
was granted, then Bernice Pauahi
would be the next heir to the throne, as they were first
At noon on 10 April 1877, the booming of the cannon was heard; this
announced that Lili uokalani was heir apparent to the throne of
Hawaii. From that point on, she was referred to as "Crown Princess"
with the name Lili uokalani, given to her by her brother. One of
her first acts as Crown Princess was to tour the island of O ahu
with her husband, sister, and brother-in-law.
1887, KalÄkaua sent a delegation to attend the Golden Jubilee of England's Queen Victoria.
While on the trip, she learned of the Bayonet Constitution
that KalÄkaua had
been forced, under the threat of death, to sign. She was so upset
that she canceled a tour of the rest of Europe and returned to
Hawai i at once.
The statue of Queen Lili uokalani on
the grounds of the State Capitol in Honolulu, Hawai i
Lili uokalani inherited the throne from her brother KalÄkaua
on 29 January 1891. Shortly after
ascending the throne, petitions from her people began to be
received from the two major political parties of the time, mainly
Hui Kala'aina and the National Reform Party. Believing she had the
support of her cabinet and that to ignore such a general request
from her people would be against the popular will, she moved to
abrogate the existing 1887 Bayonet
, by drafting a new constitution that would restore
the veto power to the monarchy and voting rights to economically
disenfranchised Native Hawaiians and Asians. The effort to draft a
new constitution was not successful.
Threatened by the queen's proposed new constitution, American and
European businessmen and residents organized to depose Lili
uokalani, asserting that the queen had "virtually abdicated" by
refusing to support the 1887 Constitution. Business interests
within the Kingdom were also upset about what they viewed as "poor
governance" of the Kingdom, as well as the U.S. removal of foreign
tariffs in the sugar
due to the McKinley
. The tariff eliminated the favored status of Hawaiian
sugar guaranteed by the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875
American and Europeans actively sought annexation to the United
States so that their business might enjoy the same sugar bounties
as domestic producers. In addition to these concerns, Lili'uokalani
believed that American businessmen, like Charles R. Bishop,
expressed an anxiety concerning a female head of state.
Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom
On 14 January 1893, a group composed of Americans and Europeans
formed a Committee of
seeking to overthrow the Hawaiian Kingdom, depose the
Queen, and seek annexation to the United States. As the coup d'Ã©tat
was unfolding on 17 January the Committee of Safety expressed
concern for the safety and property of American citizens. In
response, United States Government Minister John L. Stevens
summoned a company of U.S. Marines
from the USS Boston
companies of U.S. Navy sailors to take up positions at the U.S.
Legation, Consulate, and Arion Hall. On the afternoon of 16 January
1893, 162 sailors and Marines
aboard the USS Boston
in Honolulu Harbor came
ashore under orders of neutrality. Historian William Russ has noted
that the presence of these troops, ostensibly to enforce neutrality
and prevent violence, effectively made it impossible for the
monarchy to protect itself.
The Queen was deposed on 17 January 1893 and temporarily
relinquished her throne to "the superior military forces of the
United States". She had hoped the United States, like
Britain earlier in Hawaiian history, would restore Hawaii's
sovereignty to the rightful holder.
Queen Liliuokalani issued the following statement yielding her
authority to the United States Government rather than to the
A provisional government, composed of European and American
businessmen, was then instituted until annexation with the United
States could be achieved. On 1 February 1893, the US Minister
(ambassador) to Hawaii proclaimed Hawaii a protectorate of the
The administration of Grover
commissioned the Blount
, and based on its findings, concluded that the overthrow
of Lili uokalani was illegal, and that U.S. Minister Stevens and
American military troops had acted inappropriately in support of
those who carried out the overthrow. On 16 November 1893 Cleveland
proposed to return the throne back to her if she granted amnesty to
everyone responsible. She initially refused, and it was reported
that she said she would have them beheaded â she denied that
specific accusation, but admitted that she intended them to suffer
the punishment of banishment. With this development, then-President
sent the issue to
the United States Congress
She later changed her position on the issue of punishment for the
conspirators, and on 18 December 1893 U.S. Minister Willis demanded
her reinstatement by the Provisional Government. The Provisional
Government refused. Congress responded to Cleveland's referral with
a U.S. Senate investigation that resulted in the Morgan Report
on 26 February 1894. The Morgan
Report found all parties (including Minister Stevens), with the
exception of the queen, "not guilty" from any responsibility for
the overthrow. The accuracy and impartiality of both the Blount and
Morgan reports has been questioned by partisans on both sides of
the historical debate over the events of 1893.
On 4 July
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. The Republic of Hawai i was recognized by the United
States government as a protectorate, although Walter Q. Gresham
, Cleveland's Secretary of State,
remained antagonistic towards the new government.
Lili uokalani was arrested on 16 January 1895 (several days after a
failed rebellion by Robert
) when firearms
were found in the
gardens of her home, of which she denied any knowledge.
sentenced to five years of hard labor in prison by a military
tribunal and fined $5,000, but the sentence was commuted to
imprisonment in an upstairs bedroom of Iolani Palace, where she composed many famous songs including The
Queen's Prayer (Ke Aloha o Ka Haku) and began work on her memoirs,
Hawai i's Story by Hawai i's Queen.
During her imprisonment, she abdicated her throne in return for the
release (and commutation of the death sentences) of her jailed
supporters, including Minister Joseph
, Prince Kawananakoa, Robert Wilcox, and Prince Jonah
Before ascending the throne, for fourteen years, or
since the date of my proclamation as heir apparent, my official
title had been simply Liliuokalani.
Thus I was proclaimed both Princess Royal and
Thus it is recorded in the archives of the government
to this day.
The Provisional Government nor any other had enacted
any change in my name.
All my official acts, as well as my private letters,
were issued over the signature of Liliuokalani.
But when my jailers required me to sign ("Liliuokalani
Dominis,") I did as they commanded.
Their motive in this as in other actions was plainly to
humiliate me before my people and before the world.
I saw in a moment, what they did not, that, even were I
not complying under the most severe and exacting duress, by this
demand they had overreached themselves.
There is not, and never was, within the range of my
knowledge, any such a person as Liliuokalani Dominis.
, "Hawaii's Story By Hawaii's
Following her release, she was placed under house arrest for a year
and in 1896, the Republic of Hawai i gave her a full pardon and
restored her civil rights.
She then made several trips to the United States to protest against
the annexation by the United States and attended the inauguration
of US President McKinley with a Republic of Hawai i passport
personally issued to "Lili uokalani of Hawai i" by President
In 1898, Hawai i became an incorporated territory of the United
States during the Spanish American War and took control of the of
land that formerly was held in trust by the monarchy and known as
"Crown Land". This later would become the source of the "Ceded Lands
" issue in Hawai i.
In 1900, the US Congress passed the Hawai i Organic Act
From 1905 to 1907, the Queen entered claims against the U.S.
totaling $450,000 for property and other losses, claiming personal
ownership of the crown lands, but was unsuccessful. The territorial
legislature of Hawaii finally voted her an annual pension of $4,000
and permitted her to receive the income from a sugar plantation of
6,000 acres (24 kmÂ²), which was the private property of her
late brother before his election as king.
In 1910, Liliuokalani brought an unsuccessful lawsuit against the
United States seeking compensation under the Fifth Amendment for
the loss of the Hawaiian crown land.
The Queen was also remembered for her support of Buddhist
in Hawai i and became one of the first Native Hawaiians to attend a
(Buddha's Birthday) celebration
of 19 May 1901 at the Honwangji mission. Her attendance in the
celebration had helped Buddhism and Shintoism gain acceptance into
Hawai i's society and prevented the possible banning of those two
religions by the Territorial government. Her presence was also
widely reported in Chinese and Japanese newspapers throughout the
world and earned her the respect of many Japanese both in Hawai i
and in Japan itself.
Place until her death in 1917 due to complications from a
She was 79.
Upon her death, Lili uokalani dictated in her will that all of her
possessions and properties be sold and the money raised would go to
the Queen Lili uokalani Children's Trust to help orphaned and
indigent children. The Queen Lili uokalani Trust Fund is still in
Lili uokalani was an accomplished author
. Her book, Hawai i's Story by Hawai i's
, gave her view of the history of her country and her
overthrow and therefore became the first Native Hawaiian female
author. Lili uokalani was known for her musical talent. Lili'u is
said to have played guitar
. She also
sang alto, performing Hawaiian and English sacred and secular
music. She would find herself in music. In her memoirs she
To compose was as natural to me as to breathe; and this
gift of nature, never having been suffered to fall into disuse,
remains a source of the greatest consolation to this day.[â¦] Hours
of which it is not yet in place to speak, which I might have found
long and lonely, passed quickly and cheerfully by, occupied and
soothed by the expression of my thoughts in music.
Lili uokalani helped preserve key elements of Hawaii's traditional
poetics while mixing in Western harmonies brought by the
missionaries. A compilation of her works, titled The Queen's
was published in 1999 by Lili uokalani Trust.
The story of Lili uokalani inspired Paul Abraham
for his operetta Die
Blume von Hawaii
Footnotes and citations
- History of the Hawaiian Kingdom By Norris W. Potter, Lawrence
M. Kasdon, Ann Rayson
- Kuykendall, R.S. (1967) The Hawaiian Kingdom, 1874â1893.
Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, p. 474.
- The Bayonet Constitution was named because it had been signed
by the previous monarch under threat of violence from a militia
composed of armed American and Europeans calling themselves the
- Daws, G. (1974) Shoal of Time: A History of the Hawaiian
Islands. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, p. 271.
- See Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's
- Dougherty, Michael. "To Steal A Kingdom".
- Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen, Chapter
- Kuykendall, R.S. (1967) The Hawaiian Kingdom, 1874â1893.
Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, p. 648.
- Hawaii Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand by
- The Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 52, No. 3 (August
1983), pp. 292â311 "Morality and Spite: Walter Q. Gresham and U.S.
Relations with Hawaii".
- Liliuokalani 1898, p. 275.
- Slack Key Recordings: To Honor a Queen - E
Ho'ohiwahiwa I Ka Mo'i Wahine - The Music of Lili'uokalani
- Joachim Reisaus, The Return of "Blume von Hawaii"
to Leipzig, (German)