Natural Hawai'i

Territorial History

Queen Liliuokalani Relinquishes Throne

Queen Liliuokalani

Hawaii history

Queen Liliuokalani (1891-1893) was even more determined than Kalakaua to strengthen the power of the monarchy. However, in January 1893, as Liliuokalani was about to proclaim a new constitution to restore royal powers, a group of white business men, with the aid of armed US troops, declared the monarchy overthrown. They announced a provisional government led by Sanford Dole, son of a pioneer missionary. Wanting to avoid bloodshed, the queen stepped down.

The provisional government immediately appealed to the US for annexation, while the queen appealed to the US to restore the monarchy. The provisional government, gained firm power and turned a deaf ear to President Cleveland when he issued an order restoring the queen to her throne.

doleThe new government, with Dole as president, inaugurated itself as the Republic of Hawaii on July 4, 1894.

Liliuokalani spent the rest of her life in her husband’s residence, Washington Place, one block from the palace where she died in November 1917.


With Theodore Roosevelt as Secretary of the Navy, and with the Spanish-American War of 1898, Americans suddenly acquired a taste for expansionism.

Hawaii historyHawaii and Pearl Harbor took on a new importance because of the US’s newly acquired possession, the Philippines. Annexation of Hawaii passed in the US Congress on July 7, 1898. Soon after annexation, the US Navy set up huge Pacific headquarters at Pearl Harbor.

Descendants of the early missionaries had taken over, first the land and now the government. Hawaiians had lost their islands to ambitious foreigners, without ever having fought a single battle against a foreign power. All in all, as far as the native Hawaiians were concerned, the annexation wasn’t anything to celebrate.

The Chinese and Japanese were also uneasy. One of the reasons for the initial reluctance of the US Congress to annex Hawaii had been the racial mix of the islands’ population. There were already restrictions on Chinese immigration to America, and restrictions on Japanese seemed likely to follow.

In a rush to avoid a labor shortage, the sugar plantation owners quickly brought 70,000 Japanese immigrants into Hawaii. By the time the immigration wave was over, the Japanese accounted for over 40% of Hawaii’s population.In the years since the reciprocity agreement, sugar production had increased tenfold. Those who ruled the land ruled the government and closer bonding with the US didn’t change the formula. In 1900, US President McKinley appointed Sanford Dole the first territorial governor.


In 1922, James Dole, a cousin of Sanford, purchased the island of Lanai and turned it into the world’s largest pineapple plantation. Although sugar remained king in export value, the more labor-intensive pineapple eventually surpassed it in terms of employment. Today, nearly the entire island of Lanai is owned by Castle and Cooke, the real estate arm of Dole Pineapple.

Hawaii historyWorld World I

The islands were relatively untouched by World War 1, but the war affected people in Hawaii in other ways. Heinrich Hackfeld, a German sea captain long settled in the islands, had established Hawaii’s most successful merchandise stores, B F Ehler’s and Company. He had also developed a real estate empire rooted in sugar, purchasing Lahaina’s Pioneer Mill, among other properties. He lost it all during WW 1 when anti-German sentiments forced Hackfeld to liquidate his holdings. American Factors (Amfac) took over his properties, renaming the stores Liberty House, which are still in existence in Hawaii today.

Hawaii history
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