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|Discovery||Hawaiian Aliis||Tikis||Maneki Neko|
|Hawaiian Royalty (Aliis)|
The Hawaiian Monarchy endured from 1795 when Kamehameha was proclaimed King of Hawaii until 1893 when Queen Liliuokalani was dethroned. In this relatively short time, Hawaii was transformed from a primitive island "paradise", ruled by native chiefs, to a bustling agricultural and commercial center coveted by the most powerful nations of the world.
King Kamehameha I - the Great (ca 1755-1819)
|When Captain Cook discovered Hawaii in 1778, each of the islands was ruled by its own high chief or a group of chiefs. One of these was Kamehameha, a bold and brilliant warrior who undertook unification of the islands by military conquest. In 1795 Kamehameha was proclaimed king of all Hawaii except distant Kauai. Under his firm rule the islands enjoyed long years of peace and a stability previously unknown. White men arrived in increasing numbers bringing livestock, fruits and plants never before seen.|
They also brought disease and whiskey. Kamehameha encouraged his people to accept the white man's methods of agriculture and carpentry while retaining the old Hawaiian gods and customs. When he died, his bones were stripped of their flesh and hidden by his most trusted friends in accordance with the ancient customs. To this day the site of Kamehameha's burial remains unknown.
King Kamehameha II (Liholiho) (1797-1824)
|Liholiho, son of Kamehameha and Keopuolani, became King Kamehameha II in 1819. The young king was dominated by the strong-willed kuhina nui, Kaahumanu, who persuaded him to break one of the most rigidly enforced kapus, requiring separation of the sexes at meals. Liholiho challenged the ancient gods, in the presence of hundreds of native commoners, by feasting with the women. As the gods took no revenge for this sacrilege, the emboldened king ordered destruction of their many temples and images throughout the islands.|
By this act, the most notable of his reign, Liholiho destroyed
the only religion the Hawaiians knew, thus leaving a clear field for the Protestant
missionaries who, incidentally, began arriving in the islands only six months
later. In 1824 Liholiho and his favorite wife. Queen Kamamalu, a six-foot seven-inch
chiefess, contracted measles during a visit to England. They both died in London
but their bodies were returned to Hawaii for burial.
|King Kalakaua (1836 - 1891)|
David Laamea Kamanakaupuu Lumialani Kalakaua, known to his intimates as "Taffy"; and to history as the "Merry Monarch" was a handsome, charming, and intelligent man. His most important achievement was negotiation of a Reciprocity Treaty with the United States, which established duty-free trade and brought unprecedented prosperity to the islands. But the gregarious king's fondness for the trappings of royalty strained his personal finances as well as those of his little kingdom.
lolani Palace in Honolulu was completed in 1882 at a cost of
$350,000?a huge sum in those days. Expensive furnishings for the palace, elegant
gowns and military uniforms for the royal court, and extensive foreign travel
further strained the royal treasury. The taxpayers screamed! Toward the end
of Kalakaua's reign, growing opposition by non-Hawaiian residents?they paid
the bulk of the taxes forced the harassed king to accept a new constitution
which deprived him of almost all of his powers. Thereafter, Kalakaua's spirit
as well as his health declined. In 1891 he died in San Francisco where he had
gone to try to regain his health.
Queen Lilluokalani (1838-1917)
The last of the Hawaiian monarchs was a brilliant and talented woman. Liliuokalani composed many lovely songs including the poignant "Aloha Oe" which, strangely, foreshadowed the tragic events of her short reign.The Queen's troubles began almost immediately as she tried to regain the power surrendered to the Legislature by her brother, King Kalakaua.
The politically powerful, non-Hawaiian interests were intent on overthrowing the monarchy and establishing a republican form of government, with the ultimate goal of annexation by the United States. In January 1893 the annexationists were successful in forcing Liliuokalani to surrender to a provisional government. A plot to return the ex-queen to power failed in 1895, and Liliuokalani and many of her followers were tried for treason, convicted, and imprisoned. Liliuokalani was released shortly, but her attempts to persuade the United States government to restore her to the throne proved futile.
|Princess Kaiulani (1875-1899)|
Her story is one of romance and tragedy, the short life
of a beautiful princess whose kingdom was stolen away from her. Of all
the events connected with the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy, the
most touching concern this lovely heiress to a throne that ceased to exist
while she was preparing herself to occupy it.
The family home at Ainahau, after a period of mourning, continued
to be one of the- most- popular settings for Honolulu's elite.--- Perhaps the
most interesting visitor of all, from the young princess's viewpoint, was Robert
Louis Stevenson who sailed into Honolulu Harbor in January 1889.- He became
friends with King Kalakaua who intro?duced him to Kaiulani and her father. Stevenson
was thoroughly captivated by the beautiful- young- Scots-Hawaiian princess.--
The fascination was mutual and they spent long hours conversing together under
the large banyan tree that stood in front of their house at Ainahau.
When she became thirteen, it was felt the Kaiulani should have an education befitting a future occupant of the Hawaiian throne. She became the first member of the Hawaiian royalty to receive the kind of training traditionally given to the children of European monarchs in preparation for ascending to the throne.
Princess Kaiulani sailed to England, via San Francisco, in 1889 and it was to be eight long years before the lovely young woman returned to her native islands. During her stay in Europe, she traveled widely and was taught French, German, literature and other subjects, including the social graces expected of one in her high position.
In January of 1893, Kaiulani was to hear that the Monarchy had been over?thrown and that a Provisional Govern?ment had taken power. This bad news had its effect on the vulnerable young princess and her health began to falter under the pressure. She was homesick to begin with and increasingly felt that she belonged back in Hawaii where she could at least take part in events and help her people, who had been taken over by a government that did not represent their aspirations.
Princess Kaiulani journeyed to Wash?ington and sought an audience with President Cleveland to plead the cause of the legitimate Monarchy against the usurpers of the Provisional Government who, at the same time were busily lobby?ing for annexation by the U.S. govern?ment. The gentle and aristocratic bearing of the exotically beautiful princess captivated the American public which in general sympathized with her plight. The President appointed a commissioner to investigate the situation in Hawaii, an action which frustrated the Provisional for many months.
Having done what she could, Kaiulani returned to Europe to resume her studies. She came home to Hawaii in 1897. Although- the- Royalist- cause- was desperate, the fight continued. Hawaiians referred to Kaiulani as "Our Last Hope." Finally, in 1898, Hawaii was annexed to the United States and Kaiulani's right to become Queen of her nation was lost for all time.
For some time her health had been fragile and soon she came down with a fever. She did not improve and was brought back to Honolulu by ship. In her home at Ainahau the doctors diagnosed her condition as rheumatism of the heart complicated by other symptoms. After a lingering illness. Princess Kaiulani died, surrounded by her heartbroken father, friends and relatives. Thus passed, at only twenty-three years, a beautiful fairytale princess, Hawaii's "Last Hope". With her death a romantic era faded into the mist of the past. Hawaii entered the matter-of-fact, coldly realistic 20th century.
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