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Queen Liliuokalani

From: United States: Hawaii
Fields: Government and Politics
Key Words/Phrases: Queen of Hawaii
Liliuokalani was the last queen of the Hawaiian Islands. Her rule lasted from 1891 to 1895. She was born Lydia Paki Kamekeha Liliuokalani in 1838. Her parents were councillors to King Kamehameha III. Young Lydia attended the Royal School which was run by American missionaries. In 1862 she married John Owen Dominis but he died shortly after she ascended the throne.

Liliuokalani's brother, King David Kalakaua, ascended the throne in 1874. He gave much governing power to a cabinet composed of Americans. As a result, new constitution was passed which gave voting rights to foreign residents but denied these rights to most Hawaiian natives. Liliuokalani succeeded to the throne upon the death of her brother in 1891. When she attempted to restore some of the power of the monarchy that had been lost during the reign of her brother, she encountered the revolt by the American colonists who controlled most of Hawaii's economy. In 1893, U.S. marines called in by a U.S. minister occupied the government buildings in Honolulu and deposed the queen. The colonists, led by Sanford Dole, applied for the annexation of the islands to the United States. Queen Liliuokalani appealed to the U.S. President Grover Cleveland for reinstatement.

Ignoring President Cleveland's orders, Dole established a provisional government in Hawaii. His forces put down the revolt by the royalists and jailed many of the queen's supporters. In 1895 Queen Liliuokalani was put under the house arrest in the Iolani Palace for eight months, after which she abdicated in return for the release of her jailed supporters. In 1898 the Hawaiian Islands were formally annexed to the United States. In the same year Queen Liliuokalani composed a song "Aloha Oe" as a farewell to her country. She was released as a private citizen and lived at Washington Place (320 South Beretania Street) in Honolulu until her death in 1917.

Contributed by Danuta Bois, 1998.

Women Who Ruled: A Biographical Encyclopedia
by Guida M. Jackson, Barnes & Noble Books, 1998
2. Herstory. Women Who Changed the World, edited by Ruth Ashby and Deborah Gore Ohrn, Viking, 1995.
3. Susan B. Anthony Slept Here. A Guide to American Women's Landmarks by Lynn Sherr and Jurate Kazickas, Random House, 1994


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