Hawaii and the U.S.: An Arranged Marriage

"NORTHEAST FACADE - Iolani Palace, King and Richards Streets, Honolulu, Honolulu County, HI HABS HI,2-HONLU,8-7" by http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/hi0047.photos.058088p. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NORTHEAST_FACADE_-_Iolani_Palace,_King_and_Richards_Streets,_Honolulu,_Honolulu_County,_HI_HABS_HI,2-HONLU,8-7.tif#/media/File:NORTHEAST_FACADE_-_Iolani_Palace,_King_and_Richards_Streets,_Honolulu,_Honolulu_County,_HI_HABS_HI,2-HONLU,8-7.tif
Iolani Palace, the seat of the Hawaiian monarchy and the Republic of Hawaii (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1887, the United States Congress voted to allow the U.S. Navy to lease Pearl Harbor in Hawaii for a naval base.

Here are some things you may not have known about the history of the relationship between Hawaii and the United States.

On January 18, 1788, Captain James Cook of Great Britain became the first recorded European to land in Hawaii. He named the islands the “Sandwich Islands” after the fourth Earl of Sandwich, the same earl who is said to have invented the sandwich.

After contact by Europeans, the population of the islands plummeted because of the introduction of diseases for which the Hawaiians had no resistance.

In the decades that followed, Kamehameha I consolidated the islands into a single kingdom in 1810.

In 1843, a British force under Lord George Paulet entered Honolulu Harbor and demanded the King cede control of the islands to the British. Several months later, Paulet’s commanding officer reversed the action and restored the monarchy.

In 1849, the French invaded Honolulu, demanding that Catholics be afforded full rights. The French force left Hawaii after 11 days.

From the beginning of the 1800s, American missionaries settled in Hawaii. Many Hawaiian traditions were banned, such as hula and surfing.

These missionaries used their influence with the monarchs to create rules that were favorable to the Americans who became large land owners and sugar producers.

In 1875, the U.S. Signed a treaty with Hawaii allowing for the duty-free importation of Hawaiian sugar into the U.S.

Following the 1887 lease of Pearl Harbor, a group of Americans founded the Reform Party, which forced the king to sign a new constitution which limited his power, giving much of it to the Americans.

In 1893, Queen Lili’uokalani abdicated following the landing of company of U.S. Marines. The white settlers founded the Republic of Hawaii on July 4, 1894.

On July 7, 1898 U.S. President William McKinley signed the Newlands Resolution which annexed Hawaii.

Hawaii remained a territory for more than 60 years, a system which greatly benefitted the plantation owners, who took advantage of looser controls on immigration.

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Hawaii was under martial law for the duration of World War II.

Labor unrest in 1954 saw the end of the dominance of the Hawaii Republican party and saw the rise of the Democratic Party, which favored statehood.

Ninety-three percent of Hawaiians voted in favor of statehood, and Hawaii was admitted to the union as the 50th state on August 21, 1959.

In 1993, the United States government passed a resolution apologizing to native Hawaiians for the overthrow of the monarchy.

Our question: What country’s flag is represented on the Hawaiian state flag?

Today is Armed Forces Day in Mali, Heroes’ Day in Cape Verde and Martyrs’ Day in Azerbaijan. It’s National Cheese Lovers Day, Penguin Awareness Day and Take a Walk Outdoors Day (which probably shouldn’t be in January). It’s the birthday of actor George Burns, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and director David Lynch.

30 years ago in 1986, the top song in the U.S. was “That’s What Friends are For” by Dionne Warwick and Friends; the No. 1 movie was “Iron Eagle,” while the “Iacocca: An Autobiography” by Lee Iacocca topped the New York Times Non-fiction Bestsellers list.


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