A look back at the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom
Thousands are expected to attend a ceremonial gathering and rally on O'ahu to observe the anniversary. The 'Aupuni Mo'i 'o Hawai'i, or the Kingdom of Hawai'i ruled the islands for close to a hundred years.
Thousands are expected to attend a ceremonial gathering and rally on O'ahu to observe the anniversary.
The 'Aupuni Mo'i 'o Hawai'i, or the Kingdom of Hawai'i ruled the islands for close to a hundred years.
But in January 1893, it would all come crashing down.
Plans to dethrone Hawaii's Queen Lili'uokalani had come to fruition. A plot was drawn up by businessmen and sugar planters, to establish a new provisional government was in motion.
Armed with guns, United States Marines, sailors marched from Honolulu Harbor and set up outside 'Iolani Palace.
"The official goal was to protect American lives and property which we know not to be true, it was a show of force, it was a stalemate," Ronald Williams, Jr., president, Hawaiian Historical Society said.
Despite close to 500 men standing guard to protect the Queen, she eventually surrendered. The takeover had begun. The queen was stripped of her power and imprisoned in her own palace.
The overthrow would trigger a destructive downward spiral for Hawaii's native people. Everything from language, land, even identity was becoming diluted.
University of Hawaii Hawaiian Studies professor Jon Osorio says it forever changed the path for Hawai'i's people.
"And they create this new story. This myth about who we are that really does incredible damage to our people and to how we live our lives and our hopes and dreams so that we become the kind of crippled people were not gonna ever allow that to happen ever again," Osorio said.
Historian Ronald Williams says after the overthrow, many Hawaiians still had hope the Queen's power could be restored.
In 1895, Native Hawaiians were willing to risk everything attempted to get it back using force- but were unsuccessful. More than 400 of them wound up in prison.
"One of the gentlemen that I came across was named Kalua. He actually wasn't a gentleman, he was a boy, he was 14 years old so this picture of a 14-year-old boy put in prison for defending his nation was really striking," Williams said. "Judge William Henry Daniels from Wailuku was actually part Hawaiian part haole he was known as one of the better judges in the islands. He had 10 kids and a wife in Wailuku while in prison he wrote his wife an Astor how are you doing how are you feeding the kids."
The former judge was eventually released, went bankrupt. and a few years later took his own life.
It is stories like those Osorio says inspire Hawaiians to continue the fight.
"We are still a people whose country, whose nation was taken from us against our will in 1893 and we are still subject to the long-term occupation of the United States," Osorio said.
In 1993, Native Hawaiians observed the overthrow's centennial anniversary.
Festivities started well before dawn with a torchlight ceremony. Thousands eventually flooded the streets of Honolulu. It was a milestone year for Hawaii's native people- a century after the overthrow, the United States officially issued an apology for its involvement.
Hundreds of keiki were among participants that day. State representative Jarrett Keohokalole was just 9 years old and recalls listening to native Hawaiian leaders address the crowd.
"I remember the power, the mana that came out of those speeches, they blew my mind and I'm absolutely here today because of that experience. it open up this whole perspective on what it means to be a Hawaiian," Keohokalole said.
Video courtesy: Office of Hawaiian Affairs/'Ulu'ulu
Photos of prisoners courtesy: King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center