Losing a Kingdom

Today in history — August 12, 1898 — people gathered at Iolani Palace to celebrate the “U.S. annexation” of Hawaii. U.S. troops came ashore from Honolulu Harbor. But Queen Lili’uokalani was nowhere to be seen.

Instead, dressed in black in the Washington Place mansion, she and her family members and loyalists mourned losing their Kingdom, as she explained to newspaper reporter Alice Rix in an interview:

Alice Rix: “I thought perhaps you would go away—into the country.”

Queen Lili’uokalani: “Why? I came here to be near my people—to show them how to meet this. It has come upon us together—you understand? Together. I am not alone. My people lose their country; they lose their identity. Should I run away and shut my eyes and my ears when so many of them had to remain here in their homes? My home is also here, in Honolulu [Washington Place]. It gives us all courage to think of others. I remembered my people this day and they remembered me. We bore our trouble together. I did not leave my house….”

Read more about it in “How the Ex-queen Passed the Twelfth of August.”

“How the Ex-queen Passed the Twelfth of August.”
The San Francisco call, August 28, 1898, Image 17
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1898-08-28/ed-1/seq-17/


Native Hawaiians Protested U.S. Annexation of Hawaii

Today in history — September 11, 1897 — Native Hawaiians initiated a petition drive against the U.S. annexation of Hawaii. Through October 2, 1897, 21,269 native Hawaiians, or the majority of the 39,000 on the census, signed the “Petition Against Annexation.”

Read more about it in Native Hawaiians Petition Against U.S. Annexation.

Native Hawaiians Petition Against U.S. Annexation
https://hdnpblog.wordpress.com/historical-articles/native-hawaiians-petition-against-u-s-annexation-2/


Civil Beat Featured Chronicling America in Reporting HECo’s History

Iolani Palace lit up

Honolulu Civil Beat used Chronicling America to illustrate Hawaiian Electric Co.’s history in a special report “How One Company Turned ‘Darkness Into Day:'”

On a long-ago summer night, thousands of people gathered on the grounds of Iolani Palace for what might be described as an illuminating tea party with David Kalakaua, Hawaii’s last ruling king.

There was tea, coffee, ice cream, Hawaiian music, dance and high society in fine evening wear. But the real draw on the evening of July 21, 1886, was the simple spectacle of electric light that few locals had ever seen.

The 49-year-old king, who was fascinated by the potential of electricity, was something of an early adopter who had promised to bring electric light to Hawaii. Even the White House wouldn’t have electric lights for years after Iolani Palace, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, was electrified.

In 1881, during a trip around the world, Kalakaua had dropped in on Thomas Edison’s “invention factory,” a laboratory in New Jersey, to see if he could find a way to brighten Hawaii’s future. It was less than two years after the inventor had come up with the incandescent light bulb.

As night fell on that July evening in 1886, a small steam engine located in the Honolulu Iron Works on Merchant Street successfully powered up cables that led to five lamps outside the palace. During the course of the night, the light around Palace Square drew a gawking crowd that the Honolulu Daily Bulletin put at more than 5,000. That amounted to one in every six people on the island.

It was, according to another news report in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser, a “soft but brilliant light which turned darkness into day.”

Soon, the newspaper said, the Royal Hawaiian military band began playing, soldiers marched on the grounds and a tea party for children got underway, hosted by Princess Liliuokalani and Princess Likelike.

“The Palace was brightly illuminated, and the large crowd moving among the trees and tents made a pretty picture.”

A nonprofit online news source, Civil Beat is currently publishing “Electric Dreams,” a special report series:

For the past 125 years, Hawaiian Electric Co. has helped shape Hawaii’s development, its politics and its culture. We explore its past to see what we can learn about its future.

Civil Beat Article: How One Company Turned ‘Darkness Into Day’
http://www.civilbeat.org/2016/07/how-one-company-turned-darkness-into-day/

Hawaii’s First Electric Lights
https://hdnpblog.wordpress.com/…/hawaiis-first-electric-li…/

Electric Light (second column from left, bottom)
The Daily bulletin, July 22, 1886, Image 3
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/…/…/1886-07-22/ed-1/seq-3/

Kalakaua Visits Edison: The King in Search of a Means to Light Up Honolulu (column on the extreme right)
The sun, September 26, 1881, Image 1
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030272/1881-09-26/ed-1/seq-1/

Points in Hawaiian History (second column from left, middle)
The Daily bulletin, September 30, 1887, Image 3
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016412/1887-09-30/ed-1/seq-3/

Honolulu Electric Works: Starting of the Machinery (third column from left, top)
The Daily bulletin, March 21, 1888, Image 3
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016412/1888-03-21/ed-1/seq-3/


Becoming the Territory of Hawaii

Today in history — June 14, 1900 — The Republic of Hawaii became the Territory of Hawaii. The president of the Republic of Hawaii, Sanford B. Dole just became the first territorial governor of Hawaii under the United States.

At the ceremony, at least 2,500 people gathered around Iolani Palace, which was bedecked by American flags over Hawaiian flags, and special guests sat on the two-story palace’s balconies. Reportedly, the audience included members of all ethnic groups and “[as many Native Hawaiians] as Haoles.”

During the ceremony, Rev. Enoka Semaia Timoteo delivered a Hawaiian prayer, Dole swore to the oath of office and signed it, and delivered his inaugural speech, and an excerpt is as follows:

“The United States–always the protector of Hawaii–has approached the question of annexation in the most considerate manner. With great deliberation has our request been acceded to and finally consummated with a regard for our … interests that we can never forget.”

After his speech, The Royal Hawaiian Band performed the Star Spangled Banner, the U.S. national anthem, and soldiers marched away.

Read more about it in “Hawaii Joins the Sisterhood of States and Territories Amid a Blaze.”

“Hawaii Joins the Sisterhood of States and Territories Amid a Blaze”
Hawaiian gazette, June 15, 1900, Image 1
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025121/1900-06-15/ed-1/seq-1/


Happy Kamehameha Day!

King Kamehameha I statue in downtown Honolulu

Today in history — Kamehameha Day 1916 — thousands of spectators–including Queen Liliuokalani–watched a ceremony honoring King Kamehameha I at his statue:

“Great kahilis reared their plumed heads above the throngs of marches, while huge leis of Hawaii’s most exquisite flowers were flung at the base of the statue.”

Read more about it in “Great Crowd Surrounds Statue to Witness Striking Ceremony.”

“Great Crowd Surrounds Statue to Witness Striking Ceremony”
Honolulu star-bulletin, June 12, 1916, Page 3
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82014682/1916-06-12/ed-2/seq-3/