Duke Kahanamoku’s Birthday

Happy birthday Duke Paoa Kahanamoku! Today in history — August 24, 1890 — the future first Native Hawaiian gold medalist was born.

As a grown up, Kahanamoku broke the world record in swimming and popularized surfing in mainland United States and Australia.

Read more about him in “Duke Kahanamoku in U.S. Newspapers.”

Duke Kahanamoku in U.S. Newspapers
https://hdnpblog.wordpress.com/historical-articles/duke-kahanamoku-in-u-s-newspapers/

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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/


Kamehameha Day: Honoring King Kamehameha I

Today, Hawaii celebrates Kamehameha Day, honoring King Kamehameha I. He combined all of the Hawaiian islands under one rule. Read more about his life and memorial statues in “First and Greatest Chief Ruler in Hawaii.”

“First and Greatest Chief Ruler in Hawaii”
Hawaiian gazette, August 16, 1898, Page 10
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025121/1898-08-16/ed-1/seq-10/


Sinking of the Titanic

Today in history — April 15, 1912 — “Iceberg straight ahead!”, exclaimed a sailor on the RMS Titanic, the infamous cruise ship. Regardless of whether the quote from the movie Titanic was actually said, the sailors on the real RMS Titanic did spot an iceberg while sailing on the North Atlantic Ocean at 11:40 p.m.

Ironically, had the ship continued its course and hit the iceberg, the ship would have stayed afloat. However, the sailors instead tried to dodge the iceberg by turning the ship. But because it was sailing too quickly, the ship hit the iceberg, its fatal blow.

The more-than-2,000 passengers felt the “thud,” which made coffee and tea in the dining halls spill on tablecloths, stain women’s dresses, and interrupted conversations. However, the sailors did not alert the passengers. Feeling safe, they continued to enjoy their parties and went to bed after.

However, hours later, the passengers woke up to a sinking ship filling with water. To save themselves, they wore life vests, ran, swam for their lives in freezing seawater, and evacuated into lifeboats while hearing the calm, soothing music of a string quartet.

But the British passenger liner did not have enough lifeboats because planners thought the ship was too strong to sink. And after the ship sank, many of the lifeboats still had room for more passengers, but alas, the ship was not evacuated early enough. Thus, more than 1,300 people died early April 15, 1912. Read more about one of the worst maritime disasters of history in “Sinking of the Titanic”!

“Sinking of the Titanic”
http://www.loc.gov/rr/news/topics/titanicsinking.html


Japanese Internment Camps in WWII

Today in history — February 19, 1942 — U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which imprisoned 75,000 Japanese Americans and 45,000 Japanese nationals in “internment camps” across the country.

A local man from Hawaii in Northern California, Masuto Hata was imprisoned even though he fought for America in WWI. Also, even though his son Makoto stayed in a concentration camp, he enlisted in the military and got seriously wounded in a battle in Italy.

Read more about it in “Local Japanese Soldier Is Killed” (bottom text and right image).

Local Japanese Soldier Is Killed

Local relatives have been notified one Fresno soldier of Japanese ancestry has been killed in action and another seriously wounded.

Private Haruo Kawamoto lost his life on the Italian front and Private Makoto M. Hata is in serious condition with a shell fragment wound in the abdomen. Hata is in a hospital in Italy.

Kawamoto, 20, was a graduate of the Central Union High School. He was an honor student and one of the speakers at the graduation exercises in the Fresno Japanese Assembly Center in 1942. He entered the service in July, 1944, received his basic training at Camp Blanding, Fla., and was sent overseas in January. He served in France and Italy with an infantry division. Two of his brothers are in the service: Corporal Yurio Kawamoto of Fort Sam Houston, Tex., who volunteered in March 1941, and Private First Class Mitsu Kawamoto who is serving in Italy. Another brother, Toshio Kawamoto, is living near Fresno, and his father and two sisters are in the relocation center at Amachi, Colo.

Hata, 23, has seen service in Italy and France with the infantry. He is a son of Masuto Hata of Ashlan Avenue.”

Makoto Hata – Fresno Bee, Republican, Fresno CA, 05/09/1945 p. 14


Pau Hana for Hawaii’s Sugar King

This week in history  — December 26, 1908 — Hawaii’s “sugar king,” Claus Spreckels, died after a brief illness. As one of the ten richest Americans, Spreckels dominated the sugar industries on the U.S. West Coast and in Hawaii from mid-1800s until his death. In Hawaii, he owned a plantation town, Spreckelsville, Maui; and incorporated Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company (HC&S).

Today, the name “Matson” is synonymous with Hawaii’s shipping industry–a lifeline for the world’s most isolated population center. In its early years, Spreckels financed William Matson’s ships for his new shipping company.

Spreckels gave loans and bribes to King Kalakaua and cabinet members. In return, Spreckels got land and water rights. The water rights for the Northeast Maui streams included complete ownership and control over the water. He irrigated the water to Spreckelsville plantation.

Read more about the “sugar king” in “Hardy Pioneer and Benefactor of State Died.”

“Hardy Pioneer and Benefactor of State Died”
The San Francisco call, Dec. 27, 1908, Page 18
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1908-12-27/ed-1/seq-18/


“A Date Which Will Live in Infamy”

Today in history–December 7, 1941: Japanese soldiers attacked Pearl Harbor, pulling the United States into World War II. Hawaii went into martial law, and tourism in Hawaii abruptly ended. Read more about Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor
https://hdnpblog.wordpress.com/historical-articles/218-2/