Korean Immigration to Hawaii

Today in history — January 13, 1903 — the first large group of Korean immigrants arrived in America. Fifty-six men, twenty-one women, and twenty-five children sailed on the RMS Gaelic and landed in Hawaii. Many of them would work in the sugar plantations.

Within two years, more than 7,000 Korean immigrants arrived in Hawaii.

Read more about it in “Koreans Arriving.”

“Koreans Arriving: A Large Party Come by  the Gaelic”
The Hawaiian star, January 13, 1903, Image 1

Election of King Lunalilo

This week in history — January 8, 1873 — Hawaii celebrated William Charles Lunalilo’s election as the king of Hawaii.

Signs on storefront proclaimed “Long Live William C. Lunalilo, Our King!” and “Lunalilo the People’s King! and W. C. Lunalilo the King of Hearts!” Hours before the legislature met, a crowd of people gathered around the courthouse. When Lunalilo arrived, they cheered for him.

Read more about Lunalilo’s election in “Election of Prince Lunalilo as King!”

“Election of Prince Lunalilo as King!: Immense Enthusiasm!”
The Pacific commercial advertiser., January 11, 1873, Image 4

The 1895 Counter-Revolution Against the Republic of Hawaii

Provisional Government soldiers watch the Battle of Kamoiliili from the tower of the Executive Building.

Today in history — January 6, 1895 — A counter-revolution against the Republic of Hawaii begins. Two years ago, the Committee of Safety overthrew the Hawaiian Monarchy, and the Provisional Government was formed. For the past six months, Queen Liliuokalani supporters planned this counter-revolution without her knowledge.

The Daily Bulletin described the happenings around town on the counter-revolution’s third day:

  • “Washington Place, the town residence of Liliuokalani, was searched yesterday afternoon. Here Charles Clark, whose arrest was reported in yesterday’s issue, was found. Nine rifles and five pistols, of rich style, were captured.”
  • “There is a large motley crowd constantly in front of the station, at the post office and along Bethel street, watching the sallying forth of guards and officers, and the bringing in of prisoners. …”
  • “The Queen is still at Washington Place, notwithstanding reports to the contrary.”
  • “A newsboy named Simpson … went as far as Sans Souci the first day of the fight. He saw a Japanese dropped in the road by a bullet from the mountain.”
  • “A Springfield rifle was picked up at Waialae this afternoon by a Portuguese hackman.”
  • “A barrel of poi and two of salmon besides two bombs with a coast wrapped around them were found at Diamond Head and were brought to the police station this afternoon.”

Three days later, on January 9, 1895, the counter-revolution ends with a few soldiers killed, and the Republic of Hawaii persevered.

Read more about it in “The 1895 Counter-Revolution in Hawaii.”

The 1895 Counter-Revolution in Hawaii

Congratulations and Thank you, Martha!

Martha Chantiny's profile photoHDNP congratulates Principal Investigator Martha Chantiny on her long-deserved retirement. For almost thirty years, Martha contributed her technical expertise to the UH-system libraries and worked her way to become one of the highest ranking academic librarians in the UH-system.

Martha last served as the department head of Desktop Network Services department and a co-principal investigator of the Hawaii Digital Newspaper Project, administering the digitization of tens of thousands of newspaper pages. From initiating the grant proposal to today, Martha made HDNP possible: she managed digitization and public outreach, managed HDNP’s funding, integrated her technical expertise into HDNP, supervised and trained team members, and coordinated with the Library of Congress.

Martha Chantiny's profile photoMartha has spearheaded and led many archival digitization projects in the past two decades. Furthermore, she has enabled the UH library to lead in the digitization and preservation of historical materials in Asia and the Pacific.

Congratulations for your stellar career, Martha! Thank you for mentoring dozens of faculty, staff, and students at the UH Manoa Library, and we wish you a joyful retirement!

Queen Kapiolani, 52nd birtday, 1886.

Happy Birthday, Queen Kapiolani! Today in history — Dec. 31, 1834 — Kapiolani was born. On her fifty-second birthday, The Pacific Commercial Advertiser exclaimed, “… the Queen is one of the best exemplars in her own life and person of their potency and virtue.”

Read more about the Queen Consort in “The Queen’s Birthday.”

“The Queen’s Birthday” (first column from left, first article)
Pacific commercial advertiser, December 31, 1886, Image 2



Falling among the great Christian and universal holidays, the birthday of Queen Kapiolani comes opportunely for its celebration. Fifty-two years ago this day Queen Kapiolani was born. The times were then rude and the people untutored, but the dawn of a new and better civilization had broken upon this new life which was destined to rise to honor and distinction among her race and nation. Since Her Majesty’s birth marvellous changes have been worked in this country and the Queen is one of the best exemplars in her own life and person of their potency and virtue. The general public recognition of the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Kapiolani is due to her exalted station and personal character.

[It is essential to see how different people portrayed history, to get a clearer view of the past (and the present and future as well sometimes).]

(Pacific Commercial Advertiser…

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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

Recollections of King Kamehameha V

Today in history — December 11, 1872 — King Kamehameha V died on his birthday at age forty-two. He never took advantage of people, but never allowed people to stay at the palace without working, according to Rufus Anderson Lyman. A lawyer and politician, Lyman befriended Kamehameha V and wrote a biography about him. Read more about it in “Recollections of Kamehameha V.”

“Recollections of Kamehameha V: Bold and Wise Sovereign as Remembered by R. A. Lyman”
The Pacific commercial advertiser, December 11, 1902, Page 9