Liliʻuokalani, 1838-1917

  • Liliuokalani-WWP

Woman Category: Politics & LeadersWoman Tags: Royalty and Songwriter

  • HerStory

    The first and only queen regnant and the last Hawaiian sovereign to govern the islands.

    Born as Lydia Liliʻu Loloku Walania Kamakaʻeha in Honolulu to the Hawaiian Royal family. She received modern education, studying in a royal missionary school learning English, music, and touring the Western world. At 24, she married John Owen Dominis, an American government official. The couple had no children of their own, and they adopted three children.
    After her older brother was chosen king and her younger brother died, she was announced as the king’s heir and served as a regent during the king’s absence. In the following years, she laid the foundations as a future monarch, establishing various establishments including schools, a bank for women, and an Educational Society promoting education for girls from families with low means. In 1887, while Liliʻuokalani was in England, attending Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, the king was forced by an armed militia to sign a new constitution, which stripped the monarchy of its authorities and transferring the power to American and European businessmen.
    In 1891, King Kalakaua died, and at the age of 53, Liliʻuokalani became the first queen of the Hawaiian Kingdom. One of her first acts as sovereign was to establish a new constitution and to restore the power deprived of the monarchy and the Hawaiian people, but a group of American, supported by the US government staged a coup and even her attempt to appeal to the US president, Grover Cleveland, and restore the monarchy powers were failed. To avoid bloodshed and spare her people, Liliʻuokalani surrendered, and in 1894 the Republic of Hawaii was formed. In January 1885, a group of her supporters launched a rebellion in a mission to restore the monarchy. The Queen and her sympathizers were arrested and charged with treason. Liliʻuokalani signed a document formally abdicating her throne in return for the release of her supporters; she was imprisoned in her bedroom at the palace for several months. Liliʻuokalani was the last and only queen to rule the kingdom.
    Afterword, she retired from public life and lived as a private citizen on a small pension she received from the provisional government. Visitors frequently visited her to pay respects. She died at the age of 79 after suffering a stroke and was honored with a state funeral.

    “Never cease to act because you fear you may fail”

    “Never cease to act because you fear you may fail”


    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • She was a gifted songwriter, composing more than 160 songs, including the “Aloha ‘Oe.”
    • She played many instruments, including the piano ukulele, guitar, organ, and zither.
    • She wrote her autobiography “Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen” during her imprisonment.
    • In 1909, she founded the “Liliʻuokalani Trust” – an institution dedicated to the welfare of orphaned children in Hawaii.
    • The annual Queen Liliʻuokalani Outrigger Canoe Race is named in her honor.
    • The “Queen Liliʻuokalani Center for Student Services” on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus is named in her honor.
    • Her birthday is celebrated annually at the He Hali’a Aloha no Liliʻuokalani Festival.
  • More About Her Legacy
    Creations By and About Her:

    * Books she wrote
    * Books about her

  • Watch and Learn More

  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • Woman Tags: Royalty, Songwriter

    Lili'uokalani -- Hawaii's Last Queen (documentary excerpt)

    bits from a documentary on the last reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and the relatively easy and bloodless conquest of this land
    ruled by a democratically elected goverment...Native Hawaiians were grossly out-numbered and the Queen urged non-violence.

    narrated by Anna Deavere Smith

  • Photo credit - Wikipedia