How the USA Stole Hawaii from the Hawaiian Monarchy

The story of Hawaii’s annexation by the United States is a tale of political intrigue, economic interests, and the devastating impact of colonialism on indigenous peoples. Rooted in a complex history of colonization and exploitation, the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 remains a dark chapter in American history, with far-reaching consequences for the Hawaiian people and their land.

In the late 19th century, Hawaii was a sovereign kingdom ruled by Queen Liliʻuokalani, the last reigning monarch of the Hawaiian Islands. Despite Hawaii’s status as an independent nation recognized by the international community, American businessmen, backed by the U.S. government, sought to exert control over the islands for their economic interests, particularly in the lucrative sugar industry.

The Illegal Overthrow

On January 17, 1893, a group of American and European businessmen, aided by U.S. Marines, orchestrated a coup d’état that forcibly removed Queen Liliʻuokalani from power and established a provisional government led by Sanford Dole, a prominent American sugar magnate. This brazen act of aggression violated international law and the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom, setting the stage for Hawaii’s annexation by the United States.

Annexation and Resistance

In 1898, despite widespread opposition from the Hawaiian people and objections from Queen Liliʻuokalani herself, the United States officially annexed Hawaii through the Newlands Resolution, which was passed by the U.S. Congress without the consent of the Hawaiian government. This act of annexation further marginalized the indigenous population and cemented Hawaii’s status as a colonial territory under American control.

Social Impact

The illegal overthrow and annexation of Hawaii had profound social, cultural, and economic consequences for the Hawaiian people. Indigenous Hawaiians were dispossessed of their lands, stripped of their rights, and subjected to discrimination and marginalization in their own homeland. The imposition of American laws, customs, and institutions eroded traditional Hawaiian culture and way of life, leading to the loss of language, sovereignty, and identity.

More than a century later, the legacy of colonization continues to reverberate in Hawaii, as Native Hawaiians grapple with the ongoing effects of dispossession, inequality, and cultural erasure. Despite efforts to reclaim their land, sovereignty, and self-determination, Native Hawaiians face formidable obstacles, including legal barriers, political resistance, and systemic injustice.

Call for Justice

In recent years, there has been a growing movement to acknowledge and address the injustices of Hawaii’s illegal overthrow and annexation. Advocates for Native Hawaiian rights, supported by international organizations and allies, have called for restitution, reconciliation, and the restoration of sovereignty for the Hawaiian people. However, meaningful progress towards justice and reconciliation has been slow, as the United States grapples with its colonial past and its ongoing obligations to Native Hawaiian communities.

The illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy stands as a stark reminder of the enduring legacy of colonialism and imperialism in Hawaii and the broader Pacific region. As we reflect on this painful chapter in history, it is imperative that we honor the resilience, dignity, and aspirations of the Hawaiian people and support their ongoing struggle for justice, self-determination, and cultural revitalization. Only through acknowledgment, restitution, and reconciliation can we begin to heal the wounds of the past and build a more just and equitable future for all.