Thursday, September 02, 2010

In Memoriam: Lili'uokalani

It hasn't been that long, as these things go, since Hawai'i was a sovereign nation - whether as a loose association of chiefdoms in the Polynesian manner, as a Kingdom (during Hawai'i's earlier 'British' period), or as a Republic immediately prior to its annexation by the US.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThough Queen for less than two years before the monarchy was abolished by US President Grover Cleveland, Her Majesty is still fondly remembered today, most notably by a statue of her in the grounds of the state house in Honolulu; the nearby 'Iolani Palace owes much of its splendour to her efforts.

Nevertheless the reign of Lili'uokalani was marred by a certain inflexibility on her part, especially given that she spent most of it staring down the barrels of American cannons. Even though her overthrow was eventually determined illegal by the Blount Report issued by the US Congress, the Queen refused amnesty to those involved, and her ouster was maintained.

Lili'uokalani was probably a better writer and composer than Queen, given her disdain for diplomacy; one of the songs she wrote, Aloha 'Oe, is probably the most famous song in the Hawaiian language. Chances are, in a film or TV show depicting Hawaii, the lilting strains of the song (and thus a remnant of the soul of its last Queen) will accompany the establishing shot.

Born on this day in 1838 - the daughter of High Chieftess Analea Keohokalole and High Chief Caesar Kaluaiku Kapaʻakea but adopted at birth by Abner Pākī and his wife Laura Kōnia according to Hawai'an custom - Hawai'i's last sovereign Liliʻuokalani died in November 1917.
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3 comments:

Seumas Gagne said...

Why don't you do a little follow up on this with a post about the modern Hawai'ian sovereignty movement. If you have tags like that you're sure to get hits - especially from the Department of Fazerland Insecurity.

michael sean morris said...

The Hawaiian sovereignty movement has always been of interest to me, but given the way the blog is structured I have yet to have a place to insert such information.

I suppose I've never really done a blog post on behalf of an organization - at least there's none I can think of off the top of my head.

Seumas Gagne said...

It wouldn't necessarily need to be on behalf of the sovereignty movement -- although I wouldn't rule that out. Pop Culture Institute is known for its interest in royalty. If Hawai'i became a sovereign nation, there might be one more Queen to write stories about!