Liliuokalani, Queen Lydia
September 2, 1838 - November 11, 1917
Last Monarch and Christian Queen of Hawaiiby Rit Nosotro First Published:: 2003
As she cried her way into the world, the little baby girl was wrapped in "the finest soft tapa cloth"1. She was taken at once to another home, where she would be raised. Her life would be greatly used by God to impact her people, and her struggles would be difficult. She was to be the last monarch of her nation, and a great Christian queen, who would one day proclaim the words of truth, "Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka 'Aina I Ka Pono." 2
The day was September 2, 1838, the place, Honolulu, Hawaii. Lydia Liliuokalani had just been born into the prestigious family of Kapaakea and Keohokalole. Her father was a noblemen and her mother held the position of member of the king's very own advisory board. However, little Lydia was raised by another chief and his wife "immediately after [her] birth"3, as was a typical Hawaiian custom. At the age of four, Liliuokalani began her schooling at the Royal School, in which the students all held some right to the throne. In her autobiography, she describes herself as "[being] a studious girl"4 and notes her desire for "the acquisition of knowledge [which] has been a passion with me during my whole life, one which has not lost it charm to the present day."5 So, for most of her young life, Liluokalani remained at this boarding school under the training and care of the instructors there. The founders of the boarding school were faithful in taking the children to church every Sunday, thus this was probably the beginning of Liliuokalani's training in the things of the Lord.6
On September 16, 1862, at the age of twenty-four, Liliuokalani married John Owen Dominis. Liliuokalani did not have children, and some sources suggest that she was unhappy with the marriage.7 After his death, a short time after her ascension to throne, she remained unmarried.
Liliuokalani's goal was to please her people, and protect their interests, and throughout her life she tried to make that goal a reality. In 1887, under pressure from Americans with economic interests in Hawaii, King Kalakaua submitted to a new constitution which took away much of his power. Four years later, Liliuokalani boldly ascended to the throne and began to rule, not according this new constitution, but by a new constitution which would reinforce the supremacy of the monarchy. By doing so, she would continue to serve her nation well for 12 years, until the U.S. government seized her authority over the country.
She was faced with decisions. Her actions cost favor. Eventually, she lost. In 1892, the Hawaiian islands were in an economically dire state. It was at this time that a secret association called the Annexation Club formed and began to try to take the islands from the rule of Liliuokalani. To try and solve the recession problem without annexation to the United States, Liliuokalani allowed a lottery to pay for public expenses, and tried to pass a bill to allow the importation of opium. This upset many, including missionaries and opium smugglers. Some accused Liliuokalani of "supporting gambling and intoxication"8, and her opponents were quick to point out that this devout Christian was disregarding teachings of the Bible. Through the circumstances, the public image of Queen Lydia Lililuokalani was lessened by her opponents.
On January 17, 1893, the Hawaiian government was overthrown by "by a relatively small group of men, most of them American by birth or heritage, who seized control of the Islands with the backing of American troops."9 Their purpose was to escape the tariffs placed on the valuable economic sugar trade. Lilioukalani protested, but eventually gave up in an attempt to allow both countries to refrain from bloodshed. She believed that in the end the U.S. would "right the wrong that had been done to her and the Hawaiian people."10
In 1895, Liliuokalani was arrested on charges of hiding a "cache of weapons"11 in the "gardens of her home in Washington Palace."12 After her denial of the aforementioned charges she eventually was allowed to return to her home.
Even after the U.S. seized Liliuokalani's power, she continued to demonstrate great persistence by spending much of the remainder of her life in the U.S., petitioning the government, in some attempt to change what they had done. Through the following words, penned by the Queen herself, we see her strong faith in the Lord's justice prevailing, and her sorrow for the people of her country.
"Oh, honest Americans, as Christians hear me for my downtrodden people! Their form of government is as dear to them as yours is as precious to you. Quite warmly as you love your country, so they love theirs. With all your goodly possessions, covering a territory so immense that there yet remain parts unexplored, possessing islands that, although new at hand, had to be neutral ground in time of war, do not covet the little vineyard of Naboth's, so far from your shores, lest the punishment of Ahab fall upon you, if not in your day, in that of your children, for "be not deceived, God is not mocked." The people to whom your fathers told of the living God, and taught to call "Father," and now whom the sons now seek to despoil and destroy, are crying aloud to Him in their time of trouble; and He will keep His promise, and will listen to the voices of His Hawaiian children lamenting for their homes."13
The Queen is also known for her musical talents and some of her compositions are often associated with Hawaii today, such as "Aloha Oe."14
On November 11, 1917, Liluokalani died from problems from a stroke. Had this life, which had begun that autumn day seventy-nine years ago, been wasted? Had this queen been a weak monarch who had succeeded in allowing the U.S. to posses the land of her people? Surely not. For as this woman ruled, she set an example for many to follow, simple, Christ-like character. Her impact survives even to this day, as Hawaii's motto still bears those words which Liliuokalani herself spoke, "Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka 'Aina I Ka Pono" meaning "The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness."15
1) Lydia Liliuokalani was born on ________________, in _______________
a. September 2, 1838, Honolulu, Hawaii
b. December 25, 1900, New York City, USA
c. January 1, 2004, Paris, France
d. September 2, 1835, Honolulu, Hawaii
2) Liliuokalani was not raised by her parents because
a. They couldn't afford to feed her.
b. She ran away when she was young, and never went home.
c. The act of having another chief raise one's child was a typical Hawaiian tradition.
d. Her parents were nobility and didn't have time for her.
3) A small group of U.S. sugar plantation owners took the Hawaiian government
3) After protesting the U.S. takeover of Hawaii, Liliuokalani:
a. Killed herself out of great grief for what had occurred
b. Went to a local ice cream shop for a banana split
c. She continued to protest until her death, preventing the U.S. takeover
d. Eventually submitted to prevent bloodshed
1A, 2C, 3A, 4D
1 Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii. Hawaii's Story. December 27, 2004. <http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/liliuokalani/hawaii/hawaii-1.html>
2 Perpetuated in Righteousness. Aloha Ke Akua Ministries. January 3, 2005. <http://akaministries.tripod.com/aloha/id3.html>
3 Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii. Hawaii's Story. December 27, 2004. <http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/liliuokalani/hawaii/hawaii-1.html>
4Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii. Hawaii's Story. December 16, 2004. <http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/liliuokalani/hawaii/hawaii-1.html>
5 Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii. Hawaii's Story. December 16, 2004. <http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/liliuokalani/hawaii/hawaii-1.html>
6 Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii. Hawaii's Story. December 16, 2004. <http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/liliuokalani/hawaii/hawaii-1.html>
7 Queen Lydia Liliuokalani. January 3, 2005. <http://www.uic.edu/depts/owa/history/liliuokalani.html>
8 Saiki, Arnie. Restoring Loss, Performing Sovereignty in Hawaii. January 3, 2005. <http://www.globulab.com/restoring_loss.html>
9 December 27, 2004. <http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/HAWAII/hawaii.html>
10 December 27, 2004. <http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/HAWAII/hawaii.html>
11 Queen Lydia Liliuokalani. January 3, 2005. <http://www.uic.edu/depts/owa/history/liliuokalani.html>
12 Queen Lydia Liliuokalani. January 3, 2005. <http://www.uic.edu/depts/owa/history/liliuokalani.html>
13 Queen Liliuokalani. January 3, 2005. <http://www.freehawaii.org/liliuo.html>
14 Liliuokalani. December 28, 2004.
15 Cupp, William J. Liliuokalani Proclaimed Queen of Hawaii. December 16, 2004. <http://www.indwes.edu/Faculty/bcupp/hawaii/Lilikuolaini.htm>
Other Sources Used:
Liluokalani, Last Queen of Hawaii. December 16, 2004. <http://www.interlog.com/~gilgames/liliuo.htm>
Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii. Hawaii's Story. December 16, 2004. <http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/liliuokalani/hawaii/hawaii-1.html>