Hidden History: The 1893 US Invasion of Hawaii

The Betrayal of Liliuokalani: Last Queen of Hawaii 1838-1917

By Helena G Allen

Mutual Publishing (1982)

Book Review

This comprehensive biography of the last Queen of Hawaii, deposed during an 1893 US invasion, is based mainly on her diary and other writings. It reveals that the sovereignty of Hawaii had largely been usurped by foreign missionaries, adventurers and sugar entrepreneurs well before Liliuokalani’s birth in 1838.

Hawaii became a constitutional monarchy in 1852, with voting for the national legislature was limited to male property owners. Although native Hawaiians retained the throne until Liliuokalani was formally deposed in 1893, Hawaiian monarchs had no standing military nor ability to limit haole* immigration, ongoing seizure of their lands nor tax the enormously lucrative haole sugar plantations.

When Queen Liliuokalani ascended the thrown in 1891, haole members of the legislature had been plotting the overthrow of the monarchy for two years.

In 1893, haole of US origin residing in Honolulu organized a coup against the Queen. To assist them, they prevailed on US appointed minister to Hawaii John L Stevens to call in 162 marines from the USS Boston.

When he learned of the coup and the marine intrusion, outgoing president Benjamin Harrison requested Hawaii’s new Provisional Government hold a plebiscite. Aware that 90% of the country’s population supported the Queen’s restoration, the latter refused.

On March 1, 1893 incoming president Grover Cleveland ordered the marines to withdraw and replaced Stevens with James Henderson Blount, whom he ordered to restore Liliuokalani to her throne.

When Blount failed to do, so a group of native Hawaiians launched an armed uprising. The Provisional Government responded by declaring martial law. Although Liliuokalani denied any knowledge of the rebellion, she was arrested and convicted of “misprision.”**

Following her 20-month imprisonment, she made repeated trips to the US to advocate for the human rights of native Hawaiians.

The US would formally annex Hawaii in 1898 where they declared war on Spain and invaded the Philippines. In 1900, Hawaii officially became a US territory.

*A term used to refer to “white” residents of Hawaii who are not descendants of native Hawaiians.

**A term in English law referring to neglect in preventing or reporting a felony or treason by a non-accessory.




15 thoughts on “Hidden History: The 1893 US Invasion of Hawaii

  1. No white ‘aholes’ have any business in Hawaii. NONE! Even my Black ass would have no business in Hawaii unless I was invited there by the Native Hawaiians. And I would never think of just taking over someone else’s home, claim it for myself and then throw them out on the streets, which is exactly what the white ‘aholes’ did and they are still at it to this very day. And this ‘practice’ did not start with Hawaii and it did not end with Hawaii.

    Liked by 2 people

    • He-he, funny what happens when you scramble those letters, Shelby. It seems to be the law of white capitalism that anything goes unless you sue them or use armed force. To quote Donald Trump, “If you don’t like it, sue me.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah! Too bad the Native Hawaiians didn’t have military might that could have been used against their colonizers and even if they could sue to get the ‘ahole’ off their islands, it would do no good. More’s the damn pity. And yeah, funny how it only took a minor twist and I came up with the truth. Funny that!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: HIDDEN HISTORY: The 1893 US Invasion of Hawaii | RIELPOLITIK

  3. Thanks for your comment, John. By “balanced” do you mean more pro-US? A work of fiction, such as a novel, gives an author a lot of leeway in being creative with the facts. All the factual accounts I’ve read about the US annexation of Hawaii (including Wikipedia) confirm the events described in this biography really happened.


    • By balanced, I suppose I mean more pro-missionary than pro-US.

      A 1,000 + page novel allows an author to really develop his themes.
      The major reason Queen Liliukalani was never reinstated on her throne was her determination to behead 62 of the US conspirators against her. Politically, this was impossible for the US to sanction.

      Michener makes the point that the missionaries lived lives of selfless devotion to dragging the Hawaiians into the 19th century, out of their savage barbarity. Most of them lived in second hand clothes salvaged from the missionary HQ.
      Michener does not shirk from making the point that most of these missionaries despised the Hawaiians as people, regarding them as predestined to everlasting Hell through their Calvinist religion. The hugest irony.

      The people who joined forces with the shippers, sugar & pineapple planters etc were, by & large, the children & descendants of these missionaries, who had taken no missionary vows. These people put huge efforts into artesian wells, irrigation works on huge scales & massive improvements to agriculture, from which large profits were made.

      Measles, etc decimated the original Hawaiians & replacement workers were imported from Japan, the Philippines & China, etc.

      Michener’s great novel is a solid introduction to the lovely Islands, their peoples & their history.

      John Doran.


      • I think you should check out Liliuokalani’s biography, John – if not this one, there are several other good ones, which unlike Mitchener’s novel are based on historical fact. This book documents quite clearly that the claim about Liliu’s desire to behead “162 co-conspirators” was a total fabrication by the US press aimed at supporting the US government’s imperial designs. Likewise a variety of non-factual US media claims about native Hawaiians being “savage” and “barbaric” were totally fabricated.

        Labeling indigenous peoples as “savage” and “barbaric” was (and still is) a common ploy European and US colonizers have used to steal their land from them.

        In contempory society, referring to indigenous people as “savage” and “barbaric” is regarded as racist, and I highly recommend you not repeat this comment elsewhere.


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