From Hawaiian Nation to an American State
With the Hawaiian lands “discovered” by the Englishman Captain James Cook in 1778, Western traders, missionaries, explorers, and whalers soon arrived with their own objectives. They drastically transformed native Hawaiian ways on the Islands. In 1959, nearly two hundred years later, Hawai'i became an American state.
Native Hawaiian Culture and Sovereignty
King Kamehameha the Great, of the Big Island of Hawai'i, established a constitutional monarchy in 1810 governing over 400,000 native Hawaiians. Hawaiian monarchs developed a national coinage and flag and encouraged aspects of native culture even as they developed a European-style monarchy.
American Interests in Hawai'i
With westerners' arrival and the establishment of pineapple and sugar plantations owned mainly by white Americans, Hawaiian islanders transitioned from a subsistence lifestyle to a cash economy. Thousands of low paid Asian laborers were recruited to work the fields.
In 1893 American business leaders overthrew Queen Liliuokalani. Despite Native Hawaiian protests, the United States annexed Hawai'i as a territory in 1898.