The Hawaiian Monarchy

Before Hawaii was unified under a single monarch, its islands were ruled by warring chiefs. In 1810, the islands were finally united under a chief considered to be the greatest of Hawaii s monarchs Kamehameha the Great. His reign marked the beginning of the Kingdom of Hawaii that lasted until its tragic overthrow in 1893 by American businessmen. Hawaii s monarchs were tasked with shepherding in tumultuous change as the world began to encroach on the island kingdom. Visiting sailors, explorers, missionaries, traders, and whalers transformed Hawaii s social, economic, political, cultural, and environmental future not only centrally but on the world-stage. As American economic, cultural, and military interests in the islands grew throughout the nineteenth century, the stage was set for a confrontation leading to the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. A century later, Native Hawaiians remember their monarchs with reverence, recognizing the struggles of their chiefs to chart a wise path through the turbulent storms of disease, upheaval and change that had swept the islands of Hawaii. The Hawaiian Monarchy provides a narrative overview of each major monarch as they fought to protect Hawaiian sovereignty and its people, covering major events during their rule and the challenges they encountered.

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