Hawaii’s quest for a new type of independence | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Hawaii’s quest for a new type of independence

AT A COOL new bookstore in Honolulu called Da Shop, I met the foreign minister of the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands, Leon Kaulahao Siu. He spends much of his time lobbying at the United Nations and at international missions in Europe. His biggest challenge is persuading diplomats that the Kingdom of Hawaii exists. When they ask if Hawaii is not part of the United States, Mr. Siu hands them a pamphlet called, “The Basis for the Restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom.”

“The Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands is actually an existing, sovereign, independent country,” the pamphlet asserts. “The United States never lawfully acquired the Hawaiian Islands. The so-called ‘State of Hawaii’ is a fictional entity fabricated by the United States in order to make its presence in the Hawaiian Islands appear to be legitimate.”

Hawaii is the only American state that was once a kingdom. The royal family was overthrown in 1893 with decisive help from President Benjamin Harrison and US Marines. Soon afterward a new president, Grover Cleveland, condemned the overthrow as “an act of war” and asked Congress to return the royal family to power. Congress refused. Instead, in 1898, it voted to annex Hawaii. In 1959 Hawaii was admitted to the Union as our 50th state.

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