On the anniversary of the overthrow of our Nation, and every other day, we must remind ourselves that sovereignty, ea, exists in the minds and the hearts of the people. Our education, resistance, and growing sense of kuleana fuels this ea.
130 years ago today, a coup backed by the United States military overthrew the sovereign country of Hawaiʻi. The coup was made up of subjects of the Hawaiian Kingdom who were of American descent, as well as American citizens. They included sugar plantation owners, business owners, and descendants of American missionaries. These men were proponents of Hawaiʻi’s annexation to the U.S.
On January 16 1893, the coup held a public meeting to denounce the Queen and gain support for annexation. Only a thousand people attended, nearly all of them white males. U.S. Minister Stevens backed the committee and decided to land 300 American troops that same day to prevent the destruction of American lives and property.
On January 17, Queen Liliʻuokalani was forced to surrender her throne under the force of the U.S. military and the threat of war. President Cleveland investigated the overthrow and deemed it a war crime. He later denied having any involvement in the investigation. The U.S. continued their ploy of Manifest Destiny and illegally occupied the sovereign nation of Hawaiʻi.
In 1897, U.S. President McKinley signed a treaty of annexation for the Republic of Hawaiʻi which was never ratified by the United States. In April 1898, the United States went to war with Spain. The Nation of Hawaiʻi had demonstrated its value as a naval base and was allegedly “annexed” through the Newlands Resolution, by way of Congressional-executive agreement method, which requires only a majority vote in both houses. This is not a formal process of annexation.
There is no treaty of annexation between Hawaiʻi and the United States. The Newlands Resolution was not a formal process of annexation and only made the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and its citizens prisoners of war. Schools across America and in Hawaiʻi teach that Hawaiʻi was annexed by the U.S. in 1898. This is not true. Hawaiʻi is still illegally occupied by the United States today.