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Queen Liliʻuokalani

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

We wanted to dedicate this post to sharing 5 fun facts about Queen Liliʻuokalani taken from the book "Liliʻuokalani” by Ruby Hasegawa Lowe (1993):

1. Liliʻuokalani was the first Aliʻi to visit Kalaupapa

In in 1877 Liliʻuokalani visited Kalaupapa, the leper colony on Molokaʻi. She was the first Aliʻi to visit the colony. She showed her aloha for the lepers by taking gifts of cloth, food, pictures and feathers to them. Upon her arrival Father Damien and eight hundred lepers welcomed her. Wheezing and straining, they sang for her. Seeing their misery and suffering, she decided to send medicines, book, music and furniture to the colony when she returned to Honolulu.

2. Liliʻuokalani is believed to have helped stop the Mauna Loa lava flow of 1877

In 1877 Liliʻuokalani traveled to Hilo. At the time Mauna Loa had been erupting for nine months, endangering Hilo residents. Many Hawaiians believed the volcano goddess Pele was causing the eruption. They felt Pele might stop the eruptions if given offerings. Liliʻuokalani’s Christian beliefs told her otherwise. She went to church to pray to God to stop the lava flow. Within a week the volcano ceased to erupt. She was convinced that her Christian God had succeeded over Pele.

3. King Kalākaua gave Liliʻuokalani her name

On April 11,1877, Liliʻu’s brother, King Kalākaua, declared her his heir apparent to the throne. Their brother, Leleiohoku, who had been heir apparent, had died the previous day. It was on that day that she became known as Liliʻuokalani. Her name change was her brotherʻs wish. Liliʻu preferred the name given to her at birth and told her brother she did not want a name that was “not her own.” Kalākaua told her if she did not accept it he would choose someone else to be heir apparent. Liliʻu gave in and became known as Princess Liliʻuokalani.

4. In 1891, Liliʻuokalani wanted to give Hawaiʻi a new constitution

In 1891, the queenʻs goal was to give Hawaiʻi a new constitution. In her book, “Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen”, Liliʻuokalani wrote she decided to write a new constitution because her ministers encouraged her to do so. Even more important, the Hawaiian people encouraged her to do so. She had received many petitions calling for a new constitution. Her new constitution included two very important items. First, only male subjects, Hawaiian born or naturalized, could vote. Second, the monarch did not need to get the cabinetʻs approval for all government measures. In other words, the decision-making power of the monarch, which the Constitution of 1887 had taken away, would be given back to the monarch.

5. Liliʻuokalani was not given compensation for the crown lands which were taken from her

Liliuokalani had a wealth of aloha all of her life, but she did not have a wealth of money in her later years. She was never given just compensation for the crown lands which were taken from her. By her estimation the crown lands included 911,888 acres and were worth twenty million dollars. She asked for ten million dollars in compensation but received nothing. She still had Washington Place as well as homes in Kāhala, Pālama, Waiʻalae, Waialua and Waikīkī. She also had a modest income. It was not until 1912 that the Territory of Hawaiʻi began paying her twelve thousand dollars a year.

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