Back in the eighth century, simple Polynesian voyagers in their handmade sailing vessels arrived on the islands of Hawaii, not known then as the Hawaiian Islands or even the Sandwich Islands. They led an idyllic existence – hula dancing, surfing, exchanging leis, trading banter: “Kulikuli, Ku’uipo” or “Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou” and occasionally chanting.

hawaiiFor nearly a thousand years, Hawaiians lived like this (not the same ones, but many generations), and then came the pesky European explorers and – the Americans. American traders came to Hawaii for the islands’ sandalwood, which they sold to China. Then came the sugar industry followed naturally by missionaries. They moved right in and immediately upended Hawaiian political, cultural, economic, and religious life. In 1840, the monarchy, which had given us such notables as Kamehameha and Kamehameha II and Kamehameha III, became constitutional and lost much of its grandeur.

Four years later, a man name of Sanford B. Dole was born in Honolulu to American parents.

During the next four decades, Hawaii’s ties to the United States grew closer thanks to a number of treaties, and in 1887, a U.S. naval base was established at Pearl Harbor as part of a new Hawaiian constitution. Sugar exports to the United States grew, and U.S. investors and American sugar planters broadened their dominion over Hawaiian affairs. Queen Liliuokalani, who ascended to the throne in 1891, wanted none of this and said hele along with a Hawaiian gesture involving a ukulele.

The Americans were above trading unpleasantries. Instead on January 17, 1893, a revolutionary “Committee of Safety,” organized by the aforementioned Sanford B. Dole, staged a coup against Queen Liliuokalani. The United States turned a blind eye to the Hawaiian troubles, but 300 Marines who just happened to be in the neighborhood watched from offshore.

Shortly afterward, the US annexed Hawaii and sixty years later it became the 50th state. The Dole family – well, just think pineapple.

fuchsia January 17, 1501

German botanist Leonhard Fuchs was born in 1501. He died in 1566, but not before giving his name to the shrub that remains popular today.

No, it’s not the Rose of Leonhard.




One thought on “January 17, 1893: Wanna Go Back To My Little Grass Shack

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