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Hawaii History: 8 Events That Shaped the State

Image: Hawaii History: 8 Events That Shaped the State
Official portrait of Captain James Cook. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Monday, 23 Feb 2015 11:32 PM

The Japanese Navy's 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor played a key role in the history of both Hawaii and the United States. That attack triggered the most attention among many others, which all shaped the history of the Aloha State.

Here are eight important events that helped shape Hawaii's history:

1. Capt. Cook arrives: British explorer Capt. James Cook's arrival in the islands in 1778 marked the beginning of a new era characterized by considerable change in Hawaii. Cook was killed during a skirmish with islanders in 1779.

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2. Hawaii is united into a single kingdom: Warrior, diplomat and leader King Kamehameha I — after years of conflict — in 1810 united the Hawaiian Islands into one royal kingdom. According to The Hawaiian Islands, "Kamehameha's unification of Hawaii was significant not only because it was an incredible feat, but also because under separate rule, the Islands may have been torn apart by competing western interests." The U.S. in 1826 recognized the independence of Hawaii, which adopted its first constitution in 1840.

3. Constitution strips monarch of considerable power: Under pressure from U.S. investors and American sugar planters, King Kalakaua in 1887 agreed to a new constitution that stripped him of much of his power and allowed for the establishment of a U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. According to History.com, Queen Liliuokalani then ascended to the throne upon Kalakaua’s death in 1891 and refused to recognize the constitution of 1887, replacing it instead with a constitution that restored the monarchy's traditional authority.

4. Hawaiian monarchy is overthrown: A group of American sugar planters with help from the U.S. government in 1893 overthrew Queen Liliuokalani and set up a new provincial government. The Republic of Hawaii was established in 1894, the U.S. annexed Hawaii in 1898 and the U.S. formally made Hawaii a territory in 1900.

5. Japan attacks Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy carried out a sneak attack upon the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941 killing 2,403 Americans while destroying or damaging 19 U.S. Navy ships. The attack triggered the U.S. entry into World War II, during which Hawaii became firmly ensconced in the American national identity, says History.com.

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6. Hawaii becomes a state: The U.S. government approved statehood for Hawaii in March 1959 and the Hawaiian people voted by a wide margin the following June to accept admittance into the United States. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation on Aug. 21, 1959, admitting Hawaii to the union as its 50th state.

7. Commercial jet service to Hawaii begins: Quantas in 1959 became the first airlines to initiate commercial jet service to Hawaii. The presence of commercial jet service encouraged tourism and dramatically increased air traffic to and from the state, according to Hawaiian Airlines.

8. The United States apologizes for its role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy: The U.S. ended more than a century of official silence regarding the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy when in 1993, President Bill Clinton signed a joint resolution Congress had approved apologizing for the role the U.S. played in that overthrow. While some native Hawaiian leaders dismissed the apology as useless symbolism, an ecstatic Hawaiian Congressional delegation expressed glowing praise for it.

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The Japanese Navy's 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor played a key role in the history of both Hawaii and the United States. That attack triggered the most attention among many others, which all shaped the history of the Aloha State.
Hawaii History, Aloha State, Pearl Harbor
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2015-32-23
Monday, 23 Feb 2015 11:32 PM
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