Queen Lili‘uokalani, born as Lydia Lili‘u Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamaka‘eha, was the last reigning monarch of the kingdom of Hawai‘i. She ascended the throne in January of 1891, upon the death of her brother, King David Kalākaua. The Queen’s desire to restore traditional powers to the sovereign threatened the power of the group of prominent businessmen known as the Missionary Party. With the support of armed U.S. Marines, this group overthrew the Queen in January 1893. For years after her overthrow, the Queen sought redress in the Congress and courts of the United States, but her efforts failed. In July 1898, Hawai‘i was annexed as a territory to the United States of America.
As part of her efforts to stave off annexation, the Queen published Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani in early 1898. She worked closely with the American journalist Julius Palmer on the manuscript, and the book reflects her experiences and perspectives. This classic work is the only autobiography written by a Hawaiian monarch, and provides a glimpse of life in Honolulu during her lifetime.
The Queen describes her childhood, and shares her thoughts on Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma, Kamehameha V, the reign of Kalākaua, and her marriage to John O. Dominis in 1862. A key work on Hawaiian history, it is especially valuable for the Queen’s account of the increasingly ominous state of Hawaiian politics surrounding the overthrow of the monarchy, including her 1895 arrest, abdication, and trial on charges of having knowledge of treasonous activities against the newly formed government, the Republic of Hawaii.
The new edition of Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani, is based on the 1898 edition, enhanced with additional illustrations, and annotated by David W. Forbes. An introductory essay about the publishing history of the first edition includes portions of early drafts of the manuscript deemed too inflammatory to include by the publisher. A foreword by the trustees of the Queen Lili‘uokalani Trust underscores that the Queen’s legacy lives on, providing financial resources and social services for orphans and destitute Hawaiian children through the programs of the Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Centers.