Queen Lili’uokalani (1838-1917) was the last monarch of Hawaii, ruling for two years (1891-1893) until the Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown. She lived in her majestic home in Honolulu for more than 20 years, ever since she was a married princess. She authored a new constitution for Hawaii, long before it became a state, and penned more than 160 songs, including the anthem Aloha Oe (a reproduction of the original written by the Queen’s hand is exhibited at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu).
Her biography, Hawaii’s Story, was originally published in 1898 and remains available through worldcat.org or your local public library. (A shorter version can be found at https://www.biography.com/royalty/liliuokalani.)
While imprisoned, she translated into English An Account of the Creation of the World According to Hawaiian Tradition, which can be read here: An Account of the Creation of the World.
One of many important parts of her fascinating life was that, as a princess, she bestowed the Royal Order of Kalakaua upon Father Damien, who had devoted his life to a leper colony. You can read more about him at http://www.workersforjesus.com/fatherdamien.htm.
She also founded a bank for women because it had been the tradition in Hawaii during the Victorian era that women did not handle finances or property ownership. She thought they should be able to access financial resources on their own. Read about this project and others she initiated at https://www.hawaiibusiness.com/ahead-of-her-time.
In 2020, a controversy was stirred about Hawaii’s 1969 gift of the sculpture of Father Damien (versus a sculpture of Queen Lili’oukalani) to the US Capitol. No change resulted but an article about the different points of view can be found here: https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2020/09/08.
Later in the Queen’s life, the house became the residence of several governors of Hawaii while they were in office. Visitors can tour her home at Washington Place, though it is not open every day so check the website for its hours.
For Kids and Kids-At-Heart
Young readers who like time travel books should check out Ann Hood’s Queen Lili’uokalani: Royal Prisoner, which is the sixth book in The Treasure Chest series. It also has a fun website to explore at http://www.treasurechestseries.com.
On the Path
This is the second stop on our Hawaii Author Adventures Trail.