The Hawaiian Islands Celebrates 175 Years of Independence
This year, 2018 is the 175th anniversary of an historic moment… when the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands was recognized as a sovereign state — an equal among the major powers of the world.
This is the amazing story of how an enlightened Hawaiian monarch kept his kingdom from being colonized.
In 1842, the young King of the Hawaiian Islands, Kamehameha III sent a delegation of three men to the other side of the world on a vital mission: to secure assurances from the three major world powers at the time — Great Britain, France and the United States — that they would respect, uphold and protect the sovereignty of the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands as an independent state.
If the delegation succeeded, Hawaii would be the first non-European country to be accepted as an equal in the euro-centric Family of Nations. The Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands would be a sovereign state under international law with equal standing to the colonial powers. Thus the Hawaiian Islands would be protected from falling victim to colonization. The strategy worked…
In 1842, faced with the threat of foreign encroachment on his Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands, His Majesty King Kamehameha III deemed it prudent and necessary to dispatch a delegation from the Hawaiian Kingdom to the United States and Europe with the power to negotiate treaties and to ultimately secure recognition of the Hawaiian Islands as a sovereign, independent state by the three major powers of the world: the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of France and the United States of America.
On April 8, 1842 Kamehameha III commissioned his chief aide Mr. Timoteo Ha’alilio, along with Mr. William Richards and Sir George Simpson as joint Ministers Plenipotentiary to fulfill this mission. Simpson left soon after for England via Alaska and Siberia, while Ha’alilio and Richards departed on July 8, 1842 via Mexico and the United States.
While in Washington, D.C., on December 19, 1842, Haʻalilio and Richards secured from President Tyler, assurance of the United States of America’s recognition of Hawaiian independence.
They then proceeded to Europe to join Simpson (who had traveled westward through Asia and Europe) to engage in talks with Great Britain and France. On March 17, 1843, at the urging of King Leopold of Belgium, King Louis-Phillipe of France recognized Hawaiian independence and on April 1, 1843, Lord Aberdeen on behalf of Her Britannic Majesty Queen Victoria assured the Hawaiian delegation that: "Her Majesty’s Government was willing and had determined to recognize the independence of the [Hawaiian] Islands under their present sovereign."
On November 28, 1843, at the Court of London, representatives of the British and French Governments signed an agreement, now called the Anglo-Franco Proclamation, formally recognizing the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands as a sovereign, independent nation-state.
After the great achievement of gaining formal international recognition, King Kamehameha III thereafter established November 28 as an official national holiday of the Hawaiian Kingdom to be celebrated in perpetuity as Lā Kūʻokoʻa, Hawaiian Independence Day.
But that “perpetuity” lasted just 50 years. In 1893, a small group of wealthy businessmen intent on handing the country over to the United States. deposed the Queen and usurped the kingdom government. In 1894, the usurpers proclaimed the Kingdom to be the “Republic of Hawaii.” The next year the Republic proceeded to purge the national holidays of the Kingdom. Lā Ku’oko’a was replaced by the American holiday, Thanksgiving Day.
Five years later, through a series of blatantly unlawful acts, in abject violation of international laws and treaties and in complete contravention to the Hawaiian Kingdom’s status as a sovereign state, the U.S. claimed it had annexed the Hawaiian Islands and heavy-handed de-nationalization policies went into full swing to Americanize the Hawaiian people for assimilation into the United States.
At first Hawaiians protested and celebrated Lā Ku’oko’a anyway, telling the story of the national heroes who had travelled to Europe to secure recognition of Hawaii’s sovereignty. But over time, the growing U.S. encroachment over territory and relentless American indoctrination led to the 1959 fabrication, the so-called “State of Hawaii.” Memory of the historic events, achievements and the holidays of the Kingdom receded and faded.
But over the past two decades Hawaiians began to uncover what really happened to their country — that it is not a state of the United States; that the sovereign status of the kingdom was never relinquished or extinguished; that the Hawaiian Kingdom still exists as a sovereign state in continuity; that international law supports the correction of international wrongful acts; that the United States claimed that Hawaii had been adopted when in reality, Hawaii had been abducted… kidnapped… by the U.S.
In the tradition and spirit of King Kamehameha III and the other patriots who established Hawaii as an enlightened, sovereign country, contemporary Hawaiian patriots have been engaged in many fronts to free their country from the grasp of the kidnapper… to rebuild the nation and the lives of the people … to reactivate the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands as a fully functioning independent country.
As the campaign to free and restore the Hawaiian Kingdom blossomed, so has the celebration of Lā Ku’oko’a, Hawaii Independence Day. The holiday has been revived and its observance is steadily growing in popularity, evidence of the reawakening and reactivation of the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands!
This year, 2018, the Hawaiian Kingdom is celebrating the 175th anniversary of the recognition of independence with events throughout the Hawaiian Islands, in London, Paris, Washington, D.C., and other places.