The Kingdom of Hawai’i: The History of the Hawaiian State Before It Was Annexed by America

The Kingdom of Hawai’i: The History of the Hawaiian State Before It Was Annexed by America

Narrated by:
Colin Fluxman
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Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
January 2022
1 hour 33 minutes
The Hawaiian kingdom existed for about a century, from the early 1790s to 1893, starting when King Kamehameha finally united the islands and lasting until American planters and businessmen staged a coup and forced Queen Lili’uokulani to abdicate. During the century of its existence, the kingdom offered its native peoples considerable protection. For example, in the later 1800s, several thousands of Pacific islanders were, in effect, kidnapped and forced to serve as indentured laborers in places like the Guano Islands in Peru and plantations in Queensland in the nefarious practice called “Blackbirding.” The kingdom offered literacy, converted its people to Christianity, and accommodated its people to the intrusive outside world. The achievement of establishing the kingdom belongs to an outstanding warrior king, Kamehameha the Great.

Kamehameha is probably the single most important figure in Hawai’i’s history. His life bracketed a time when Hawaii was its own world, and its people were unaware of the existence of anywhere outside the archipelago to when Hawai'i was inseparably joined to the world economy. A pivotal year was 1778 when the British exploring expedition under the famous Captain Cook “discovered” the islands. Cook was killed in 1779 by Hawaiians in a brawl based on mutual misunderstandings. Kamehameha was there, and he quickly realized the utility of firearms and cannons and used them in his conquest. He had two English captives who became close advisors and helped smooth Hawai'i's transition from an isolated island group to a participant in the Pacific world.

The intrusion of the outside world was inevitable, epic, and destructive. The islands’ total population at the time of Cook’s “discovery” is unknown, but it is variously estimated to be between 300,000 to 1,000,000 at the point of contact in 1778.
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