The Hawaiian Monarchy

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The Hawaiian Monarchy tells the extraordinary story of the Hawaiian Kingdom, from its foundations in its alii past to its overthrow in 1898. Its eight kings and queens reigned over a turbulent century that encompassed the Western discovery of the Islands, clashes between world powers, the arrival of the missionaries, the devastating effects of foreign diseases, and massive and irrevocable cultural transformation. Theirs are personal stories powered by the forces of history, rich with intrigue, tragedy, and inspiration, played out against a background of royal pageantry and splendor.

In the millenia before Western contact, canoe-borne Polynesians reached the Islands across vast distances of Pacific Ocean and created a Hawaiian culture that was distinctive, vibrant, self-reliant, and sophisticated. Over the centuries, a class of great ruling chiefs emerged, the alii nui, who controlled the whole islands, delegating rule over commoners to lesser, local chiefs.

Just three decades after Western contact, one of these great chiefs — through war and diplomacy — made a single kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands. His name, which would pass to his heirs, was Kamehameha. His son Kamehameha II (Liholiho) died young in London, far separated from his nation and people; another son, Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) would preside for three decades over an evolving realm. Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho) was swayed toward British interests; Kamehameha V (Lot), "the last great chief of the olden type," died without naming an heir to the throne.

There followed two elected kings: William Charles Lunalilo, the first, held power for little more than a year. David Kalakaua, after the stormiest election in Hawaii's history, presided over a truly regal era and became the first ruler in world history to make a royal progress around the globe. The last of the Hawaiian monarchs, Liliuokalani, met a sadder fate; deposed unlawfully by American business interests, she engaged in a futile struggle against formidable opponents to regain her throne.

Deeply researched and richly illustrated, and including images from the author's own archives, The Hawaiian Monarchy paints a colorful and multidimensional picture of life in old Hawaii and the nineteenth century, weaving together biography, history, and culture to bring Hawaii's royal past to life. A chronology of events, full index, and list of major personages is included for ease of reference.

About the Author: Writer, historian, photographer, and archivist Allan Seiden has lived in Hawaii since 1974. His work as a travel writer and historian has appeared in publications across the globe, and he is the author of a series of books on Hawaiian history and culture, including Pearl Harbor: From Fishponds to Warships and Diamond Head: Hawaii's Icon.

The recipient of three Kahili Awards for contributions to the perpetuation and dissemination of Hawaiian culture, Seiden lives in Honolulu with his daughters, Martine and Sonyah.

Hard cover. Full color. 138 pages. 9.5 inches by 12.5 inches.

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