On August 21, 1959, Hawaii became the 50th and the most recent state to join the United States.

English: Flag of Hawaii Hawai`i: Ka hae Hawaiʻ...

Flag of Hawaii Hawai`i: Ka hae Hawaiʻi

Like Vermont, Texas and California, it was an independent republic before becoming a state.

Hawaii was a Republic for four years, from 1894 to 1898, after American and European businessmen living there overthrew the king.

The United States annexed it as a territory in 1898.

It was a sovereign monarchy from 1810 to 1893.

It was probably populated by Polynesians from the Marquesas in 300 A.D. and possibly from Tahiti in 1000 A.D.

British Captain James Cook discovered the islands in 1778, but there may have been Spanish explorers there as much as 200 years before on their way to the Philippines.

The state flag of Hawaii, with its British Union Jack, reflects this early British influence.

Smallpox, measles and flu were new to the islands, and, along with famine and internecine warfare among the Hawaiian chiefs, they halved the population within a hundred years of explorers landing.

In 1810, the islands were united under a single chief, King Kamehameha, whose dynasty ruled until 1872.

Two kings in a row, one elected, had no heirs, leading to riots over succession and U.S. and British involvement.

By 1887, the remaining king was forced to cede his power, giving the vote to property owners, which were mostly not native Hawaiians.

In 1893, Queen Lili’uokalani was overthrown. In 1894, the Republic of Hawaii was established and white residents petitioned to be annexed by the U.S.

In 1898, the islands were annexed as a U.S. territory and in 1900 given the right of self-governance.

Though for 50 years plantation owners preferred territorial status, the tide changed with the right to vote of those children born in the U.S. to immigrant laborers, who wanted statehood.

In March, 1959, Congress passed the Hawaii Admission Act. Hawaiians supported it in a referendum 17 to 1.

Hawaii was admitted to the Union on August 21, 1959.

In the 2010 census, Hawaii had a population of 1.36 million.

Have you ever been to Hawaii?


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers”



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