IWD: Queen Liliuokalani
I'm in the beautiful land of Hawaii right now, and so today I'd like to remember Hawaii's last monarch, Queen Liliuokalani. She was born in Honolulu as Lydia Kamakameha in 1838. Her brother became king in 1874, and upon his death in 1891 she became Hawaii's first reigning queen. By that time American business concerns had gained considerable power which they were unwilling to relinquish. After only two years their intrigues forced the Queen from her throne. Although President Cleveland officially supported her, she was never reinstated, and Hawaii was annexed by the United States under President McKinley in 1898. Liliuokalani endured a year of house arrest (1895-1896) but was then allowed to return to her home, where she remained until her death in 1917.
Although Hawaii's queen and her reign are unknown by most Americans, one piece of her legacy is familiar around the world. In 1878 Liluokalani was inspired to compose the song "Aloha Oe", which evokes visions of the Hawaiian islands even among those who have never visited them.
There's a great photo of Liliuokalani with Robert Louis Stevenson here (scroll down).