Monday, March 20, 2000



A journey through time

Some highlights of Hawaii's history, with an eye toward native Hawaiian milestones:

Bullet About 300-750 A.D.: Polynesian explorers first migrate to the Hawaiian Islands.

Bullet 300-1778: Hawaiians develop cultural, caste and land systems that support an estimated 300,000 to 1 million people.

Bullet 1778: British explorer Capt. James Cook finds Hawaii, ending the islands' isolation.

Bullet 1780-1800: Hawaii gains international importance in East-West fur trade, sandalwood trade and as hub for Pacific whaling industry.

Bullet 1810: Kamehameha the Great unites Hawaiian Islands.

Bullet 1819: Liholiho ascends throne as Kamehameha II and abandons many of the ancient kapu (taboos).

Bullet 1820: First American Protestant missionaries arrive aboard the brig Thaddeus, bringing Western education and commerce. Native population declines as new diseases are introduced.

Bullet 1826: United States extends full diplomatic recognition to Kingdom of Hawaii and enters into treaties and conventions to govern friendship, commerce and navigation.

Bullet 1835: Overharvesting of sandalwood and depletion of whales spurs first commercial production of sugar cane. Asian laborers are imported to work plantations.

Bullet 1840: Kauikeaouli, Kamehameha III, enacts first constitution of kingdom. Western governmental structure is adopted, as well as Western judicial system.

Bullet 1843: British Navy seizes Hawaii for Great Britain but restores kingdom five months later.

Bullet 1848: Kamehameha III institutes Mahele, or division, aimed at dividing the land equally among king, ali'i (nobles) and maka'ainana (commoners).

Bullet 1864: Prince Lot Kapuaiwa, Kamehameha V, signs Constitution of 1864 reasserting monarch's powers.

Bullet 1873: Hawaii's first elected king, William Lunalilo, reigns for one year before his death.

Bullet 1887: David Kalakaua, "Merrie Monarch" elected to the throne in 1874, is forced to sign "Bayonet Constitution," which reduces monarchy to ceremonial status and gives executive powers to new Cabinet. Voting rights are extended to American and European males regardless of citizenship.

Bullet 1891: Congress passes "McKinley Tariff," which erases advantages enjoyed by American sugar growers in Hawaii.

Kamehameha, Liliuokalani

Bullet 1892: Queen Lili'uokalani ascends throne when brother, Kalakaua, dies.

Bullet 1893: The monarchy is overthrown. A provisional government is proclaimed; a year later, it becomes the Republic of Hawaii.

Bullet 1895: Lili'uokalani imprisoned after failed counter-revolt. Under house arrest, she signs document formally abdicating throne.

Bullet 1898: During Spanish-American War, Hawaii gains importance as U.S. military hub. Also, President McKinley signs into law Joint Resolution of Annexation passed by Congress, which annexes Hawaii to United States and recognizes Hawaiian government and crown lands are in special trust under federal government's proprietorship.

Bullet 1900: Congress passes Organic Act, establishing Hawaii's territorial government.

Bullet 1920: Congress passes Hawaiian Homes Commission Act; some 200,000 acres are set aside for Hawaiian homesteads.

Bullet 1941: Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor plunges United States into World War II.

Bullet 1945: Japan's surrender ends war years, which saw martial law in Hawaii and internment of Japanese Americans nationwide.

Bullet 1954: Democrats win Territorial Legislature for first time; birth of Democratic power here.

Bullet 1959: After decades of efforts in Congress, Hawaii becomes a state. The United States cedes to the state of Hawaii former Hawaiian government and crown lands and mandates they be held by state "in public trust."

Bullet 1962: After more than half-century of GOP and "Big 5" plantation rule, Hawaii voters elect John Burns first Democratic governor.

Bullet 1978: Constitutional Convention creates Office of Hawaiian Affairs as principal agency for programs and activities relating to Hawaiians; for assessing policies of other agencies impacting Hawaiians; conducting advocacy; disbursing grants to Hawaiians; serving as receptacle for reparations from federal government.

Bullet 1980: After negotiations between OHA and the state, Legislature sets a formula to satisfy federal requirement of bettering conditions for Hawaiians. It does this by appropriating a pro rata portion of the Public Land Trust and by providing all Hawaiians with the right to choose their leaders through the elective process.

Bullet 1993: Congress passes and President Clinton signs "Public Law 103-150" apologizing for U.S. role in monarchy's overthrow 100 years ago and for deprivation of native Hawaiians' rights to self-determination.

Bullet 1996: Harold "Freddy" Rice files suit in U.S. District Court, saying he has been unconstitutionally denied the right to vote for OHA's trustees. After years of court losses and appeals, the case is heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in October 1999. On Feb. 23, 2000, the high court rules in his favor.

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