Hawaiian monarchy

One thing I’ve found living in Hawaii (formerly called the Sandwich Islands by Captain Cook in honor of the Earl of Sandwich) is that the locals don’t admit, much less know, the true history of the islands. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of flack for talking about this but I think it’s something that needs to be brought up.

First off, a local resident (Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.) has spent many years trying to put out the truth. He’s written several books that are effectively banned on the island. The books are continually being stolen from libraries or being defaced so much as to be useless. The schools don’t even bring the up idea that Hawaiian history may be different from “common knowledge” and effectively distort the history of the islands. Locals get almost hostile if it’s implied that the monarchs weren’t anything if not upright, outstanding citizens who only had the best interests of their subjects in mind.

Unfortunately, the history of Hawaii is not what they teach in schools. The so-called “natives” of current Hawaii aren’t truly native. The Polynesians who arrived in Hawaii kicked out or killed the Tahitians who had arrived previously (unfortunately I can’t find the document that mentioned this at the moment, but Wikipedia discusses this to a limited extent). Shortly thereafter the European explorers found the islands.

The history of King Kamehaeha (hereafter called “King Kam”) is suspicious. The legend of his birth and boyhood sounds extremely close to the story of Moses, another “birth of a hero” myth. (The following is an abbreviated version of his life). A prophecy foretold that a boy would be born who would be the “killer of kings”. The current king, who was also is uncle I believe, decreed that Kam be killed. So he was “abandoned” to a childless couple that raised him as their own. Later on he was allowed back into the court by his uncle and he eventually became king after his uncle died.

I saw a children’s book in a bookstore a while back that talked about this “great king”. The story was almost exactly like the story of Moses in the Bible. It was so close that I now wonder if perhaps his birth and childhood were rewritten in Hawaiian history after the Christian missionaries came. It would make a powerful message for the people to be associated with a great Biblical leader, even if the people didn’t immediately convert to Christianity.

The Myth of the Birth of the Hero is an interesting site about a book that discusses the similarity of mythical and legendary heroes around the world; surprisingly (or not) many heroes have the same type of childhood: born to parents who couldn’t care for him for some reason, either given to or found by a childless couple who then raise the boy as their own, the boy performs great deeds as he grows up, and when an adult he becomes a king or other legendary figure.

Another aspect of King Kam is the fact that he wasn’t as benevolent a ruler as everyone believes. First off, he was quite blood thirsty when it came to “uniting” the Hawaiian islands. Like nearly every other king in history, he achieved his land grab by force, killing most resistance and even attacking his cousins. He used Western weapons to help achieve this by buying guns and ammunition from British and American traders. The Pali Lookout in the middle of Oahu is a famous landmark where King Kam pushed more than 400 men over a cliff. Needless to say, the resistance against King Kam and his dreams of glory was quite stiff but eventually failed. King Kam did unite the islands under his kingdom but the cost in lives was quite large.

The Hawaiian monarchy, like many others, ended up creating a class system with the working poor supporting the desires of the aristocrats. The Kings and Queens lived in luxury while the average citizen lived in comparative squalor. The government was corrupt (and still is in many aspects); as Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. writes, “[King] Kalakaua had repeatedly thrown out cabinets which refused to sign his legislative proposals, and had openly bribed both elected Representatives and appointed Nobles, running the government as though he was a tin-horn dictator.” The so-called “Bayonet Constitution” was designed to fix the corruption and limit the powers of the King.

The final overthrow of Queen Lili’uokalani was, according to Dr. Conklin,  “was precipitated by her publicly announced intention to unilaterally proclaim a new constitution, violating the existing constitution she had sworn to uphold. Her new constitution would have restored strong powers to the monarch, including undoing the reforms of the constitution of 1887. Her attempt to unilaterally proclaim a new constitution was a naked grab for power, and an act of treason; and it was the immediate precipitating cause of her overthrow.” The US military was indeed in port at the time of the overthrow but was not involved in the action, contrary to popular thought. The coup, such as it was, was instigated by the local militia.

That’s about all I will say on this matter but I encourage you to read Dr. Conklin’s information. I’ve found corroborating information from other sources so I believe that Dr. Conklin has a better grasp of the “real” history vs. what is taught in the local schools. Though many will say Dr. Conklin is biased, I would say the local information is even more so; intelligent discussion on the matter is rarely allowed here. Heck, even the King Kam statue can’t be used in parody ads without getting people pissed off, even though US President’s are used in parodies all the time.

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15 Responses to Hawaiian monarchy

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  3. tahitiprince says:

    Get your #Facts…

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    Mahalo and Aloha.

    And also as a Hawaiian.. “I do NOT, even believe in your name,”
    “Common Sense..” does NOT exist. We are ALL created special.

  4. john says:

    Yet oddly, the Hawaiian flag looks colonial in appearance as do the color guards attire who present it. One would think Hawaii would strive to address the issue of a new flag & attire that actually represents HER people not give people the first impression when they see Hawaii’s flag they are apart of a system/a knock off of those they oppose?

    • john says:

      (just a thought, as at first sight my first thought was colonial colony?)

    • Marc Mielke says:

      It’s weirder than that. Hawaii was never an English colony but REALLY REALLY WANTED TO BE, so much that they put the Union Jack on their flag. Hawaiian royalty loved the look of the English monarchs and really tried to emulate that in all their clothes and buildings and stuff.

      I am part-Hawaiian and learned the most Hawaiian history from Sarah Vowell’s “Unfamiliar Fishes”. Vowell is a pop-history writer with an encyclopaedic knowledge of early American history, and completely randomly was also the invisible girl in the Incredibles.

    • jessica says:

      I do believe that many natives are misinformed about Hawaiian history, maybe the problem lies in different interpretations of the events and the motives for them. But that is because I went to school here all my life and at least every other year we had Hawaiian studies class. I’m guessing this is the only state that this class is required in so I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the majority of the people here are not familiar with their history. I have two of my elementary school text books from different grades and the story changes slightly from one to another even. Because of these inconsistencies I find it hard to just swallow any old story out of a book, although I’m sure the one you read is very good. As one of those videos show though the actual documents are still out there. That’s what I’m more inclined to believe.
      Also I think its important to remember that at the time the flag was designed and adopted they were not opposed to the governments they were trying to emulate with the flag design. Hawaii did not start out as a colony at all, but they did need to seek recognition from England and other nations to ensure their sovereignty. After all without recognition from other nations you can claim sovereignty all you want and not be a sovereign nation. Or don’t the Hawaiians know that yet?
      And is it somehow required to have a completely unique flag in order to be a nation? I honestly can’t say for sure how people felt or thought when they looked at the Hawaiian flag back in the 1800s when the flag really mattered. And i’m not sure what you mean by color guard, I may not have seen it? but if you look at the coat of arms or as i call it the shield looking thing with the striped part of the flag flanked by the two staff bearing dudes (can’t for the life of me remember what the feathered capes, staff and crown thingy are called even tho I saw them in every may day ceremony at my school for 7 years and I’m using my phone so I’m not gonna look it up) that seems to me a pretty good representative of Hawaiian culture.

  5. Ralph says:

    easier for the lazy to blame everything on the evil haoles…the reality is not that simple

  6. jessica says:

    Ok I haven’t read the whole thing Conklin wrote but it is interesting and it starts a good conversation certainly.
    To say that the natives here are not really natives is just bad logic though. First, its accepted that it was the Tahitians who came 500 years or so after the settlers from the Marquesas. This is supposed because of the close link between Hawaiian and Tahitian culture. Its in both the high school and elementary texts I have. I think the fact that they don’t mention killing and/or kicking out is due to that being a largely legendary story, just like the prophecy and mystery surrounding Kamehameha’s early life. In text books they are called just that, legends, because there was no written language in the 1700s all Hawaiian history was an oral history for a long time. Not many people actually believe in all the hype, that’s why you find the stories in children’s books. Do you think people believe Maui fished out the island chain from the bottom of the ocean with a magic hook?
    Even if they did come here and conquer it doesn’t follow that they murdered every single person instead of just assimilating them. It’s not likely that their cultures were so different that that would have been hard to do. So there was probably some intermingling in the blood lines. It was already believed for a long time that the first settlers were Tahitian in 1000ad so I don’t see how the discovery that people arrived from the Marquesas around 300-800ad would neccesarily mean that people alive today are not native Hawaiians. There is no evidence of genocide other than a legend.

    Kamehameha’s legendary conquest of the island chain is actually not as sugar coated as you seem to believe. Well, yeah, in my elementary school text it kinda is. But they don’t really go into all that killing and subjugating at that age. And the high school book just skips as fast as it can to the good part (1900s and on!) Really there probably aren’t many people who look into Kamehameha’s reign in depth but there aren’t many illusions about how he took hawaii and who he hurt to do it. The descendants of the opposition are alive today, and some are still kinda pissed. Of course that is all just like the rest of Kamehameha’s life story, spoken history and family legends. Aside from that it’s actually pretty difficult to find out what life was like here before and even during Kamehameha’s reign. Basically it’s like history didn’t start before Cook came. I guess thats why everything before gets the qualified as “ancient hawaii” and is skipped over right quick.

    I’ve rambled a bit, I’m sorry. I’m using my phone so editing is incredibly difficult and I feel sure that the auto correct is doing it’s best to make me look like an idiot. Such is life.

  7. Truth says:


    Cool comments and videos. Regardless, Hawaiians are not here. Haolie Asians are now. Do not mix haolie Asians with Polynesians. They are not the same. A phillipino is not Hawaiian white people, neither is a Chinese or a Korean.


  8. franny101@gmail.com says:

    OK, taken in best/ kindest regard. Thanks for the information and enlightenment; although, some misrepresent themselves differently…..as though that should matter in any way. Sad, but in their minds…..

  9. franny101@gmail.com says:

    Thank you Jessica and My Truth. Jess- we appreciate you!

  10. Hbh says:

    Conklin is a white nationalist. Sorry its the truth. He ignores alot of facts in his assessments. For example, he states that America had not been involvement with the overthrow. However, History shows that alot of the members of the new provisional government were also American Citizens at the time of the overthrow and the use of U.S. Minister John L. Stevens to order US Marines to invade Hawaii is even more proof. However, I will agree not all of america was involved. What I find is often overlooked in discussion is the political leanings of these groups. President Cleveland a prominent democratic leaning president was opposed to the overthrow saying “it was an act of war”. However, Those involvement with the overthrow were prominently republican or had republican leanings. Even President McKinley who signed the illegal annexation was republican. Most of these arguments often comes down to what individuals beliefs are about who we are as americans and as a country. Thats a different topic however.

  11. Hbh says:

    Continued from previous post:

    Getting back on topic. I have issues with Conklin in his arguments of institutional racism. He uses examples of racial exclusion of Kamehameha Schools and the OHA. However Conklin often ignores true reality or facts. For example, he argues racism in providing Hawaiian Homelands but ignores that of the 1.8 million acres of ceded lands only about 3% of the lands are even used to house hawaiian people. The rest is used for military, public and other outside investors(others of different races). Further Conklin doesn’t seem to be too upset that in our country we have a problem with race based wealth. He wants to attack poor minorities but not look at the overall issues. If there is racism in Hawaii it is far from the word Haole or what Conklin argues but right in front of us in everyday life of our gentrified islands of America.

  12. There’s one flaw with what you’ve written. Polynesians came to Hawaii and settled there between 300 AD. Polynesians didn’t make it to Tahiti until around 500-600 AD.

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