Hawaiian Royal Hats Part III: Bayonet Constitution and Illegal Overthrow

While Queen Kapi‘olani and sister Princess Lili‘uokalani were in Europe attending Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, King Kalākaua faced more dire circumstances. The Hawaiian League (a secret society that formed in early 1887 with the purpose of annexing Hawaii to the United States) and American businessmen controlled a vast majority of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s wealth at the time. On June 30, 1887, the Honolulu Rifles (white soldiers who had become the secret military arm of the Hawaiian League) and Reformed Party politicians joined forces, demanding that King Kalākaua dismiss his loyal Cabinet and endorse a new constitution stripping him of his personal authority and transferring power to the legislature and cabinet of the government.

Read the full story