Friday, November 28, 2014


Today in Hawaii’s history: recognition of restored Hawaiian nation

by Larry Geller

The Star-Advertiser noted that today, November 28, is the anniversary of the recognition of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign nation by England and France in 1843.

I thought I would flash back to the newspaper archives to see what I could find. I haven’t found a local account yet—but along the way, I did locate this article from the New York Daily Tribune that’s related. No, it’s not dated November 28. Part of the problem in locating articles in old papers outside of Hawaii is that there was no Internet then, no satellite news, no wire service. In this case, an article appeared because someone wrote a letter.

Although the news describes events in July, 1843, it will give a flavor of what was going on that year. For more of what happened prior to November 28, 1843 in detail, see this article: La Ku'oko'a: Events Leading to Independence Day, November 28, 1843.

New-York daily tribune., November 06, 1843

(click for larger image)

New-York daily tribune November 06, 1843


Larry, the events you describe are actually from Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea, or Sovereignty Restoration Day, which also became a Hawaiian national holiday celebrated on July 31. This in part led to the formal recognition later that year on Nov. 28, which was celebrated as Lā Kūʻokoʻa or Independence Day. It was at the time of Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea that Kamehameha III uttered the phrase "Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻaina i ka pono" which today is often interpreted as "the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness" but "ea" also means "Sovereignty, rule, independence" and given the political context in which it occurred, it is clear that "the sovereignty of the land is perpetuated in righteousness" is actually the correct translation or interpretation of what ironically has continued to be the motto of the territory/state, even after the sovereignty was usurped through very unrighteous deeds by the U.S. government 50 years later.

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