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Episode 41: The rise of the Hawaiian nation

The Hawaiian nation continued to evolve at a rapid pace and as it did so, it established itself at the forefront of the world’s progressive nations. While slavery was still legal in the United States, Hawai?i’s constitution of 1852 gave all qualified male citizens of the Kingdom the vote, regardless of race. In 1859 Queen’s Hospital opened to treat all in need, independent of their ability to pay. In 1883, after years of watching world powers claim Pacific nations, Hawai‘i issued a formal protest against European colonialism in the Pacific, sent to twenty-six nations across the world. Kal?kaua, after ascending the throne in 1874, added a key first to U.S. history when he was invited to be the first-ever foreign leader to speak to a joint meeting of Congress. He was the first monarch in history to circumnavigate the globe, which he did in 1881, traveling to the Unites States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia and meeting with dozens of world leaders. And the Hawaiian nation, thanks to the globetrotting king, was literally one of the first to see the light. When Kal?kaua was in New York in 1881 he visited Thomas Edison at his workshop. Later, after the king had ‘Iolani Palace constructed in the center of Honolulu, he had it wired up with Edison’s invention—neck and neck with Buckingham Palace to become the first royal residence in the world to be fully lit by electricity.

researcher, writter, and narrator of Aloha Aina. She is currently an editor at Hawai‘i’s largest magazine, Hana Hou!, where she has written and edited numerous award-winning articles about Hawai‘i. She was the founding editor of Honolulu Weekly. She holds a BA in Pacific history and journalism from the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa and a JD from Stanford Law School.
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