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Episode 45: The creation of the Republic and the K? ‘? Petitions with Donovan Preza

The leaders of the overthrow, having failed to convince the United States to immediately annex Hawai‘i, declared it a republic in 1894. They took control of all Government Lands and Crown Lands, a total of approximately two million acres, about half of the landmass of the Islands. The Crown Lands constituted 900,000 acres of some of Hawai‘i’s finest lands; they were the property of the monarchy, and in 1865 the Legislature had barred them from sale, decreeing they could only be leased—which they were, largely by sugar planters. The government of the Republic reversed the Legislature and in 1895 made all of the Crown Lands available for sale. Here is geographer Donovan Preza.

“It’s very difficult to separate issues of land and issues of sovereignty because of what happened in 1893 and 1895. The sugar planters intermixed the two. They overthrew the government to get control of a land base and then they used that land base for their particular politics.”

As the government of the Republic moved to consolidate its control, leaders of Hui Kalai‘?ina and Hui Aloha ‘?ina traveled through the Islands collecting signatures on petitions that called for the reinstatement of the monarchy and that opposed annexation to the U.S. They collected 38,000 signatures on what were called the K? ‘? Petitions, then took them to Washington, determined that American politicians should know the will of the Hawaiian people.

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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