An Island Kingdom Passes: Hawaii Becomes American

An Island Kingdom Passes: Hawaii Becomes American

An Island Kingdom Passes: Hawaii Becomes American

An Island Kingdom Passes: Hawaii Becomes American

Excerpt

ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON, February 3, 1874, a blood-red haze appeared over the mountaintops of all the Hawaiian Islands. The natives, gazing upon the phenomenon with understanding of its tragic significance, whispered: "He makole ia!"

It was the traditional "tears of blood" harbinger of Death's approach to claim a member of the royal House of Keawe to which belonged their reigning monarch, King Lunalilo, then lying seriously ill at his Waikiki Beach summer home. Quietly, the people converged upon the beach area there to wait in silence broken only by rustle of cocopalm fronds in the trade winds and murmor of surf upon the sand. Through the long afternoon and into the night they waited, silently.

At nine o'clock the court chamberlain appeared. His quiet announcement, 'Ua make ka mo'i'' (Our king is dead) did not break the tense silence. There was no sound of mourning as the watchers dispersed to spread the news of His Majesty's death throughout the capital city of Honolulu and by swift canoe messengers to the other islands; only a softly spoken "Ua make ka mo'i."

Foreigners in Honolulu were puzzled by this strange behavior of a people normally vocal, and they were worried . . .

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