So when King David died in 1892, Lili’uokalani became Queen. In this role, she tried to restore the weakened monarchy, but Washington wanted Hawai’i for its geopolitical position as well as its sugar plantations, and the post Spanish American War climate added a degree of expansionist fervor. In 1893, under landowner Sanford Ballard Dole (THAT Dole), a group of American sugar planters staged a coup—in cahoots with the U.S. Marines, who swooped in, first establishing a bogus “Republic of Hawai’i.”
Lili’uokalani preferred to relinquish Hawaii to the United States rather than the Dole-led government, but for all intents and purposes, the two parties were one and the same. The U.S. annexed Hawaii as a protectorate in February 1893. A Polynesian cultural tradition that had been established with eighth-century voyagers had come to an end. Two years later, Lili’uokalani was put under house arrest. She officially abdicated her throne in 1898—in exchange for the release of several of her supporters who had been sentenced to hanging. The Republic of Hawaii fully pardoned her in 1896, and she stayed in Massachusetts for a while, writing her memoir: Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen.
Hawaii was formally annexed by the U.S. on August 12, 1898. Lili’uokalani died on November 11, 1917 at age seventy-nine. Hawaii became the 50th state on August 21, 1959.