January 13th, 1893 – U.S. Marines Vs. The Queen of Hawaii


On January 13th, 1893, U.S. Marines land in Honolulu, Hawaii from the USS Boston to prevent the queen from abrogating the Bayonet Constitution.

U.S. Marines in Honolulu

The 1887 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii was a legal document by anti-monarchists to strip the Hawaiian monarchy of much of its authority, initiating a transfer of power to American, European and native Hawaiian elites. It became known as the Bayonet Constitution for the use of intimidation by the armed militia which forced King Kalākaua to sign it or be deposed. 

The document denied the King most of his personal authority, empowering the legislature and cabinet of the government.These anti-monarchists, known as the Hawaiian League, were mainly white males of American origin, and they quickly appointed themselves as government officials, providing themselves with almost complete control of the government.

Immediately after the adoption of the Bayonet Constitution, the native population of the Kingdom of Hawaii sought to restore King Kalakaua’s power and authority. A committee of Hawaiians met with Kalakaua to discuss dismantling the constitution because the king signed it under duress. According to Thurston, Kalakaua even defended the constitution to protesting natives.

Queen Liliuokalani 680

Queen Liliuokalani (September 2nd, 1838 – November 11th, 1917)

Queen Liliuokalani affirmed that he was threatened with violence should he attempt to undo the new constitution. She also listed several petitions from natives that pleaded for a new constitution. Out of 9,500 registered voters, 6,500 signed the petitions. Since the majority of the population supported a new constitution, Queen Liliuokalani proposed one in January 1893. In response, the Hawaiian League, with the aid of the U.S. Marines, overthrew her monarchy and took control of the country.

“Today in History” on The Pandora Society dot com is primarily focused on Victorian and Edwardian history and does not always have a direct connection to Steampunk, Dieselpunk, or whatever punk; in fact it rarely does, but it is our hope that in sharing these historical events they might serve as some inspiration to the writers in our community to create potential alternative history stories which we look forward to reading 🙂


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