UC Riverside Professor Available as Expert on Hawaiian Monarchy Coming to an End

January marks 125th anniversary of the death of the last king of Hawaii, and the takeover of the first and only reigning queen

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) – 2016 marks 125 years since the death of King David Kalakaua, and the assumption of the throne by his sister, Liliuokalani, the first and only Queen of Hawaii. On Jan. 20, 1891, King Kalakaua died in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, and a few days later, on Jan. 29, his sister became reigning queen. Queen Liliuokalani was the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which the United States annexed in 1898. Hawaii became a U.S. state in 1959.

David Swanson

David Swanson

David Swanson, a sociology professor who has served as an advisor to the U.S. Census Bureau, is available for interviews regarding the 125th anniversary of King Kalakaua’s death, demographic changes in the population of native Hawaiians, and the annexation and admission of Hawaii as a state.

Media: You may quote from the passage below, written by David Swanson. If you would like to speak to him, you can email him at david.swanson@ucr.edu or call him at 951-827-4373. If you cannot reach him, please contact Mojgan Sherkat, senior public information officer at UCR: Mojgan.Sherkat@ucr.edu or 951-827-5893.

How many Hawaiian nationals were there when the kingdom was unilaterally annexed by the U.S. in 1898, and how many of them were still alive when Hawaii became a state in 1959?

By David A. Swanson

Given that only 61 years elapsed between the unilateral annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii by the U.S. in 1898 and its admission to statehood in 1959, it is highly likely that there were people born as “Hawaiian nationals” who were alive when it became a state. Moreover, it is possible that even some of the 21,169 nationals who signed the 1897 petition against annexation were still alive in 1959. As a means of recognizing the 125th anniversary of the death of David Kalakaua on Jan. 20, 1891, I attempt to answer these two questions. In so doing, I use data from the U.S. Census Bureau for 1900 and 1960.

In the U.S., the census has been taken every 10 years since the first one in 1790. As a consequence of this cycle, there are U.S. Census data for Hawaii for 1900 and 1960, years that come very close to the end of the Kingdom of Hawaii (1898) and its admission as a U.S. state (1959). From the data one can assemble a reasonable portrait of the number of Hawaiian nationals present when it was annexed and still living when it became a U.S. state. Along with knowledge of the number of Hawaiian nationals (21,169) who signed the petition against annexation, one also can assemble a reasonable portrait of the number of signatories who were alive at statehood in 1959.

How many Hawaiian nationals were in the kingdom when it was annexed in 1898?

The 1900 U.S. census shows a total population of 154,001 for Hawaii in 1900. Of this number, 60,221 were U.S. citizens, of whom 58,931 were born in Hawaii. Because of the annexation, the 1900 census counts those born in Hawaii as U.S. citizens even though they were born as Hawaiian nationals. This suggests that that there were about 59,000 Hawaiian nationals living in Hawaii when it was annexed.

How many Hawaiian nationals were still alive when Hawaii became a state in 1959?

According to the 1960 U.S. census, there were 6,396 people in Hawaii aged 65 years and over who were born in Hawaii. That is, there were 6,396 people in Hawaii as of 1960 who were born in Hawaii before 1896. Given this, it appears that there were around 6,400 Hawaiian nationals still alive when Hawaii became a state in 1959.

How many Hawaiian nationals who signed the petition against annexation were still alive when Hawaii became a state in 1959?

As you can see in the example page of the anti-annexation petition (see below), people as young as 2 years are found among the 48 signatures. Clearly, the names of those this young were entered by elders, but, nonetheless, they are among the names in the petition. Given this, I estimate that 2,300 of 6,400 surviving nationals “signed” the petition.

As the world turns.

So, it appears that about 6,400 (11 percent) of the 59,000 Hawaiian nationals living in the kingdom when it was annexed in 1898 were still alive in 1959 when Hawaii became a state, and the names of about 2,300 of them can be found on the anti-annexation petition.

Underlying these statistics are personal connections to people living today. As an example, the copy of one of the pages found in the anti-annexation petition (see below) provided to me by Sara Kehaulani Goo includes the name of her ancestor D. U. Kikaha, who was the grandfather to her great-grandmother (line 18).

The Petition against Annexation.

The Petition against Annexation.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-5893
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Additional Contacts

David Swanson
Tel: 951-827-4373
E-mail: david.swanson@ucr.edu

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