Queen Lili‘uokalani, born as Lydia Lili‘u Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamaka‘eha, was the last reigning monarch of the kingdom of Hawai‘i. She ascended the throne in January of 1891, upon the death of her brother, King David Kalakaua, and ruled until she was overthrown in 1893.
Collectively, the personal diaries of Lili‘uokalani provide the modern reader with an invaluable record of the Queen?s private life, thoughts, and deeds—as heir apparent under King Kalakaua; as queen of the Hawaiian Islands; at the time of her arrest and imprisonment following the counterrevolution of 1895; at the time of her abdication; during her efforts in Washington, DC, to delay the annexation of her beloved islands to the United States; and in her later years as a model of hope and perseverance to the people of Hawai‘i.
The gaps in Lili‘u’s commentary on certain crucial political events are due to the turbulence of 1890s Hawaiian politics. The Lili‘uokalani diaries for 1887, 1888, 1889-short version, 1893, and 1894 are a part of the group of documents known as the “seized papers” that are now held by the Hawai‘i State Archives. These are among the records seized by order of Republic of Hawaii officials in 1895, after they had taken the Queen into custody with the intent of obtaining evidence that she had prior knowledge of the counterrevolution. The government eventually turned these documents over to the territorial archives in 1921, four years after the death of the Queen. Four of the diaries transcribed here were not seized and remained in the Queen’s possession; today these are in the Bishop Museum. The important 1889-long version diary is now in the private collection of a member of the Dominis family and its contents appear here in publication for the first time.
David Forbes?s introduction describes the history of the diaries and provides short biographies of people mentioned frequently throughout the diaries. His annotations enable the reader to understand the content and context of the diaries and include quotations and information drawn from the letters and papers of Lili‘uokalani and the royal family.