Liliuokalani was born to the Hawaiian high chief and, in accordance with Hawaiian tradition, adopted at birth by another family. She attended school at the Chiefs’ Children’s School, where she became fluent in English, and shortly after her 24th birthday she married John Owen Dominis, future governor of Oahu and Maui. In 1875, Liliu’s brother, David Kalakaua, was elected king of Hawaii. Her other brother was chosen as heir apparent, but when he passed away only a year after Kalakaua’s appointment, Liliu became heir apparent instead. Several years later, she was sent to attend the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, but when she learned that he brother had, in her absence, been forced to sign the Bayonet Constitution, she cancelled the tour and returned home at once.

Liliuokalani inherited the throne after her brother’s death in 1891, and her first act was to draw up a new petition that restored power to the monarchy and voting rights to the native peoples. Unfortunately, this plan never came to fruition, and only two years after her rise to the throne she was deposed by a group of Europeans and Americans—collectively called the Committee of Safety—who wished to annex the island to the U.S. A provisional government was established, and one month later, Hawaii was declared a protectorate of the United States.

Following the establishment of the Republic of Hawaii and the instatement of Sanford Dole as president, Liliuokalani was arrested over a failed counter-revolution by one of her close associates, Robert Wilcox. During her imprisonment, she voluntarily abdicated the throne in return for the release of her jailed supporters, including Wilcox, and after her release she was placed under house arrest for a year. In 1896, the Republic of Hawaii gave her full pardon and restored her civil rights. She then travelled to America on several occasions to demand compensation for the annexation of Hawaii, particularly after the U.S. took control of monarchial lands privately owned by the princess. She was unsuccessful, however, and she finally retired to Honolulu, where she passed away in 1917 from complications from a stroke. Upon her death, all of her possessions and property were sold and the money given to Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Trust Fund, to aid poor and orphaned children. The trust fund still exists to this day.

Key events during the life of Liliuokalani:

Married John Owen Dominis, governor of Oahu and Maui.
Chosen as heir apparent to the throne of Hawaii.
Sent to attend the Golden Jubilee of England’s Queen Victoria.
Inherited the throne from her brother.
Deposed by citizens wishing to annex Hawaii to America.
  Hawaii was proclaimed a protectorate of the United States.
Arrested following the failed Counter-Revolution in Hawaii.
  Abdicated her throne.
Was given a full pardon and restored her civil rights.
Hawaii became a U.S. territory.
Sought compensation from the U.S. for the loss of monarchial lands.
Died from complications from a stroke.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
The Annexation of Hawaii  in  Story of the Great Republic  by  H. A. Guerber
How Hawaii Lost its Queen  in  Historical Tales, Vol I: American  by  Charles Morris

Short Biography
Kalakaua Last King of the Hawaiian Islands.
Ulysses Grant Commander and Chief of the Union forces in the Civil War, and President of the United States.