Hawai`i was an independent kingdom until 1893, when non-Native businessmen, supported by U.S. diplomats and Marines, overthrew the monarchy and declared themselves the new government.
E Mau Ke Ea: The Sovereign Hawaiian Nation takes visitors through the history of the Hawaiian Nation, from the consolidation of the islands by King Kamehameha I in 1810 and the establishment of a society based on law, literacy, and diplomacy; through the undermining of Hawai`i's independence and its annexation by the United States; to the rise of the Hawaiian rights movement in the late 1960s and the resurgence of Hawaiian nationalism today.
Developed by the museum in close collaboration with Hawaiian scholars, political leaders, and community members, the exhibition uses photographs, documents, music, artifacts, and video, to present Hawai`i’s contested past and the possibilities of its future.
Whether you go or no, Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen Liliuokalani (annotated) is a fascinating account of a pivotal moment of Hawaii's history, in a first-hand account written by Queen Liliuokalani, the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The book was published in 1898, five years after the overthrow of the Kingdom: Liliuokalani gives her account of her upbringing, her ascension to the throne, and her overthrow.
Or, read the classic Hawaii, by James A. Michener, for a novelized saga that takes in the full sweep of the history of the 50th state.