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From Kingdom to StateBritish Capt. James Cook gets credit in the history books for being the first European to discover Hawai‘i in 1778, but anthropologists suggest Polynesians have been on the islands and inhabiting this destination since 300 AD. It wasn't until 1810 that the Kingdom of Hawai‘i came to exist under the rule of Kamehameha the Great, the first in a popular dynasty that governed the Hawaiian islands. When bachelor Kamehameha V died in 1872, naming no heir, a popular vote placed William Lunalilo on the throne. His death just a year later passed governance to David Kalākaua.

The kingdom's swelling debt under Kalākaua, a global traveler who built Honolulu's Iolani Palace, stirred unrest among his subjects, some of whom pushed to replace him and others who favored ending the monarchy and annexing the islands to the United States. A group of dissenters forced Kalākaua to abdicate much of the monarch's authority in the 1887 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, known commonly as the Bayonet Constitution because Kalākaua signed it with a bayonet at his throat. When Kalākaua died in 1891, his sister, Lydia Lili‘uokalani became the last of the Hawaiian monarchs. Lili‘uokalani's attempt to restore political and economic power to the throne spurred troops from the USS Boston to come ashore in Honolulu on Jan. 17, 1893, and depose her in a bloodless coup.

U.S. President Grover Cleveland, who came into office shortly afterward, offered to return the throne if she agreed to grant amnesty to those who overthrew her. However, her initial refusal ultimately resulted in proclamation of the Republic of Hawai‘i. Although most Hawaiians opposed annexation and favored restoration of the monarchy, the new republic quieted their voice by imposing property and income qualifications that prevented them from voting. Rendered powerless, the people could do nothing to stop the 1898 signing of the annexation treaty.

Most Hawaiians came to accept the islands' position as a U.S. territory, and that status remained convenient for Hawai‘i, particularly the plantation owners who weren't bound by U.S. immigration laws, until World War II. The Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor not only boosted Hawaiians' desire for political muscle in Washington but also rallied support among mainlanders who recognized Hawai‘i's growing importance to the country. The Hawai‘i State Bill passed in March 1959, Hawaiians voted in June to accept it, and on Aug. 21, Hawai‘i was proclaimed the 50th state. An overwhelming majority of Hawaiians today favor continued statehood.

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Honolulu, HI

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

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Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach

2330 Kuhio Ave. Honolulu, HI 96815

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Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa

2424 Kalakaua Ave. Honolulu, HI 96815

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Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

2005 Kalia Rd. Honolulu, HI 96815

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Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach

400 Royal Hawaiian Ave. Honolulu, HI 96815

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Travel Information

City Population

390,738

Elevation

21 ft.

Sales Tax

Hawai‘i has an excise tax of 4 percent (4.712 percent in Honolulu) on most goods and services. Honolulu has a lodging tax of 10.25 percent; rental cars are subject to state tax and a road tax of approximately $5 per day.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(808) 529-3111

Temperature

(808) 973-4380

Hospitals

Kaiser Permanente-Moanalua Medical Center & Clinic, (808) 432-0000; The Queen's Medical Center, (808) 691-1000; Straub Medical Center, (808) 522-4000.

Visitor Information

2270 Kalākaua Ave. Suite 801 Honolulu, HI 96815. Phone:(808)923-1811 or (800)464-2924

Air Travel

Busy

Rental Cars

Hertz, (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members and has several area locations: the airport, (808) 837-7100; Kahala Hotel & Resort, (808) 735-8983; Hyatt Regency Waikīkī Beach Resort & Spa, (808) 971-3535; Imperial Hotel, (808) 922-3331; and Pagoda Hotel, (808) 942-5626.

Taxis

The largest companies serving the island are TheCAB, (808) 422-2222; and Charley's Taxi & Tours, (808) 233-3333.

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