Thursday, November 28, 2013



In the Kingdom of Hawai`i, November 28 was an official holiday called Lā Kū`oko`a, or Independence Day. This was the day in 1843 when England and France formally recognized Hawai`i's independence.

Faced with the problem of foreign encroachment of Hawaiian territory, His Majesty King Kamehameha III deemed it prudent and necessary to dispatch a Hawaiian delegation to the United States and then to Europe, with the power to negotiate treaties and to ultimately secure the recognition of Hawaiian Independence by the major powers of the world.

In accordance with this view, Timoteo Ha`alilio, William Richards and Sir George Simpson were commissioned as joint Ministers Plenipotentiary on April 8, 1842.

Sir George Simpson, shortly thereafter, left for England, via Alaska and Siberia, while Mr. Ha`alilio and Mr. Richards departed for the United States, via Mexico and the US on July 8, 1842.

The Hawaiian delegation, while in the United States of America, secured the assurance of US President Tyler on December 19, 1842 of its recognition of Hawaiian independence, and then proceeded to meet Sir George Simpson in Europe and secure formal recognition by Great Britain and France.

On March 17, 1843, King Louis-Phillipe of France recognized Hawaiian independence at the urging of King Leopold of Belgium, and on April 1, 1843, Lord Aberdeen on behalf of Her Britannic Majesty Queen Victoria, assured the Hawaiian delegation that:

"Her Majesty's Government was willing and had determined to recognize the independence of the Sandwich Islands under their present sovereign."

Formal Agreement of Recognition -
On November 28, 1843, at the Court of London, the British and French Governments entered into a formal agreement of the recognition of Hawaiian independence, with what is called the Anglo-Franco Proclamation.

To wit-

"Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty the King of the French, taking into consideration the existence in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaiian Islands) of a government capable of providing for the regularity of its relations with foreign nations, have thought it right to engage, reciprocally, to consider the Sandwich Islands as an Independent State, and never to take possession, neither directly or under the title of Protectorate, or under any other form, of any part of the territory of which they are composed.

The undersigned, Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs, and the Ambassador Extraordinary of His Majesty the King of the French, at the Court of London, being furnished with the necessary powers, hereby declare, in consequence, that their said Majesties take reciprocally that engagement.

In witness whereof the undersigned have signed the present declaration, and have affixed thereto the seal of their arms.

Done in duplicate at London, the 28th day of November, in the year of our Lord, 1843.
[L.S.] Aberdeen [L.S.] St. Aulaire" 

National Holiday -
November 28 was thereafter established as an official national holiday of the Hawaiian Kingdom to celebrate Hawaii's independence.

International Stature -
As a result of this recognition, the Hawaiian Kingdom entered into treaties with the major nations of the world and established over ninety diplomatic legations and consulates in seaports and cities around the world.

The Fake Revolution -
Fifty years later, in 1893, an illegal intervention by the U.S. military resulted in a "fake revolution" against the legitimate Hawaiian government, and a puppet oligarchy set itself up with its main purpose of annexing Hawai`i to the United States.

After a failed armed attempt by Hawaiians to retake their Kingdom in 1895, the usurpers announced that Lā Kū`oko`a would no longer be celebrated, and the American holiday Thanksgiving Day would be the official national holiday instead.

Removing a holiday like Hawai`i Independence Day was a way to cover up and try to destroy the history and identity of the Hawaiian Kingdom and its people. 

At first Hawaiians protested and celebrated Lā Kū`oko`a anyway, telling the story of the national heroes who had traveled to Europe to secure Hawaii's recognition.

But over time, this history — knowledge of the holiday and how it was replaced — faded and was almost lost, until recently, when Hawaiian language scholars started translating Hawaiian language newspapers and rediscovered the story.

Today’s celebration of Lā Kū`oko`a asserts that Hawai`i is still an independent nation, even under prolonged illegal occupation.

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