JULY 31, 1843


In 1842, Great Britain claimed the Hawaiian Islands through cession by Kamehameha I.  However, Britain’s political interests, as with those of France and the U.S., were served best by none having a superior claim to the islands.  This allowed Kamehameha III to seek recognition by the powers of Hawaiian independence.  However, the British ship HBMS Carysfort, under Lord Paulet, entered Honolulu harbor in February 1843, and seized control of the Hawaiian government.  Kamehameha III surrendered under written protest.  In response, Admiral Richard Thomas of the British Admiralty sailed to the islands in July 1843 and, after meeting with Kamehameha III, restored the Hawaiian government in a ceremony on July 31, 1843.  Kamehameha III proclaimed, ua mau ke ea o ka ‘aina i ka pono (the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness) which became the national motto.  The Hawaiian Islands became the first Polynesian nation recognized as an independent and sovereign State.  

Source:  “Hawai‘i Island: La Ho‘iho‘i Ea (Restoration Day) Celebration,” Hawaiian Kingdom Blog, 6/10/2015. Retrieved 7/8/2019, https://hawaiiankingdom.org/blog/hawaii-island-la-hoihoi-ea-restoration-day-celebration/
Photo:  Hugo Stangenwald (1829–1899), circa 1853.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less.