2009 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Hawaii’s statehood. It was only through a complicated series of events that this independent island kingdom, thousands of miles away from the west coast of North America, joined the United States. One of the pivotal figures in this history is also surprisingly little known, though the story of Princess Ka’iulani is both tragic and inspiring.
“Princess Ka’iulani is an important person in the history of Hawaii, but not necessarily because of the things she accomplished in her life,” says DeSoto Brown, archivist at Hawaii’s Bishop Museum. “She never got to be a ruler, so you can’t really look at her political career…You could almost say that she is known for what she wasn’t able to do. Circumstances intervened to prevent her going farther with her life.” Jennifer Fahrni, coauthor of the new play Ka’iulani: The Island Rose, explains “The circumstances and sadness surrounding her death have gained more attention than any of the details of her life. It’s unfortunate that Ka’iulani’s heroic stand for her people is not better known.”
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/americas/Kaiulani-Hawaiis-Island-Rose.html#ixzz1BE1fYdJ8