Modern history of Hawaii generally begins in the late 1800’s. It was during this period that business and political leaders in Hawaii began to move toward entrance into the United States.
In 1887, a group of “concerned businessmen” effectively took control of the country. Then, in 1891, this same group of businessmen, now under the guise of an “Annexation Club”, decared a provisional government.
A few years later, with support from some members of the U.S. Congress, they declared themselves a republic. Hawaii was formally annexed by the United States on August 12, 1898.
Despite Hawaii’s strategic importance to the U.S.,it would be another fifty years before it became a state.
With the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the United States’ entry into World War II, the rest of America came to understand the crucial importance of the islands. Many of the military bases and training camps established during World War II are still operating today.
After the war, with the advent of labor unions on the plantations of Hawaii, agriculture slowly declined. Tourism has risen to be one of its primary economic forces.
Hawaii became the fiftieth state of the U.S. in 1959. And, although the economy of the islands has benefitted from it’s acceptance of statehood, there has been a decline in the standard of living for many Hawaiians.
With high real estate prices and increasing consumer costs, many Hawaiians are forced to work two jobs to survive. Others emigrate to the U.S. mainland in search of work.
One positive note is the rekindling of interest in native Hawaiian ancestry and culture. It is possible, in the future, that there may be federal recognition of the status of native Hawaiians.