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January 17, Downfall of the Monarchy Day 

Cover Image: Masthead of Ka Leo o Ka Lahui, January 16, 1894.

Aloha Nūhou Monday!

In 1894, the year following the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the self-proclaimed Provisional Government voted and enacted that the day of January 17th be a national holiday. In newspaper notices appearing in early 1894, James A. King, the Minister of the Interior for the Provisional Government proclaimed the day a national holiday. Listed in Thrum’s Hawaiian Annual, the name given the day was “Downfall of the Monarchy” Day.

During its time as a national holiday, many articles were published in the time about “Downfall of the Monarchy Day” in the newspapers, both Hawaiian and English. These commentaries articulated the absurdity and discordance of honoring a day of turmoil as a legal Hawaiʻi holiday. Many encouraged readers not to heed these antics of the Provisional Government. Interesting enough, this national holiday existed alongside November 28th, Lā Kūʻokoʻa or Hawaiian Independence Day. Both national holidays would remain for nearly the next decade until 1903 when both were removed through legislative act as official holidays.

Image: “Ko Lakou La Kulaia.” Ka Leo o Ka Lahui, January 16, 1894, p. 2.

Their Holiday.

This is not a cheerful day for the offspring of Hawaiʻi’s own and its children, however, this is a day to not forget the Hawaiian nation moving forward, perpetually, in the stories of the world today.

This 17th day of January 1894, is a year since the plundering of the Kingdom by the group that usurped the government, and now that’s what we’re awaiting for America to do for us.

They’ll rejoice, and they’ll drink on that day, and they’ll utter misguided prayers into final cups of death and then it will be over.

What we are urging of all Hawaiians, all patriots of the Hawaiian nation, is not to engage in and unite with them in their atrocities. Let them be as they carry out their rejoicing with their greedy and plunderous desires.

Image: “Ma Ke Kauoha.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, January 14, 1894, p. 2.

By Authority.

Wednesday, January 17, 1894, will be observed as a National Holiday, and all government offices throughout the islands will be closed on that day.

J. A. King.

Minister of the Interior.

Interior Office, Jan. 11, 1894.

Image: Provisional Government officers with preparations for defense of the Executive Building (ʻIolani Palace); Honolulu, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. December 1893, Bishop Museum Archives. SP 38044

Image sharing on social media is welcome. For all other uses please contact, Bishop Museum Archives.

Image: Executive Building (ʻIolani Palace) with sandbag fortifications and guns mounted for protection when a move to restore Queen Liliʻuokalani was feared, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. Photo by Severin and Bolster, 1893–1894, Bishop Museum Archives. SP 96902

Image sharing on social media is welcome. For all other uses please contact, Bishop Museum Archives.

Image: “Kanawai 66.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, July 17, 1896, p. 8.

ACT 66.


Be it enacted by the Legislature of the Republic of Hawaii:

Section 1. The following days of each year are hereby set apart and established as national holidays, to wit:

The first and seventeenth days of January, the eleventh day of June, the fourth day of July, the third Saturday of September, the twenty-eighth day of November and the twenty-fifth day of December.

Section 2. This Act shall take effect upon publication. Approved this 13th day of June, A.D. 1896.


President of the Republic of Hawaii.

Image: “Framers of the Constitution,” At table: J. A. King, S. M. Damon, W. O. Smith; Front row: J. W. Kalua, John Emmeluth, W. H. Rice, J. K. Iosepa, John M. Vivas, A. Fernandez, Dr. C. T. Rogers; Second row: W. Horner, D. B. Smith, A. S. Wilcox, Henry Waterhouse, F. M. Hatch, W. C. Wilder, W. F. Allen, J. F. Morgan, H P. Baldwin; Third row: F. S. Lyman, John Kauhane, L. C. Ables, C. Bolte, W. F. Pogue, Alex Young, S. B. Dole, John Ena, J. A. McCandless, J. P. Mendonca, E. D. Tenney, A. G. M. Robertson, D. H. Kahaulelio, G. N. Wilcox; Fourth row: W. H. Kahumoku, C. L. Carter, J. L. Carter, A. A. Wilder, John Nott, Luther Wilcox, Cecil Brown; [inset into the three window panes: Ed. Suhr, D. H. Hitchcock, A. K. Kunuiakea]; Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. Photo by Mrs. R. H. Carter, July 3, 1894, Bishop Museum Archives. SP 50640.

Image sharing on social media is welcome. For all other uses please contact, Bishop Museum Archives.

Image: “The schools and Territorial offices…” Independent, January 17, 1896, p. 3.

Image: “Hawaii is rather largely blessed…” Hilo Daily Tribune, January 26, 1901, p. 4.

This post is part of He Aupuni Palapala: Preserving and Digitizing the Hawaiian Language Newspapers, a partnership between Bishop Museum and Awaiaulu with assistance from Kamehameha Schools. Mahalo nui loa to Hawaii Tourism Authority for their support. Learn more about this project here.

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