August 12, 1898: Lowering of the Hawaiian Flag
On August 12, 1898, the Republic of Hawai‘i ceded sovereignty of the islands to the United States under the terms of the Joint Resolution of Annexation. As part of this cession, the republic also conveyed title to Hawai‘i’s public lands to the United States. The public lands, which included Government and Crown Lands, were “estimated to amount to almost 1.8 million acres, with a value of at least $5.5 million.” See Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie, Historical Background, in Native Hawaiian Law: A Treatise at n. 213 (Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie et al. eds., 2015). On this day, the Hawaiian flag was lowered and the United States flag was raised in its place.
This mournful event was described in Hawaiian newspapers of the time, for example: Ke Aloha Aina, 13 Augate 1898 (“E Kaumaha Kakou me ka Ehaeha,” “Kaumaha na Lani Kaumaha Pu me ka Lahui”). In contrast, The Pacific Commercial Advertiser stoically announced on August 13, 1898: “Flags Changed: Old Glory Is Now the Ensign of the Hawaiian Islands.”