Originally posted on Amazing Women In History.
Liliʻuokalani (1838–1917), born Lydia Lili’u Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamakaeha, was the first female monarch to reign in her own right. Up until the 1890s, the Kingdom of Hawai was an independent sovereign state, officially recognized by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, and Germany. During Liliʻuokalani’s reign, the Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii took place in 1893, when she abdicated “to avoid any collision of armed forces, and perhaps the loss of life”.
Queen Liliʻuokalani is remembered for her many musical compositions, including the famous song “Aloha ʻOe” (“Farewell the Thee”). Many of these were written during her imprisonment after she abdicated her throne, and they express a deep love of her land and people.
Lydia Lili’u Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamakaeha was born, one of 15 children, on September 2, 1838 to High Chiefess Analea Keohokālole and High Chief Kaluaiku Kamakaʻehukai Kahana Keola Kapaʻakea. Her mother was one of the fifteen counsellors of the king Kamehameha III.
Following Hawai’ian naming practices, Liliʻuokalani’s given name at birth was Lydia Liliʻu Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamakaʻeha. Traditionally, Hawaiʻian parents created new names for their children, giving careful thought to their meaning. Sometimes these names were revealed in dreams or visions. Incidents before or during a child’s birth were considered significant in their naming, as in Liliʻu’s case. Liliʻu’s great-aunt developed an eye infection at the time of her birth, which is why she was given the names “Liliʻu” meaning “smarting”; “Loloku” meaning tearful; “Walania”, “a burning pain”; and “Kamakaʻeha”, “sore eyes”. Though it may seem strange to us, in Hawaiʻian culture these names were not considered bad, ugly, or unlucky; they commemorated…