Ua makaukau pono ʻo Liliʻu
Ma na poka ʻAhi Helene. …
Noho hou o Liliʻu i ke Kalaunu.
Liliʻu is readily prepared
With her Greek artillery fire. …
Return again Liliʻu to the throne.
(Hawaiʻi Holomua, February 11, 1893; Chapin)
Greek sailors found their way to the Islands on whalers and trading vessels after 1830. Beginning in the late 1870s, some forty men from the small Mediterranean country migrated and settled on the Big Island and O‘ahu.
They set up produce-growing and shipping operations, cafés, bars, rooming houses, and hotels. (Greek Festival Hawaiʻi)
In 1883, Peter Camarinos, originally from Sparta, opened the California Fruit Market on King Street, near Alakea, in Honolulu, and in 1891, established the Pearl City Fruit Company with other Hawaiian-based businessmen, inspiring relatives and others to venture here. (Lucas)
They were pioneers in exporting pineapples and bananas and other exotic fruits to California markets. He installed refrigeration containers on ships that can hold up to 2,000 lbs. of fruit. Camarinos transported their own goods to market and allowed other businesses to use their refrigeration containers for a fee. (Lucas)
George Lycurgus, known as Uncle George, was a cousin of Camarinos who came to Hawaiʻi in 1887 and played an important role in the development of the San Souci, Hilo Hotel and Kilauea Volcano House. (Gonser)
Migration from Greece in the last third of the 19th Century was primarily due to crop failures and a surplus population that caused wide-spread poverty. A Western technological revolution of cheap and fast steamship and rail travel, along with rapid industrialization, made feasible large scale emigration to America and, on a smaller scale, to Hawaiʻi.
The Greeks came into direct conflict with that small but powerful group of American businessmen who effectively weakened Kalakaua’s government by means of the ‘Bayonet Constitution’ of 1887.
Later, there was a revolution against Queen Liliʻuokalani’s constitutional monarchy and in 1895 a subsequent counter-revolution that attempted to restore her to the throne.
From January 6 to January 9, 1895, patriots of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and the forces that had overthrown the constitutional Hawaiian monarchy were engaged in a war that consisted of three battles on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi.
This has frequently been referred to as the “Counter-revolution”. It has also been called the Second Wilcox Rebellion of 1895, the Revolution of 1895, the Hawaiian Counter-revolution of 1895, the 1895 Uprising in Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian Civil War, the 1895 Uprising Against the Provisional Government or the Uprising of 1895.
In their attempt to return Queen Liliʻuokalani to the throne, it was the last major military operation by royalists who opposed the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. The goal of the rebellion failed.
It turns out several of the Greek businessmen were royalists and were implicated in getting guns past customs officials, notably, Lycurgus at the San Souci in Waikiki.
Lycurgus was a royalist and was implicated with other counter-revolutionists in supplying arms (1895.) He was arrested, thirteen counts of treason were filed against him and he was held at ‘The Reef’ (Oʻahu Prison) for 52-days. (Chapin)
The beginning chant in this post appeared in Hawaii Holomua shortly after Queen Lili’uokalani’s removal in early 1893; it expressed a strong desire that she regain her throne.
“Greek artillery fire” was a classical and heroic allusion by the poet, but it was also, as events turned out, appropriate in that Greek men in Hawaiʻi during the Revolution and Counterrevolution were loyal to her.
During those years, a dozen or so natives of Greece who were Hawaiʻi residents were involved in the prolonged and ultimately futile struggle to preserve the monarchy. Seven men were active participants, and the rest were royalist sympathizers. (Chapin)
Take part in the Hawaiʻi Greek experience – food, entertainment and marketplace. The 34th annual Greek Festival happens noon to 9 pm, August 29 & 30, 2015 at the McCoy Pavilion, Ala Moana Park; General Admission $3; Children 11 and under and active military free.