Polynesia is a region of the Pacific Ocean and forms, together with Melanesia and Micronesia, one of the three cultural areas of Oceania.
Polynesia extends from the Hawaiian Islands in the north to New Zealand in the south, and from Tuvalu in the west to Rapanui (Easter Island) in the east. The region includes Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, and the Cook and Marquesas Islands.
The name Polynesia derives from Greek words meaning many islands and refers to the numerous islands of the region. (The-Crankshaft Publishing)
In Polynesia, as in North America – New France (Canada to Louisiana (1534,)) New Spain (Southwest and Central North America to Mexico and Central America (1521)) and New England (Northeast US (1585, 1607, 1620)) – there was foreign interest.
Since the first contact with Westerners, starting with the Spanish and Portuguese explorers, the Polynesian islands have been colonized by various European and Asian countries.
In the central Pacific, practically every vessel that visited the North Pacific in the closing years of the 18th century stopped at Hawai‘i for provisions and recreation; then, the opening years of the 19th century saw the sandalwood business became a recognized branch of trade.
Sandalwood, geography and fresh provisions made the Islands a vital link in a closely articulated trade route between Boston, the Northwest Coast and Canton, China.
At the same time, the Hawaiian demand for American goods was rapidly increasing, owing to the improved standards of living. The central location of the Hawaiian Islands brought many traders, and then whalers, to the Islands.
“And so for forty years Hawaiians wanted everything on every ship that came. And they could get it; it was pretty easy to get. Two pigs and … a place to live, you could trade for almost anything.” (Puakea Nogelmeier)
Centuries of experience taught Great Britain that having fortified stations all over the world is the only way to protect her commerce in peace or in war.
Other foreign nations were not slow to grasp this idea. France, Germany, Holland, Spain and Russia are second only to Great Britain in the possession of such stations. (Harman)
Hawai‘i is the strategic point of control for the whole northern Pacific.
Any foreign power occupying Hawai‘i would have an impregnable base from which to strike at any part of the Pacific coast and destroy the Pacific commerce. Not only this, but Hawai‘i is the only base in the Pacific from which this could be successfully done.
The British, Russians, French, Americans and others were all interested in Hawai‘i. At various times, different countries took or demonstrated ‘control’ of Hawai‘i.
Here are just a few examples: Russia – Fort in Honolulu – 1815; US – The Battle of Honolulu – 1826; French – Catholic Protests Resulting in the Edict of Toleration – 1839; Belgian Company of Colonization – 1843; Britain – Paulet Affair – 1843; French Invasion of Honolulu – 1849; US – Protectorate Proclamation – 1851; US – Attempt at Annexation – 1854; US – Annexation – 1898.
Hawaiian Kingdom Request for American and British Troops to Land in the Islands
At the time of the overthrow, the Committee of Public Safety felt “the public safety is menaced and lives and property are in peril, and we appeal to you and the United States forces at your command for assistance.”
“(A) small force of marines and sailors was landed from the United States ship Boston, as a precautionary step for the protection of American life and property, and as a safeguard against night incendiarism stimulated by the hope of plunder, greatly feared by many of the best citizens.” (Stevens, The North American Review, December 1893)
That wasn’t the only time American Troops landed to keep the peace and/or restore order. It happened a couple of times; and, … it was requested by the Monarchy.
Election Riot of 1874: On February 12, 1874, nine days after the death of King Lunalilo, an election was held between the repeat candidate David Kalākaua and Queen Emma, widow of King Kamehameha IV.
The election was held by the members of the legislature, not the public. The election was held in a special session of the Legislature at the old Courthouse on Queen Street (it was almost the last official action to take place in the courthouse.) When the vote was tallied, Kalākaua won by a count of 39 – 6.
Emma’s supporters (referred to as the “Queenites,” “Emmaites” or the “Queen Emma party”) were unhappy with the decision – an angry mob of about 100 of the Queen’s followers gathered.
“The only alternative, in this emergency, was to seek aid from the war vessels in port. About half-past 4 pm, a written request was sent by Charles R Bishop (the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Hawaiian Kingdom,) on behalf of the Government, to the American Minister Resident, for a detachment to be landed from the US ships Tuscarora and Portsmouth, lying in the harbor. And a similar request was transmitted to the British Consul General.” (Hawaiian Gazette – March 4, 1874)
A force of 150 American marines and sailors under Lieutenant Commander Theodore F. Jewell were put ashore along with another seventy to eighty Britons under a Captain Bay from the sloop HMS Tenedos.
The Wilcox Rebellion – 1889: Americans landed another time. “On the 30th of July, 1889, an insurrection was set on foot by Robert W. Wilcox and Robert Boyd (to overthrow the present Government of Hawaii and depose the King) on the afternoon of the same day, together with their adherents, about 100 in number, were defeated. The ringleader, with about 60 of his followers, was imprisoned.”
“About 6 o’clock am a message from the King informed me that an armed party, led by Mr. Wilcox, was in possession of the palace grounds, and soon thereafter it was learned that insurgents were in charge of the building containing the Government offices.”
“As soon as possible I had communication with Commander Woodward of the USS Adams, and at once all necessary preparations were made to land a force, if found necessary for protection of the people and property interests.” (Merrill, American Legation; Blount Report)
“About 70 sailors and marines from the USS Adams, then in the harbor, were landed by permission with a machine gun to protect life and property at the legation and in the city, and their appearance on the streets had a favorable effect on the populace.”
“The members of the cabinet and many prominent residents expressed much commendation of the prompt landing of the men, and remarked upon the very salutary effect their presence seemed to have among the people on the streets.” Merrill, American Legation, Blount Report)
“Remaining over night, quartered at the armory, they returned on board the next morning when tranquility was restored.” (Blount Report)
Click he following link for more information on Foreign Interests in Hawai’i.