Distinguished Women In Hawaiian History

Keeping in the spirit of the upcoming Mothers Day holiday, it is important to make an extra effort to show your appreciation for the women who have made a difference in your life. And it does not have to be your mother, your grandmother, or even a woman in your family. Mothers Day is a good time to take a step back to recognize the accomplishments of great women in general; past and present.

The Women In Hawaiian History Have Diverse Accomplishments

The list of influential women in history is large, so let’s take a moment to acknowledge some of the standout women in Hawaiian History. Through art, education, science and politics, these women have contributed to the story of our wonderful 50th state.

  • Queen Liliuokalani is one of the most recognizable women in Hawaiian History. Liliuokalani actually lived in the only Royal Palace in United States; ‘lolani Palace.  She was the only queen and the last monarch to rule the Kingdom of Hawaii. Her reign was focused on creating a new constitution that would bring back the rights of common Native Hawaiians. However, many powerful American businessmen did not want things to change so they overthrew and stripped her power in 1893.
  • In the mid 1800’s Queen Emma of Hawaii founded multiple schools for children. At the side of King Kamehameha IV, she expanded the palace library and established Queen’s Hospital to help the Native Hawaiians who were suffering from foreign diseases like influenza. Today you can see the Queens Medical Center in historic Honolulu.

  • In 1914, Alice Ball became the first African American to graduate with a masters in chemistry and teach at the University of Hawaii. She developed a successful treatment for Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy). The procedure was at the time referred to as the “Ball Method” Unfortunately, Alice passed away at 24 years old due to extreme exhaustion. Alice Ball is one of many important African American men and women in Hawaiian history.

  • Doris Duke, one of the philanthropic women in Hawaiian history, made Oahu her home. She inherited millions at a young age and used it for a lifetime of helping others. She and her good friend Duke Kahanamoku made holoholo (going for a leisurely drive or excursion) a Hawaiian pastime. Today her home, known as Shangri La, is open to the public as a museum for the Islamic art that she collected. Doris Duke’s spirit lives on through the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation which funds performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and the prevention of child abuse.

Visit The Places These Women Lived

A lot of the popular guided tours in Hawaii will start or end with a tour of Honolulu. See where these women in Hawaiian history made their homes and worked to make Hawaii so great!

Written By: