Lydia Kamakaeha, who was also called Lydia Pali Liliuokalani or Liliu Kamakaeha, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on September 2, 1838. The daughter of one of the advisers of King Kamehameha III of Hawaii, she was given a modern education, grew up within the missionary tradition, and took a tour of the Western world to augment her education. A bright, talented and deeply religious woman; she was also a skilled musician, and counted the famous song "Aloha Oe" among her compositions. She became Queen of Hawaii in 1891, following her older brother, David Kalakaua. Under Kalakaua, the Hawaiian monarchy had lost a great deal of power. When Lilioukalani became Queen, she opposed the Reciprocity Treaty of 1887, which her brother had signed and which gave the United States special commercial rights, as well as access to the port of Pearl Harbor. Her strong stand alienated her from the powerful haole (foreign businessmen, largely Americans), who soon began a campaign to reduce her authority.
In 1893, haole Missionary Party, under the leadership of Sanford Dole, asked Lilioukalani for her abdication, declared her deposed and independently established a provisional government until Hawaii could be annexed to the United States. In order to spare the shedding of her peoples blood, Lilioukalani surrendered, but appealed to the President of the US, Grover Cleveland. When Cleveland ordered the restoration of the queen, Dole ignored him, claiming Clevelands lack of authority to interfere. Lilioukalani maintained her opposition to annexation, in what was called the Oni paa ("Stand Firm") Movement. In 1895, royalist Robert Wilcox led an insurrection in the name of the queen. Dole and his supporters put down the rebellion, and placed Lilioukalani under house arrest on the charge of treason. She agreed to sign a formal abdication on January 24, 1895, in order to win pardons for her supporters who had been placed in prison after the rebellion. Lilioukalani withdrew from public life, and wrote her memoirs, Hawaiis Story by Hawaiis Queen, in 1898. She died in Honolulu on November 11, 1917.