I ran across this fascinating documentary (posted on YouTube in its entirety) about Hawaii's last monarch, Lili'uokalani. Many know that the Queen was an accomplished musician, writing the Hawaiian ukulele standard, "Aloha 'Oe," but I had heard very little about how she came to power and would ultimately lose it to America. From PBS' The American Experience show, Hawaii's Last Queen provides all the details:
On January 16, 1893, four boatloads of United States Marines armed with Gatling guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition came ashore in Honolulu, capital of the independent Kingdom of Hawaii. As the Royal Hawaiian band played a concert at the Hawaiian Hotel, 162 troops marched through the streets of Honolulu, heading for the palace. The Queen of Hawaii, Lili'uokalani, looked down from her balcony as the troops took up their positions. The following day, she surrendered at gunpoint, yielding her throne to the government of the United States. A provisional government led by wealthy white sugar growers assumed control of Hawaii and petitioned the US for annexation.