American expansionists became interested in acquiring Hawaii in the late 1800s
Great Britain was the first to make contact with Hawaii but they did not claim it. Soon after they did the Hawaii's chief Kamehameha united the eight islands therefore creating a monarchy. In the 1820s U.S. ships started arriving and came to convert Hawaiians to Christianity. Soon missionaries and their families they began to settle down and raise crops.
As more and more Americans came to the islands, the investors in the sugar industry began increasing their control. When Kalakaua became king in 1874, Americans had gained control over Hawaii's economy. He allied himself with landowners in his desire to strengthen the Hawaiian economy. He negotiated a treaty which ended up gining a real oost to the Hawaiian sugar industry, but the more money that the sugar tycoons made, the more power they wanted over Hawaiian afffairs.
A group of American business leaders, planters, and traders formed a secret society called the Hawaiian League. It was made to overthrow the monarchy and establish a democracy in Hawaii under the control of Americans. The conflicts between these business leaders and the king escalated in 1886 and after he refused to give up the independence of any part of Hawaii, the Hawaiian League forced him to sign a new constitution at gunpoint in July 1887. It restricted his power and deprived most Hawaiians of vote, resulting in him being forced to give Pearl Harbor to the U.S.
When King Kalakaua died in 1891, his sister Liliuokalani became queen. She wanted to do away with the bayonet constitution, the constitution her brother signed at gunpoint. Of course, when she announced her plan members of the business community plotted to overthrow her. John L. Stevens, the American minister to Hawaii, decided that he would help the rebel sugar planters. The rebels declared an end to the monarchy and Queen Liliuokalani surrendered under protest on January 17, 1893 after being outnumbered. The rebel leaders soon formed a new regime with Sanford B. Dole, a sugar tycoon, as president. John L. Stevens formally recognized the new Republic of Hawaii and proclaimed that Hawaii be under U.S. protection, while the Senate considered a treaty to annex the islands.
President Cleveland wanted to restore Liliuokalani to the throne, but Dole refused to step down. The matter was at a standstill until president McKinley took office and favored annexation. Congress approved and Hawaii became an American territory until eventually becoming the fiftieth state in 1959.