HONOLULU (KHON2) — We all make use of our island roadways, but did you know you could learn more about Hawaiʻi if you paid attention to their given names? 

Our weekly “Aloha Authentic” segment highlights various streets across the islands so we can dig into those names; and in turn, learn something we may have never known before. 

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This week, we learn of what is known as the Bayonet Constitution.

In the ahupuaʻa of Waipiʻo, which lies in the moku of ʻEwa here on Oʻahu, stands a short street which translates as “tip or point.” 

We are talking about ʻĒlau Place.

In 1887, while Queen Kapiʻolani and Princess Liliʻuokalani were in London attending Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, conditions back home were becoming dire.

A secret group of largely white businessmen was formed with the purpose of annexing Hawaiʻi known as the “Hawaiian League.”

Within their Oath of Allegiance, it states, “we are forming this society to protect the white community against the government.”

With the support of an all-white militia called “Honolulu Rifles,” the group of foreigners had planned a coup.

A revised constitution was drafted which took away the sole power of the monarchy and placed it in the hands of the legislative assembly.

It also established property, financial and literacy qualifications for the right to vote, automatically disqualifying most Hawaiians.

In the summer of 1887, King David Kalākaua was approached by the group of men with a threat. 

At gun-point, without being ratified by the Kingdom’s Legislature, the king was forced to sign the revised constitution.

By the simple stroke of his pen, the voice of thousands of Native Hawaiians was quieted in their own home.

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Because of the nature in which the King’s signature was acquired, the document became known as the “Bayonet Constitution.”

Did you know?  Now you do!