The ʻIolani Palace was the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii, beginning with Kamehameha III in 1845 and ending with Queen Liliʻuokalani in 1893. It is located in the capitol district of downtown Honolulu in the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi. It is now a National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After the monarchy was overthrown in 1893, the building was used as the capitol building for the Provisional Government, Republic, Territory, and State of Hawaiʻi until 1969. The palace was restored and opened to the public as a museum in 1978. The Iolani Palace is the only royal palace on US soil.
Iolani Palace in Days of Infamy[edit | edit source]
When the Empire of Japan conquered Hawaii in 1942, it used the Iolani Palace as its headquarters. General Tomoyuki Yamashita and other Japanese officers accepted the United States formal surrender in Iolani Palace in February of that year. In August 1942, the Japanese government reconstituted the Kingdom of Hawaii with Stanley Owana Laanui as its puppet ruler. However, Japan retained all real power, and many of the military leaders who administered the islands did so from the Palace.
When the United States returned and reconquered Hawaii in the summer of 1943, the Palace became the site of a last stand for many Japanese forces. King Stanley and Queen Cynthia, realizing that they'd forfeited their freedom and their lives by siding with Japan, committed suicide there (Stanley shot his wife, then himself). Commander Minoru Genda committed seppuku immediately after.
Although the United States had wanted the palace intact, the stubborn resistance of the Japanese troops ensured that the Americans had to destroy Iolani Palace instead.
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