The first monarch of a unified Hawaii was Kamehameha I who by 1796 had control of all the Hawaiian islands using western cannon he had obtained from captured ships. He ruled in peace until his death in 1819 upon which his son Kamehameha II became the ruler. This son died several years later and King Kamehameha's favorite wife Ka'ahumanu ruled Hawaii as Queen Regent until her death in 1832. Her conversion to Christianity and decisions to westernize enormously helped the Boston Calvinist missionaries who had arrived in 1820 to start their takeover of the culture, land and power of Hawaii.
After her death King Kamehameha III was old enough to become the ruler and he followed the advice of his missionary advisers to privatize the land in Hawaii. Native Hawaiians did not have the money or knowledge to buy the land and from 1850 on vast sections of Hawaii were bought up by missionaries, their descendants and other foreigners. These lands were turned into huge sugar cane plantations. The Hawaiian culture was deemed "pagan", hula was banned, English was made mandatory and generations of Hawaiians suffered damage to self-worth from putdowns, loss of Identity, and marginalization. King Kamehameha IV ruled after his uncle and then his brother King Kamehameha V when the young Prince Albert died at four years of age and his father a year later.
King Lunalilo ruled next but only for a year to die of alcoholism. He was succeeded by King David Kalakaua who built Iolani Palace which can still be toured in Honolulu. His power was drastically reduced by armed American sugar planters shortly before his death when he was forced to sign what is known as the Bayonet Constitution. This Constitution gave most of the power of the King over to the Legislature which was controlled by the missionaries and their descendents.
Queen Liliu'okalani succeeded her brother King Kalakaua after his death but when she tried to change the constitution to rule more for the benefit of Native Hawaiians a palace coup ended her reign in 1893. This coup was enormously aided by the American Minister Stevens who arranged the placement of American Marines off the USS Boston directly in front of the guns of the Queen when she was about to defend her rule by firing on the American sugar planters intent on overthrowing her. The Queen stepped down to avoid bloodshed thinking that the US President would reinstate her once the facts were known. Grover Cleveland ordered her reinstated after an investigation but the sugar cane planters, now in control, refused knowing the US would not open fire on its own citizens. Hawaii was annexed in 1898 and made a territory of the U.S. despite a petition from practically every Native Hawaii in Hawaii against the annexation. The Americans wanted Pearl Harbor and its military potential for the Spanish American war. President Clinton apologized for the illegal overthrow a number of years ago but no reparations or damages have been forthcoming.
The Akaka Bill which will give Native Hawaians the same rights as Native Americans and Native Alaskans is before the Senate right now. It is possible that it will pass and President Obama has vowed to sign it, Hopefully it will pass and the history of Hawaii can move past the lingering injustice left by Queen Lili'uokalani's overthrow.