Pacific Sovereignty Movements and Asian Americans: Communities, Coalitions, and Conflicts

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Bonds Under Bondage

In the late Nineteenth Century, David Kalākaua, the King of Hawai‘i, watched as the monarchal power over his kingdom slowly fell to foreign invaders from the West. American businessmen entered the Kingdom of Hawai‘i and began forming a coup d’état. In 1881, Kalākaua embarked on an extended excursion to Asia, visiting Malaysia, China, Japan, and Thailand. On his trip, he argued for an alliance among Asian and Pacific Islander communities as a means of resisting the rising tide of American and European imperialism.1 In China, King Kalākaua met with the chief of foreign affairs Li Hongzhang regarding imperial threats from the West that would affect both the Pacific and Asia.

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