Before 1810 each of the populated Hawaiian Islands was ruled by its own King and the political and religious systems administered by ali’i and kahuna (chiefs and priests). Though there were conflicts between the various ali’i and kings from time to time, the people of the islands, for the most part, farmers and fishermen, were not inclined toward long-term war and life among the islands was relatively peaceful and practical.
In 1793 Captain George Vancouver from Great Britain presented the Union Jack to the conquering king Kamehameha I, who was then uniting the islands into a single state; the Union Jack flew unofficially as the flag of Hawaii until 1816. That year Western advisers to the king recommended the addition of red, white, and blue stripes to the Union Jack, thus creating a distinctive national flag for the country.
Some say today’s Hawaiian flag was created after a controversy surrounding the waving of both the Union Flag and American Flag. Each side opposed the flying of the other’s flag, so a compromise was reached. The Hawaiian flag is notoriously seen as a melding of the U.S. and British flags. When the new Kingdom of Hawaii flag was introduced, it was not long before the UK, France, the U.S. and Japan granted their official recognition of the icon.
American business interests supported the overthrow of the Hawaiian government in January 1893, whereupon they hoisted the Stars and Stripes. Rebuffed in their attempt to secure annexation by the United States, the new leaders proclaimed Hawaii a republic in 1894 under its former national flag. On August 12, 1898, however, Hawaii became a U.S. territory, and 61 years later it was admitted to the Union as the 50th state.
The eight alternating white, red and blue stripes represent the eight islands of Hawaii. The British Union Jack represents Hawaii’s historical relationship with Great Britain as its protectorate. It also represents a stylized puela (a triangular standard laying across two crossed spears called an alia) which is the symbol of the Hawaiian ali’i.
There is a barrage of cheap and inferior Hawaiian flags being imported and sold, that do not comply with the flag statute. This is bad for a number of reasons. Imported flags are cheaply made and more importantly, the designs, materials, colors, and methods of printing do not compare well with the better quality, longer-lasting, and correctly designed flags made by American manufacturers. The Flag Company Inc specialized in flag designs offered a special edition of decals and flags to memorize the history of Hawaiian flag for the future.