July 31st is the day to celebrate Hawaii’s flag each year. The flag, or “Ka Hae Hawai’i” in Hawaiian language, is the only state flag in the U.S. to feature another country’s flag. The Hawaiian flag bears 8 red, white, and blue horizontal stripes, representing the 8 primary islands. Signifying its long relationship, the Union Jack of the British Empire is featured in the top left corner.
The first Hawaiian Kingdom ruler, King Kamehameha I, had a very close relationship with British King George III. While never considered part of the British Empire, Britain did consider the islands to be a protectorate, but only ruled from 1794 – 1795. The Hawaiian Kingdom’s Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown by a group of American businessmen and sugar planters in a bloodless coup in 1893. A new government, the Republic of Hawaii was established, with Sanford B. Dole as its president. The new American government officially annexed Hawaii as a U.S. territory on August 12, 1898.