On August 21, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed Hawaii the 50th state of the United States. Hawaii’s inauguration into statehood followed Alaska’s, marking “a truly historic occasion” that two states were admitted to the country within the same year. This also marked the first time in 158 years that there has not been a delegate membership in Congress. Prior to Alaska and Hawaii’s statehood, they were represented by non-voting delegates in the House and Senate. Hawaii’s motto is Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono, meaning ‘The Life of the Land Is Preserved in Righteousness’.
On July 4, 1894, the Republic of Hawaii was established as a protectorate of the United States, one year after Queen Liliuokalani, the last reigning monarch, was overthrown. In 1898, the state was formally annexed once the United States understood the strategic importance of the Pearl Harbor Naval base during the Spanish-American War. Two years later, Hawaii officially became a territory of the United States, thus granting citizenship to all those who were living in Hawaii. Between 1921 and 1959, Hawaii petitioned to become a state three times, but had been stuck down as the Southern states thought additional seats it would weaken their strength in the Senate.
The fiftieth state also marked the creation of a new United States flag. The flag still held the thirteen red and white stripes, but the stars are arranged in nine rows alternating six and five stars each. This is the flag that the United States still flies today.
History.com Hawaii becomes 50th State. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/Hawaii-becomes-50th-state (3 December 2012).
University of Hawaii at Manoa Library. Chronicling America: Historic Newspapers from Hawaii and the U.S. http://guides.library.manoa.Hawaii.edu/content.php?pid=124921&sid=2049322 (3 December 2012).
Lawrence, W. H. August 21, 1959. The New York Times. Hawaii Becomes the 50th State; New Flag Shown http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0821.html
Picture from: Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum. Hawaii Statehood. http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/research/online_documents/Hawaii_statehood.html