Episode 5: The Queen’s Quarantine

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In 1881 — less than a week after King David Kalakaua left Hawaii for a yearlong tour around the world — a ship arrived in Honolulu carrying laborers sick with smallpox.

The decisions that Hawaii’s future queen made to keep people safe – and the pushback she received from angry citizens and frustrated business owners who didn’t want to quarantine or halt business activity – should sound familiar to people today. Which is why some teachers are using the story of Lili‘uokalani to help students face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo: Hawaii State Archive