January 20, 1895: George Lycurgus, a Hawaiian businessman, is arrested with others and charged with treason for supporting the Royalist against the Americans who overthrew the Kingdom of Hawaii and declared the Republic of Hawaii. With the declaration of a republic, the Americans were to have then Hawaii join the United States.
Lycurgus was born in 1858 in Vasara (near Sparta), Greece, and immigrated to New York City in 1877, where he made is way across the country. In 1881, while in San Francisco, he sold produce and wine to his cousin in Hawaii who shipped bananas to the mainland. Soon Lycurgus started traveling back and forth to Hawaii finally moving to the island, where he began a friendship with the royal Kalakaua family, who called him the Duke of Sparta. In 1893, he opened the Sans Souci Beach Resort at Waikiki Beach.
That same year, after the death of the Hawaiian monarch, Kalakaua, Lorrin A. Thurston, an acquaintance of Lycurgus, overthrew the Kingdom of Hawaii and created the Republic of Hawaii, with hopes to join the United States. Lycurgus took part in the Battle of Diamond Head on January 6, 1895, in an attempt to restore the monarchy. After the battle, Lycurgus was accused of smuggling guns to the Royalist and was arrested on January 20, 1895, and spent fifty-two days in prison, but never tried, however, his political days were over.
After the failed restoration of the monarch, Lycurgus did what every Greek did, opened a restaurant called the Union Grill in Honolulu, ventured into logging, and purchased the Hilo Hotel. In 1904 he and his nephew, Demosthenes Lycurgus, purchased the Volcano House Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii, built at the edge of the Kīlauea volcano. Later he was instrumental in the development of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
While visiting Greece, in 1914, because of World War I, he could not return to Hawaii until 1920, and upon his return, sold the Volcano House Hotel in 1921. He repurchased the hotel in 1932, and a fire destroyed it 1940. He reopened it in 1941, and it was renovated and expanded in 1953. The hotel still exists today, and on May 10, 2018, the hotel and the surrounding Kīlauea summit area of the national park were closed to the public as a result of then-ongoing volcanic explosions and earthquakes.
His wife, Athina Gerassimos Lycurgus died in 1937. Lycurgus lived to be 101, passing away on August 6, 1960. He children were Antigoni, Leo, and Nicholas. It is said Lycurgus was the oldest man on Hawaii at the time of his death.