The history of Hawaiian royalty and the monarchy that once ruled the Pacific Island paradise spans many years and dates back to the early 1800’s. Under the leadership of King Kamehameha The Great, the islands were unified in 1810 and so began a new era of royal rule.
The Kamehameha Dynasty held power from 1795 to 1872 beginning with King Kamehameha The Great. After 1872, King Lunalilo was the first to be elected by a popular vote but only reigned for one year before he was met with an untimely death in 1874. King Kalakaua then took power and is recognized for building the Iolani Palace in 1882. It is the only palace in the United States and still exists to this day on the island of Oahu. In 1891, King Kalakaua’s sister, Queen Lili’uokalani, succeeded her brother for the throne. Throughout this long history, there were many conflicts, laws, and changes that greatly affected and altered the Royal Monarchy over the years. Queen Lili’uokalani was forced out of power in 1894 and was the last Royal Ruler of Hawaii. The islands later became annexed as the Republic of Hawaii and in 1959, it became the 50th state.
The following are a couple of the many royal figures of Hawaii. When visiting the islands, many will notice street names, hospitals, and schools bearing the names of these historic icons of Hawaiian history.
Queen Kapi’olani: She was married to King Kalakaua and is known for establishing the Kapiʻolani Maternity Home, as a place for Hawaiian mothers to receive care for themselves and their newborn babies. Today, it is known as the Kapi’olani Medical Center. Kapi’olani Park, located in Waikiki, was named after the Queen by her husband King Kalakaua. (Source)
Prince Kuhio: Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole was adopted by King Kalakaua and Queen Kapi’olani, his aunt, after becoming orphaned when his parents died four years apart. As royalty, Prince Kuhio never held the throne. After becoming the Republic of Hawaii, he fought against it to try and re-institute the monarchy. He later went on to work in politics and was elected into the U.S. Congress. Today, there are many monuments in his name including a beach, street, shopping center, and federal building. He also has Prince Kuhio Day, which is celebrated on March 26 as a state holiday in honor of his birth. (Source)