Kingdom of Hawaii

By | October 18, 2022


Kingdom of Hawaii Hawaiian Kingdom Aupuni Mōʻī o HawaiiUa Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono The life of the land is perpetuated in justice
Capital city Waikīkī (1795–1796) Hilo (1796–1802) Lāhainā (1802–1812 and 1820–1845) Kailua-Kona (1812–1820) Honolulu (1845–1893)
Population 89,990 (1890)
Languages Hawaiian and English
Religion Christianity and folk religions
form of government Monarchy
Currency Hawaiian Dollar US Dollar
United States and History Portal

The Kingdom of Hawaii was an independent country between 1795 and 1893. It included the islands that now made up the US state of Hawaii. The kingdom came into existence when King Kamehameha I of the Island of Hawaii united the islands of Oahu, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. It was not until 1810 that all Hawaiian islands were under the Kingdom of Hawaii, when Kauai and Niihau were also conquered. The kingdom was recognized by the European powers and protected by the United States. In the late 1800s, the United States became interested in the Pacific Islands. The idea arose to annex Hawaii. The United States already had a lot of influence on the kingdom and American entrepreneurs had free rein. When Queen Liliʻuokalani wanted more power to stand up for the Hawaiians, her government was overthrown by the American entrepreneurs. They then abolished the monarchy and hoped that the United States would annex the archipelago. Then-President Grover Cleveland vehemently opposed this, as Hawaii was an independent country. As a result, American entrepreneurs founded the Republic of Hawaii. Cleveland’s successor, William McKinley, then added the islands as territory. Hawaii did not become a US state until 1959. Today, there is still a large movement of monarchy restoration in Hawaii.

  • ElectronicsMatter: State facts of Hawaii, covering history, geography, demography, economics, politics, and administrative division of Hawaii.


Origin and the Kamehameha dynasty

When British explorer James Cook arrived in Hawaii in 1779, Hawaii was made up of several kingdoms. Each island was its own kingdom, but the islands had a common culture and language. Each king was, according to the culture, a descendant of the goddess Papahānaumoku. Shortly after Cook’s voyage, power on the largest island, Hawaii, was taken over by Kamehameha I. King Kamehameha I then began a 15-year struggle to unite the islands under one king. For this, the king received help from western countries, who sent weapons and generals. Kamehameha I conquered Maui and Oahu with ease, but struggled to conquer Kauaito conquer. This island did not surrender until 1810, after which Hawaii was united under one king. For Hawaii, this marked a new era and the end of Hawaiian antiquity. The kingdom was formed after European example while preserving Hawaiian traditions. The kingdom was recognized by the European powers, which allowed it to continue to exist. European countries were eager to trade with Hawaii.

  • Fun-wiki: Brief information of the state Hawaii, covering basic history and geography as well as top cities of Hawaii.

King Kamehameha II

Money was introduced to the island through trade with China. King Kamehameha I died in 1819, after which his son Kamehameha II took power. Since Kamehameha II was still quite young, his mother reigned for him as regent. This also marked the end of Hawaiian religion. At that time, the Hawaiian religion governed everything in society. For example, it was forbidden for women to eat together with men. Kamehameha II abolished this religion by eating with his mother, effectively abolishing the religion within a day. Only after the abolition of religion did missions come to Hawaii to convert Hawaiians into Christianity. Hawaiian mythology continued to exist, however, and people began to combine the Hawaiian gods with Christianity. The Christian missionaries came from the United States and often took their families to Hawaii. This brought an American elite to Hawaii. He also became involved in the cultivation of sugar. KingKamehameha III succeeded his brother in 1825. He made the country a constitutional monarchy and adopted the first constitution in 1848. The Kamehameha dynasty was afraid of losing their property. As a result, only within the family were married to each other and relatives had children with each other. This was also the reason why the Kamehameha dynasty ended after five kings. This way of having children caused all kinds of diseases and disorders and infertility. King Kamehameha IVstrongly improved the ties with the United States and ensured free trade with the country. Meanwhile, the number of Americans in Hawaii grew. In 1852 a constitution was passed, which reduced the power of the king. Instead, parliament gained more power. However, the parliament was made up of the American entrepreneurs on the island and not Hawaiians. Under King Kamehameha IV, healthcare and education on the island were improved. He was succeeded again by his brother Kamehameha V, who eventually died childless in 1872. This marked the end of Kamehameha dynasty.

Crisis and elections

Queen Liliuokalani

After the death of Kamehameha V, a crisis arose in Hawaii. The question was who would be the new king. Kamehameha V wanted the bishop Bernice to become the new king, but he refused the throne. In the end, it was decided that parliament could elect a new king. They could choose from several relatives of Kamehameha V. The parliament chose Lunalilo, a great-grandson of Kamehameha V, as the new king in 1873. This did not last long, as the king died a year later. This allowed parliament to meet again to elect a new king. This became Kalakaua and the new dynasty was called the Kalakaua dynasty. Under Kalakaua, the constitutional monarchyintroduced when a new constitution was passed in 1887. The constitution stripped the king of any political power at all and became the symbol of the country. The constitution also ensured that only wealthy Hawaiians and white entrepreneurs could vote. The Japanese and Chinese on the islands were allowed to stay, but could not vote. In 1891 Kalakaua died and was succeeded by his sister, Liliuokalani. When she came to power, there was a major economic crisis in Hawaii because the United States had increased import duties. Since Hawaii had become dependent on trade with the United States, this created a crisis in Hawaii. Liliuokalani therefore decided to get involved in politics and proposed to hold a lottery and tax on opiumto lift. Her ministers and friends advised her against this, as it would cause a governance crisis. Liliuokalani wanted to move on. She wanted to make a new constitution in which the king or queen had more power. Her predecessor, Kalakaua, had been pressured into making the constitution invalid, she said. Liliuokalani wanted to push through her new constitution. This made her ministers, parliament and American entrepreneurs nervous. They feared that the queen was being given too much power and feared for their safety.

Annexation of Hawaii

The monarchy is overthrown

In 1893, several American entrepreneurs and politicians in Hawaii overthrew the queen. The government also resigned and the entrepreneurs took over. Liliuokalani was imprisoned in the Iolani Palace and the monarchy was abolished. Shortly before this, the queen had (temporarily) transferred power to parliament. Parliament then leaves the Republic of Hawaii with Sanford B. Dole as president. The American politicians and entrepreneurs in Hawaii hoped that the American government would then annex Hawaii. President Grover Cleveland, however, did not see this point, as he believed that the United States should not expand. In 1895, the Queen tried to start a revolution to take back power. She was arrested and convicted. The Republic of Hawaii lasted until 1898. In that year, US President William McKinley decided to annex Hawaii. Hawaii didn’t become a US state until 1959.


The last two rulers lived in the Iolani Palace. The palace is still a symbol of the monarchy.

Following is a list of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii:

  • Kamehameha I (1795-1819)
  • Kamehameha II (1819-1824)
  • Kamehameha III (1825-1854)
  • Kamehameha IV (1855-1863)
  • Kamehameha V (1863-1872)
  • Lunalilo (1873-1874)
  • Kalakaua (1874-1891)
  • Liliuokalani (1891-1893)

Restoration of the monarchy?

A gathering of proponents of the monarchy

Hawaii today still has a movement seeking to restore the monarchy. There are several organizations in Hawaii that want this. Many of these groups also want Hawaii to become an independent country. Not all people of the independence movement want to restore the monarchy, as many also want Hawaii to become a republic. Another part of the population wants to restore the monarchy, but that Hawaii remains a part of the United States. The latter is not possible. The organization Nou Ke Akua Ke Aupuni O Hawaiʻi – The Kingdom of Hawaiʻi wanted to restore the monarchy and raised money for this. Hawaii would also become an independent country. This proposal was made in 2003, but never materialized. In 2008, the group tied Hawaiian Kingdom Governmentclung to the Iolani Palace in Honolulu for two hours. They attempted to invade the building. The building was once the palace of the king(ess) of Hawaii, but is now used for the parliament of the state of Hawaii. The building was never invaded. The protest moved from the entrance to a lawn in front of the entrance, causing the building to reopen. No one was injured in this. Should Hawaii ever become a kingdom, Owana Salazar would become the queen of the country. Today, Salazar is the head of the Hawaiian royal family and also holds the title of princess. In 2017, she re-established the Royal Order of the Crown of Hawaii. Salazar has close ties to Portugal’s former royal family.

Kingdom of Hawaii