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Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaʻole of Hawaii

I always remember March 26th, as it is my sister’s birthday. However to the residents of Hawaii it is the birthday of Prince Kuhio. In Hawaii it is a state holiday to celebrate one of the last princes in the reigning House of Kalakaua when the Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown by US residents in 1893. This interesting man went on to become a politician and served in the United States Congress.

Born in 1871 on Kauai, Kuhio was as an “aliʻi” or Hawaiian nobleman. He was well educated, attending the Royal School in Honolulu. After completing his basic education he traveled to continue his studies in California and England. Kuhio was adopted by King Kalakaua’s wife Queen Kapiolani also from Kauai. This was a common by Hawaiians and Kuhio became a prince. As a result, Kuhio became one of the most important members of Hawaiian nobility.

In 1895, at the age of twenty four, Kuhio fought against the missionary and white rule in a rebellion against the Republic of Hawaii. They proved no match for the troops and Kuhio was sentenced to a year in prison. Upon his release, Kuhio and his wife left Hawaii and traveled widely in Europe and Africa.

The Prince returned to a different Hawaii and became active in politics. Kuhio was given a leadership position and was elected to the U.S. Congress. Prince Kuhio was so beloved that his birthday was made a State holiday and is celebrated with cultural events island wide. He is memorialized by streets, beaches, plazas and a federal building named in his honor. Stroll down Kuhio Ave in Waikiki and you will find a statue celebrating this great man.

Posted by: Abby Lapointe on Mar 26, 2008