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Kamehameha V-The Kamehameha Family Dynasty-Your Hawaii Vacation

by Fergy Ferguson

As I first mentioned back in February, when planning a Seattle to Hawaii vacation for my clients I always try to infuse Hawaiian history into the experience.  More than many other tropical destinations, Hawaii’s rich history weaves itself into modern-day life and culture, so I believe an appreciation for Hawaii’s history can only improve your enjoyment of your Seattle to Hawaii vacation.

With this in mind, over the past five months, I’ve shared stories of Hawaii’s Kamehameha Dynasty of Kings and Queens to give you a greater appreciation of the Hawaiian people, their culture, and how the past has influenced modern-day Hawaii.

Read The Whole Series,  Part 1,   Part 2,   Part 3  

My final post about the Kamehameha Dynasty is about the last ruling monarch in the Kamehameha family, Kamehameha V, who took the throne in 1863, reigning until 1872.  Born as Lot Kapuāiwa on December 11, 1830, his motto was “Onipa’a”, meaning “immovable, firm, steadfast, and determined.” True to his motto, he became known as “the last great traditional chief.”  During a trip to the Hawaiian Islands in March of 1866, writer Mark Twain described him as being “a wise sovereign: there was no trivial royal nonsense about him; he was popular, greatly respected, and even beloved.”

Despite this love from his people in his adult life, however, the monarch did not have a happy childhood.  Adopted by Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena through an ancient Hawaiian tradition called “hanai”, the Princess died shortly after in 1836. Adopted then by his grandmother, Queen Kalakua Kaheiheimalie and step-grandfather High Chief Ulumaheihei Hoapili, as a boy he would never feel at home.  Blaming the adoption for depriving him of his mother’s love, years later he would become angry at his half-sister Ruth Keelikolani when she upheld the adoption tradition and gave away her second son to Bernice Pauahi Bishop.  Betrothed at birth to Bernice Pauahi, the King and Bernice would have raised Ruth’s son.  Though Bernice and the King remained close friends throughout their lives, Bernice chose instead to marry American Charles Reed Bishop.

Read The Series, Queen Ka’ahumanuKamehameha II

Following his education in the tradition of future kings at the Royal School, in the summer of 1849, Kamehameha V sailed with his brother Alexander Liholiho and their guardian Dr. Judd to San Francisco.  Their trip also took them to other parts of California and Panama, Jamaica, New York, Washington D.C. and Europe.  While overseas, the brothers met notable heads of state, including French president Louis Napoleon and US president Zachary Taylor.

Kamehameha’s reign saw much continued growth in Hawaii – and a hefty increase in debt.  The ambitious King created many public projects, including initial construction of St. Andrew’s cathedral, the Kamehameha V Post Office, and the Aliliolani Hale building, which currently houses the Hawaii State Supreme Court.  Also completed were the ‘Iolani barracks which house the royal guards, a new prison, the Royal Mausoleum, schools and warehouses and other government buildings.  On a visit to Hawaii in 1869, Queen Victoria’s second son, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and a group of politicians, envoys, and merchants also discussed building hotels in Hawaii, which led to the construction of The Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Two of Kamehamheha V’s most recognized achievements of his day continue to influence the Hawaii of today.  His love of music and dance was instrumental in the re-introduction of the hula into the Hawaiian culture.  As a matter of fact, The Laukanaka Ka Hula Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival is held every year and is coming up on July 21st, 2012.  The second one is his reintroduced constitution of 1864, restoring much power back to the sovereign King.  This constitution has been one of the most studied, and discussed documents in Hawaii’s history.

Since his sister, Crown Princess Victoria Kamamalu had died without giving birth to an heir and Kamehameha did not name a successor, when he died on December 11, 1862, the legislature had to hold an election to find a new king.  The office was won by Kamehameha V’s cousin, William Charles Lunalilo, ending the more than eighty-year Kamehameha family dynasty.

In my blog posts, I’ve tried to show how Kamehameha The Great’s legacy is still seen today in Hawaii’s prosperity, peace and forward-thinking laws.  I’ve also mentioned how the King felt that everyone and everything had value, which contributes to the whole of the community and life.  I believe it is very evident that this belief is so visible to this day in the Aloha Spirit.

Read The Whole Series, Kamehameha III,  Kamehameha IV

From Kamehameha The Great and his four successors to his beloved Queen Ka’ahumanu and her successor Queen Emma, the Kamehameha sovereigns have had a profound effect on Hawaiian tradition.  Warm and inviting, the Hawaiian people still welcome you with the Aloha Spirit instilled so long ago by this Dynasty.  I encourage you to further explore this history on your next Seattle to Hawaii vacation!  And while you’re there, take a moment to drop by the Kamehameha family mausoleum and nod your appreciation to the Hawaiian Kings and Queens who came before us for a job well done.

Seattle to Hawaii Vacation Consultant
Call 206-623-2940,
Fergy’s Travel YouTube Channel

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