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The Citizen Prince of Hawaii

March 21, 2013

Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole. (Hawaii State Archives)

On Tuesday, March 26, 2013 Hawaii will celebrate a unique state holiday: Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Day. Born in Koloa on the Island of Kauai on March 26, 1871, he attended the Royal School and Punahou College, Honolulu, studied four years in St. Matthew’s College, California and was a student at the Royal Agricultural College in England, and graduated from a business college in England. In 1884, King Kalakaua issued a royal proclamation making him a prince. While Hawaii was still an independent kingdom, he occupied a position in the Department of the Interior of the Hawaiian Government

After the overthrow of the Kingdom in 1893, Prince Kuhio took part in the revolution of native Hawaiians in 1895 and was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment. At the same time Hawaii was annexed by the United States, Prince Kuhio visited Africa (1899-1902), where he fought in the British Army in the Boer War (South Africa).

Kuhio (middle) with local dignitaries and visitng members of the U.S. Congress in 1915. (Hawaii State Archives)

Returning to the now Territory of Hawaii, Prince Kuhio was elected as a Republican to the United States Congress (and to the nine succeeding Congresses) in 1903 as the Territory’s Delegate. In 1916, he was instrumental in establishing Hawaii National Park (present day Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Haleakala National Park), which was the first national park in America’s Pacific islands. He served in Congress until his death on January 7, 1922. He is buried in the Royal Mausoleum with the kings and queens of Hawaii.

According to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands:

“Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole spearheaded the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.  In response to the dwindling native Hawaiian population, Prince Kūhiō convinced Congress to create a rehabilitation program for Hawaiians.  In 1921, with the enactment of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the United States set aside approximately 200,000 acres of land to establish a permanent homeland for native Hawaiians, who were a landless and ‘dying’ people.”

Kuhio at the Wilcox home at Hanalei, Kauai during the U.S. Congressional tour of the islands, 1907. (Hawaii State Archives)

For more information on this fascinating man, visit his biography page on the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands website: Prince Kuhio Biography.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Hawaii Big Island Travel Guru permalink
    March 26, 2013 12:55 pm

    Great blog post! And, Happy Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Day! This information is fascinating, especially about his part as a U.S. territories representative, and critical role he played in the formation of the Parks and Hawaiian Homelands. Thank you ~

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