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Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole

Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole
Prince of Hawaiʻi

Spouse Elizabeth Kahanu Kaʻauwai
Full name
Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Piʻikoi
House House of Kalākaua
Father David Kahalepouli Piʻikoi
King Kalākaua (hānai)
Mother Victoria Kekaulike Kinoiki
Queen Kapiʻolani (hānai)
Born (1871-03-26)March 26, 1871
Kōloa, Kauaʻi
Died January 7, 1922(1922-01-07) (aged 50)
Waikīkī, Oʻahu
Burial (1922-01-15)January 15, 1922[1]
Mauna ʻAla Royal Mausoleum
Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole
Delegate to U.S. House of Representatives from Territory of Hawaii's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1903 – January 7, 1922
Preceded by Robert W. Wilcox
Succeeded by Henry A. Baldwin
Personal details
Political party Home Rule, Republican

Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Piʻikoi (1871–1922) was a prince of the reigning House of Kalākaua when the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi was overthrown by international businessmen in 1893. He later went on to become a politician in the Territory of Hawaii as delegate to the United States Congress, and as such is the first native Hawaiian and only person ever elected to that body who was born a royal.[2]

Early life

Kalanianaʻole was born March 26, 1871 in Kōloa on the island of Kauaʻi.[3] Like many aliʻi (Hawaiian nobility) his genealogy was complex, but he was an heir of Kaumualiʻi, the last ruling chief of Kauaʻi. He was named after his grandfather Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole a High Chief of Hilo, and his paternal grandfather Jonah Piʻikoi High Chief of Kauaʻi. Like many Hawaiian nobles in the nineteenth-century he attended the exclusive private Royal School and Punahou School in Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu. In the 1870s, a French school teacher at St. Alban's College, now ʻIolani School, commented on how young Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole's eyes twinkled merrily and how he kept a perpetual smile. "He is so cute, just like the pictures of the little cupid", teacher Pierre Jones said. The nickname, "Prince Cupid", stuck with Prince Kūhiō for the rest of his life.[4] After completing his basic education he also traveled abroad for further study. He studied for four years at Saint Matthew's School, a private Episcopal military school in San Mateo, California,[5] and at the Royal Agricultural College in England before graduating from a business school in England. He was described as being an excellent marksman and athlete at sports such as football and bicycling.[6]:57–59

Prince of the Kalākaua Dynasty

After the rule of the House of Kamehameha ended with the death of King Kamehameha V in 1872, and King Lunalilo died in 1874, the House of Kalākaua ascended to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. He became an orphan after his father died in 1880 and mother in 1884. Kalanianaʻole was adopted by King David Kalākaua's wife, Queen Kapiʻolani, who was his maternal aunt. This practice was called hānai, a traditional form of adoption widely used in ancient Hawaii, which made Kalanianaʻole a royal prince. When Kalākaua came to power Kalanianaʻole was appointed to the royal Cabinet administering the Department of the Interior. After Kalākaua's death in 1891, Liliʻuokalani became queen, and she continued to favour Kalanianaʻole.

However, in 1893 the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii put in power first a Provisional Government of Hawaii, and then a republic with no role for monarchs. Liliʻuokalani continued to hope she could be restored to the throne, while American businessmen lobbied for annexation.

Post-Overthrow Activities

In 1895, at the age of twenty four,[7] he participated in a rebellion against the Republic of Hawaiʻi. The rebels proved no match for the Republic troops and police, and shortly after hostilities began, all those involved in the rebellion were routed and captured. Kūhiō was sentenced to a year in prison while others were charged with treason and sentenced with execution. Death sentences were commuted to imprisonment. Kūhiō served his full term. Daily visits of his fiancee, Elizabeth Kahanu Kaʻauwai encouraged him in his most dark times. They married October 8, 1896.

In 1898, the United States of America annexed Hawaii and the Territory of Hawaii was formed. After her own heir apparent, Princess Victoria Kaʻiulani, died at the age of 23 in 1899, Liliʻuokalani made Kalanianaʻole and his brother Prince David Kawānanakoa (1868–1908) heirs to the throne. His other older brother Prince Edward Keliʻiahonui had died in 1887.

Kūhiō and his wife left Hawaiʻi upon his release and traveled widely in Europe, where they were treated as visiting royalty. He traveled to Africa from 1899 to 1902 where he joined the British Army to fight in the Second Boer War.[8]

From prince to American statesman

Kūhiō eventually returned from his self-imposed exile to take part in politics[7] in post-annexation Hawaiʻi. He became active in the Home Rule Party of Hawaii, which represented native Hawaiians and continued to fight for Hawaiian independence. A much smaller Democratic party, led by his brother David Kawānanakoa, was less radical and also less powerful. The Republicans represented business interests including people who had originally overthrown the Monarchy.

In 1901 Kūhiō switched parties and joined the Republicans. He was disillusioned with the lack of progress made by the Home Rule Party, and its control by "radicals". The Republicans eagerly accepted him into the fold. By endorsing the heir to the throne of the Hawaiian kingdom they gained significant support in local communities, and Kūhiō was given a strong leadership position.

Kūhiō was elected delegate to the U.S. Congress in a landslide victory for the Republicans, and helped establish a Republican hold on the legislature. He served from March 4, 1903 until his death, winning a total of ten elections.[8] During this time he instituted local government at the county level, creating the county system still used today in Hawaiʻi. He staffed the civil service positions that resulted with Hawaiian appointees.[9] This move combined the political patronage system of 19th century American politics with the traditional Hawaiian chiefly role of beneficently delegating authority to trusted retainers.[10]

In 1903, Kūhiō reorganized the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, which held the first observance of the Kamehameha Day holiday in 1904.[4] He was a founder of the first Hawaiian Civic Club on December 7, 1918.[11] He helped organize a centenary celebration of the death of Kamehameha I in 1919.[12]

In 1919, Kūhiō introduced in Congress the first-ever Hawaii Statehood Act. It would be another 40 years before seeing fruition.

During this period, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921 was signed by President Warren Harding. Despite Kūhiō's wishes, the Act contained high blood-quantum requirements, and leased land instead of granting it fee-simple, creating a perpetual government institution. This act and the others that followed continue to be controversial in contemporary Hawaiian politics, and have been used to justify more recent legislation like the Akaka Bill.[13] He served on the first Hawaiian Homes Commission starting on September 16, 1921.[12]

Kūhiō died on January 7, 1922. His body was interred near his royal family at the Royal Mausoleum known as Mauna ʻAla in Nuʻuanu on the island of Oʻahu.[14] He is memorialized by streets, beaches, the Prince Kūhiō Plaza Shopping Center, and the Prince Kuhio Federal Building named in his honor. Prince Kūhiō Day on March 26 is a state holiday that honors Kūhiō's birth.[4] Two of Hawaii's public schools also honor the memory of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole: Prince Jonah Kuhio Elementary School in Honolulu and Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Elementary and Intermediate School in Papaikou, Hawaii, near Hilo on the Island of Hawaii. He had a condition were every time he went to sleep he would stop breathing for a few seconds but over the years the time he would stop breathing grew longer until he died on January 7, 1922.


External links

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Preceded by
Robert William Wilcox
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Territory of Hawaii's at-large congressional district

March 4, 1903 – January 7, 1922
Succeeded by
Henry Alexander Baldwin

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