House of Kamehameha

House of Kamehameha

Royal house
surname =Kamehameha
estate =
coat of arms =
country =Hawaii
parent house =House of Keoua
titles =King, Queen, Prince, Princess, Aliokinai
founder =Kamehameha I
final ruler =Kamehameha V
current head =extinct
founding year =1795
dissolution =1903
nationality =Native Hawaiian

The House of Kamehameha "(Hale O Kamehameha)", or the Kamehameha Dynasty, was the reigning family of the Kingdom of Hawaiokinai between the unification of the islands by Kamehameha the Great in 1810 and the death of Kamehameha V in 1872. Their most important contributions were the institution of a constitutional form of government, abolition of ancient Hawaiian kapu systems in favor of westernized laws, proclamation of the Edict of Toleration giving all Hawaiians freedom of religion and the promulgation of the Great Mahele, appropriating lands to native Hawaiians who could for the first time in history own private property. Today, the Kamehameha dynasty itself does not survive — all descent from Kamehameha I seems to have gone extinct. There are surviving members of a collateral branch — descent from Kalokuokamaile, the eldest brother of King Kamehameha I, is extant in the descendants of Kalokuokamaile's great-great-granddaughter, Theresa Owana Laanui, who had 17 grandchildren. This branch named the House of Laanui-Kalokuokamaile along with the House of Kamehameha derive from the same parent house, the House of Keoua.


The dynasty developed from chiefs of Kona (seat at Kailua), as their chief Kamehameha (I) succeeded in subjugating gradually all other chiefdoms on the island of Hawaiokinai and then also other islands of the archipelago. Chiefs of Kona were rulers of only a part of their island, the earlier island-wide monarchy having some decades earlier (presumably as result of death of Kamehameha's great-grandfather the King Keaweikekahialiiokamoku) dissolved into smaller independent chieftainships.

His father was Keoua Kalanikupuapa'ikalaninui the Chief of Kona and his Keku'i'apowa II the Chiefess of Kona and niece of the reigning Hawaiian King Alapa'i. Relations were wide: e.g. Kamehameha's mother had secondly married a king of Kauaokinai island, after his father, and his mother had many children from other chiefs.

Kamehameha himself descended also from "Aliokinai Aimoku" of Ookinaahu, Maui, Kauaokinai, and Molokai since the princely or chief class (aliokinai) of the islands was rather intermarried, and legendarily all descended, chief Wākea the original star-born chief.

Expansion of realm

Kamehameha I started a series of wars of conquest and strategic alliances. Succeeding his brother as Aliokinai of Kohala and Kona in 1782, he set out to unify Hawaiokinai proper, and later to subdue the neighboring islands. He ultimately unified the whole of the Hawaiian, or Sandwich, islands into a single kingdom by 1810. His descendants ruled the united kingdom, until the extinction of his male line in 1874.

At the extinction of the male line of Kamehameha, the nobles and chiefs chose David Kalākaua, a great noble of high standing and a descendant of Kamehameha the Great's grandfather. He died without issue having nominated his sister, Liliokinauokalani, as is successor. She was deposed by an armed coup d'état primarily driven by local American and European businessmen in 1893.

Preserving Independence

The House of Kamehameha also is responsible for maintaining and preserving the sovereignty and independence of the Kingdom of Hawaiokinai from the encroachment of European colonial powers in the Pacific Ocean. It secured treaties with Austria, Belgium, Bremen (present-day Germany), Denmark, France, Germany, Hamburg (present-day Germany), Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, New South Wales (present-day Australia), Portugal, Russia, Samoa, Swiss Confederation, Sweden, Norway, Tahiti (present-day France), United Kingdom and United States.

Kamehameha Monarchs

* Kamehameha I, (1795-1819)
* Kamehameha II, Liholiho, (1819-1824)
* Kamehameha III, Kauikeaouli, (1825-1854)
* Kamehameha IV, Alexander Liholiho, (1854-1863)
* Kamehameha V, Lot Kapuokinaiwa, (1863-1872)

The influence of the foreigners took a toll on the Kamehamehas. Alcoholism and foreign diseases which the Native Hawaiians had no immunity to were the main reason the demise of the Kamehamehas. No monarch except Kamehameha I lived past the age of 42. Kamehameha III ruled for 30 years only because he came to the throne as a child. He died in 1854 at the age of 41. Every monarch except Kamehameha I had a child that lived into adulthood. Out of all of Kamehameha children only Kinau and Pauli had children that would grow to adulthood.

Last survivors of Kamehameha Dynasty

The name Kamehameha originally was the personal name of King Kamehameha I. Thus, the dynasty is understood as his descendants, but not his siblings nor collateral relatives, since none of them descended from anyone called Kamehameha. After King Kamehameha V's death, there survived only two descendants of Kamehameha I, Kamehameha V's female cousins and Kamehameha III's illegitimate son:

* Ruth Keelikolani (d. 1883), who was the daughter (born, problematically, after divorce and mother's remarriage) (1) of Prince Kahalaia Luanuu, himself grandson of king Kamehameha I, being the only son of the king's third son prince Alii Kahoanuku Kinau and his wife lady Alii Kahakuhaakoi Wahine-pio from Maui; and (2) of princess Kalani Pauahi, herself elder daughter of lord Aliokinai Pauli Kaoleioku (eldest but just legimated natural son of Kamehameha I) by his official wife Aliokinai Keoua-wahine. [ [ i45.html ] ]

* Bernice Pauahi Bishop (d. 1884), who was the daughter of Laura Konia, daughter of Kamehameha I's eldest but just legitimated natural son, Lord Pauli Kaoleioku, aforementioned. She was Keelikolani's first cousin and heiress.

* Albert Kuka'ilimoku Kunuiakea (d. 1903), who was the illegitimate son of Kamehameha III by Jane Lahilahi Young (youngest daughter of John Young and Ka'oana'eha).

These three died without surviving issue.

Descendant of Keoua Kalanikupuapaikalaninui

External links

* [ Kamehameha Dynasty Chart]


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