Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole

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Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole
Prince of Hawaiʻi
Born(1871-03-26)March 26, 1871
Kukuiʻula, Kōloa, Kauaʻi, Kingdom of Hawaiʻi
DiedJanuary 7, 1922(1922-01-07) (aged 50)
Waikīkī, Oʻahu, Territory of Hawaii
Burial(1922-01-15)January 15, 1922
SpouseElizabeth Kahanu Kalanianaʻole
Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole
HouseHouse of Kalākaua
FatherDavid Kahalepouli Piʻikoi
King Kalākaua (hānai)
MotherVictoria Kinoiki Kekaulike
Queen Kapiʻolani (hānai)
SignatureJonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole's signature
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from Hawaii Territory's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1903 – January 7, 1922
Preceded byRobert W. Wilcox
Succeeded byHenry A. Baldwin
Personal details
Political partyHome Rule, Republican

Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole (March 26, 1871 – January 7, 1922) was a prince of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi until it was overthrown by a coalition of American and European businessmen in 1893. He later went on to become a representative in the Territory of Hawaii as delegate to the United States Congress, and as such is the only royal-born member of Congress.[1]

Kūhiō was often called Ke Aliʻi Makaʻāinana (Prince of the People) and is well known for his efforts to preserve and strengthen the Hawaiian people.[2]

Early life

The young Kūhiō

Kalanianaʻole was born March 26, 1871, in Kukuiʻula, Kōloa on the island of Kauaʻi.[3][4] 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 maternal grandfather Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole, a High Chief of Hilo, and his paternal grandfather Jonah Piʻikoi, a High Chief of Kauaʻi. His Hawaiian name Kuhio translated into "Chief who leaned forward as he stood," and "Kalanianaʻole" meant "ambitious Chief," or "Chief who is never satisfied."[5]



He attended St. Alban's College, now ʻIolani School and Oahu College, now Punahou School, in Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu. In the 1870s, a French school teacher at St. Alban's, commented on how the young man'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.[6]

After completing his basic education he traveled abroad for further study. His uncle King Kalākaua pushed for future Hawaiian leaders to attain a broader education with his 1880 Hawaiian Youths Abroad program. The Hawaiian government sent Kūhiō and his two brothers Kawānanakoa and Keliʻiahonui to attend Saint Matthew's School in San Mateo, California in 1885.[7] Keliʻiahonui died in 1887 while at home from school.[8]

In 1890, Kūhiō and Kawānanakoa were sent to attend schools in the United Kingdom. This came a year after their cousin Kaʻiulani was also sent to England for school[9][10] He studied at the Royal Agricultural College in England before graduating from business school in England. He was described as an excellent marksman and athlete at sports such as football and cycling.[11]: 57–59 



While attending school in San Mateo, Kūhiō and his brothers surfed the Pacific seashore at Santa Cruz. The brothers demonstrated the Hawaiian sport of board surfing to the locals, becoming the first California surfers in 1885.[12] In September 1890, Kawānanakoa and Kūhiō became the first surfers in the British Isles and taught their English tutor John Wrightson to surf on the beaches of Bridlington in northern England.[13][14][15]

Prince of the Kalākaua dynasty

As prince of Hawaii

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 1878 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 Prince of the Kingdom. After Kalākaua's death in 1891, Liliʻuokalani became queen, and she continued to favour Kalanianaʻole.

He worked in a minor position within the Department of the Interior and Customs Office.

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.

Post-overthrow activities

Kuhio in prison

At age twenty-four,[16] he participated in the 1895 Wilcox 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 to execution (commuted to imprisonment). Kūhiō served his full term. His fiancée, Elizabeth Kahanu Kalanianaʻole visited him daily.

In 1898, the United States annexed Hawaii and the Territory of Hawaii was formed in 1900. His cousin Princess Kaʻiulani and his aunt Queen Dowager Kapiʻolani, who left her properties to Kūhiō and his brother, died in 1899. In responses to these personal losses, Kūhiō and his wife left Hawaii from March 1900 to September 1901. They traveled widely in the United States and Europe, where they were treated as royalty.[17][18] He traveled to South Africa where he either enlisted in the British Army or accompanied the army as an observer in the Second Boer War.[19][17][20]

From prince to statesman

As a Congressional Delegate

Kūhiō returned from his self-imposed exile to take part in politics.[16] He became active in the Home Rule Party of Hawaii, which represented native Hawaiians and continued to fight for Hawaiian independence.

On July 10, 1902, Prince Kūhiō split from the Home Rule Party, walking out of its convention along with nearly half of the other delegates. He formed the short-lived Hui Kuokoa Party. However, by September 1, 1902, Kuhio decided to join the Republican Party, was nominated as their candidate for Congress, and dramatically altered the political landscape. Kūhiō was elected delegate to the U.S. Congress as a Republican.

Kūhiō circulated a letter to Senators in 1920 that is descriptive of his thinking. "After extensive investigation and survey on the part of various organizations organized for the purpose of rehabilitating the race, it was found that the only method in which to rehabilitate the race was to place them back upon the soil."[21]

He served from March 4, 1903, until his death, winning a total of ten elections.[19] During this time he instituted local government at the county level, creating the county system that survives in Hawaiʻi. He staffed the resulting civil service positions with Hawaiian appointees.[22] This move combined the political patronage system of 19th century American politics with the traditional Hawaiian chiefly role of beneficent delegation of authority to trusted retainers.[23]

In 1903, Kūhiō reorganized the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, which held the first observance of the Kamehameha Day holiday in 1904.[6] He was a founder of the first Hawaiian Civic Club on December 7, 1918.[24] He helped organize a centenary celebration of the death of Kamehameha I in 1919.[25]

The Prince Kūhiō Statue at Waikīkī

In 1919, Kūhiō introduced in Congress the first-ever Hawaii Statehood Act. Forty years passed before it came to fruition.

Women's suffrage


In 1915, political parties in the territory asked Kūhiō to bring a bill to the U.S. Congress that requested the right for the territorial legislature to rule on women's suffrage.[26] The Organic Act which established the Territory of Hawaii and specifically forbade the territorial legislature from granting suffrage on the local level contrary to the federal constitution.[27] Kūhiō received no attention from Congress on the matter, but brought the issue forward again in 1916.[28]

In 1917 Kūhiō brought another bill to the United States Congress that was put forward by Senator John F. Shaforth. The bill would allow the territory of Hawaii to decide suffrage.[29] In 1918 New England suffragist Almira Hollander Pitman, who was married to the son of Hawaiian chiefess Kinoʻoleoliliha, helped successfully advocate for the passage of that bill.[30][31][32] Pitman used her political contacts to help Kūhiō.[33] The bill was enacted in June 1918.[34]

After the revision to the Organic Act, the Hawaiian legislature debated allowing women's suffrage from 1919 to 1920. The issue became deadlocked due to disagreement between the Hawaii Territorial Senate and the Hawaii Territorial House about whether the bill would take effect in the primary election of 1919 or 1920 and whether a referendum should decide the issue.[27][35] Local legislation never passed because the following year Congress passed the suffrage-granting Nineteenth Amendment.[36][37]

Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921


During this period, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921 was enacted. Despite Kūhiō's wishes, the Act required that recipients verify blood-quantum requirements (the degree to which their ancestors were native Hawaiian), and leased land instead of granting fee-simple ownership, creating a perpetual government institution. This act and those that followed remain controversial in Hawaiian politics, and were used to justify more recent legislation such as the Akaka Bill.[38] Kūhiō served on the first Hawaiian Homes Commission starting on September 16, 1921.[25]

Death and funeral


Kūhiō died on January 7, 1922.[39] His body was interred near his royal family at the Royal Mausoleum known as Mauna ʻAla in Nuʻuanu on the island of Oʻahu. His widow Kahanu used her own funds (later reimbursed by the territorial government) to renovate the chapel at the mausoleum in his honor.[40]

Personal life


In 1888, Kalākaua sent Kūhiō to Japan where he was a guest of the Japanese government. He had wished that Kūhiō would marry a Japanese princess but this political alliance never materialized.[41][42]

On January 29, 1894, when Princess Kaʻiulani was nineteen, Liliʻuokalani wrote asking her to consider marrying either Prince David Kawānanakoa, Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole, or an unnamed Japanese prince (then studying in London). She reminded her, "It is the wish of the people that you should marry one or the other of the Princes, that we may have more [A]liis. There are no other Aliis who they look to except Prince David or his brother, who would be eligible to the throne..."[43] It took five months for Kaʻiulani to respond to Liliʻuokalani's suggestion. In a June 22, 1894, letter Kaʻiulani asserted that she would prefer to marry for love unless it was necessary stating, "I feel it would be wrong if I married a man I did not love."[43]

Kūhiō married Elizabeth Kahanu Kaʻauwai.[44]



Kūhiō is memorialized by streets, beaches and surf breaks, Kuhio Beach Park in Poipu near his birthplace, 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.[6] Three of Hawaii's public schools also honor him: Kalani High School in Honolulu, Prince Jonah Kūhiō Elementary School in Honolulu and Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Elementary and Intermediate School in Papaikou, Hawaii, near Hilo on the Island of Hawaii.

See also



  1. ^ Mart Martin (2001). The almanac of women and minorities in American politics (2nd ed.). Westview Press. p. 276. ISBN 978-0-8133-9817-4.
  2. ^ "Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole". Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. National Park Service. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  3. ^ McGregor, Davianna Pōmaikaʻi; Silva, Noenoe K. (2003). "Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole – Hawaiian Aliʻi & Congressional delegate". Biography Hawai'i: Five Lives; A Series of Public Remembrances (PDF). Honolulu: University of Hawaii. pp. 1–7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  4. ^ United States Congress (1910). Official Congressional Directory. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 139.
  5. ^ Kamae 1980, p. 140.
  6. ^ a b c Pat Omandam (20 September 1999). "Kuhio's advice still relevant today". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
  7. ^ Quigg 1988, pp. 170–208.
  8. ^ Kam 2017, pp. 126–127.
  9. ^ Webb & Webb 1998, pp. 55, 58, 78, 82.
  10. ^ Quigg 1988, pp. 171, 177, 199, 205.
  11. ^ Ann Rayson (2004). "Chapter 3: Prince Kūhiō and the Hawaiian Homestead Act". Modern History of Hawaii. Bess Press. ISBN 978-1-57306-209-1.
  12. ^ Perry, Frank. Lighthouse Point: Illuminating Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz, Calif: Otter B Books, 2002, p.144-46.
  13. ^ Martin, Andy (9 April 2012). "Britain's original beach boys". The Times. London. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  14. ^ Museum of British Surfing (2012). "Hawaiian royals surf Bridlington – in 1890!". Museum of British Surfing. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  15. ^ Gault-Williams, Malcolm (2012). Legendary Surfers Volume 3: The 1930s. p. 255. ISBN 978-1-300-49071-5. OCLC 927369905.
  16. ^ a b Stu Dawrs (April–May 2002). "Civic Pride". Hana Hou! Vol. 5, No. 2.
  17. ^ a b US House of Representatives 2018, p. 114.
  18. ^ "Prince Cupid Will Make His Home In London". The San Francisco Call. San Francisco. 28 March 1900. p. 12. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  19. ^ a b United States Congress. "Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole (id: K000004)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  20. ^ Kamae 1980, p. 100.
  21. ^ McGregor, Davianna Pömaikaʻi. "Biography Hawai'i: Five Lives A Series of Public Remembrances: PRINCE JONAH KÜHIÖ KALANIANA'OLE HAWAIIAN ALI'I & CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATE (Univ. of Hawaii)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 June 2014.
  22. ^ Tsai, Michael (2 July 2006). "Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole". Honolulu Advertiser. Honolulu, HI, USA: Black Press. ISSN 1072-7191. OCLC 50065755, 9188286, 137348741. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  23. ^ Daws, Gavan (1968). Shoal of Time : a history of the Hawaiian Islands. Honolulu, HI, USA: University of Hawaii Press. p. 296. ISBN 978-0-8248-0324-7. OCLC 778392500. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  24. ^ Parker Widemann (February 1980). "Founding of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu". official web site. Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu.
  25. ^ a b "Kalanianaole, Jonah Kuhio, Prince office record". official archives. State of Hawaii. Archived from the original on 22 April 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
  26. ^ Harper 1922, p. 715-716.
  27. ^ a b Harper 1922, pp. 715–719.
  28. ^ Harper 1922, p. 717.
  29. ^ Yasutake 2017, p. 129.
  30. ^ Yasutake 2017, p. 128.
  31. ^ "Mrs. Pitman Get Credit For Bill. Wife of Hilo Man Instrumental In Securing Congressional Action on Hawaii Suffrage Measure". The Hawaiian Gazette. Vol. LII, no. 61. Honolulu. 30 July 1918. p. 8.
  32. ^ "Mrs. Pitman Gets Credit for Bill". The Honolulu Advertiser. 29 July 1918. p. 7. Retrieved 11 December 2020 – via
  33. ^ Cahill, Cathleen D. (2020). Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement. University of North Carolina Press. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-4696-5933-6.
  34. ^ Yasutake 2017, p. 130.
  35. ^ Yasutake 2017, pp. 130–136.
  36. ^ Harper 1922, p. 719.
  37. ^ Yasutake 2017, pp. 116, 135.
  38. ^ Rayson, Ann (2004). Modern History of Hawaii. Bess press. ISBN 1-57306-209-X. (a high school textbook on Hawaiian history, see especially chapter 3: "Prince Kūhiō and the Hawaiian Homestead Act")
  39. ^ Kam 2017, pp. 166–171.
  40. ^ Parker 2008, pp. 17, 35.
  41. ^ Kamae 1980, pp. 67–68.
  42. ^ US House of Representatives 2018, pp. 112–123.
  43. ^ a b Stassen-McLaughlin 1999, pp. 46–48.
  44. ^ Peterson 1984, pp. 189–191.



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

March 4, 1903 – January 7, 1922
Succeeded by