Governors of Oahu

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The Governor of Oʻahu (Hawaiian: Kiaʻaina o Oʻahu) was the royal governor or viceroy of the island of Oʻahu in the Kingdom of Hawaii. The Governor of Oʻahu resided at Honolulu and was usually a Hawaiian chief or prince and could even be a woman. The governor had authority over the island of Oahu and Honolulu, the kingdom's capital, and it was up to the governor to appoint lieutenant governors to assist them. The governor had replaced the old alii aimokus of the islands, but sovereignty remained with the king. Either the governor or the monarch had the power to call in foreign assistance in time of troubles. This occurred a few times, including the uprising of the Emmaites in 1874 when John Owen Dominis called for British and American assistance. Neither the governor nor monarch called for foreign assistance in January 1893 when John L. Stevens sent American troops into Honolulu.


In the 1840 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii it states:

There shall be four governors over these Hawaiian Islands - one for Hawaiʻi - one for Maui and the Islands adjacent - one for Oʻahu, and one for Kauaʻi and the adjacent Islands. All the governors, from Hawaiʻi to Kauaʻi shall be subject to the King.

The prerogatives of the governors and their duties, shall be as follows: Each governor shall have the general direction of the several tax gatherers of his island, and shall support them in the execution of all their orders which he considers to have been properly given, but shall pursue a course according to law, and not according to his own private views. He also shall preside over all the judges of his island, and shall see their sentences executed as above. He shall also appoint the judges and give them their certificates of office.

All the governors, from Hawaiʻi to Kauaʻi shall be subject not only to the King, but also to the Premier.

The governor shall be the superior over his particular island or islands. He shall have charge of the munitions of war, under the direction of the King, however, and the Premier. He shall have charge of the forts, the soldiery, the arms and all the implements of war. He shall receive the government dues and shall deliver over the same to the Premier. All important decisions rest with him in times of emergency, unless the King or Premier be present. He shall have charge of all the King's business on the island, the taxation, new improvements to be extended, and plans for the increase of wealth, and all officers shall be subject to him. He shall also have power to decide all questions, and transact all island business which is not by law assigned to others.

When either of the governors shall decease, then all the chiefs shall assemble at such place as the King shall appoint, and shall nominate a successor of the deceased governor, and whosoever they shall nominate and be approved by the King, he shall be the new governor.

List of Governors of Oʻahu[edit]

# Name Picture Birth Death Assumed Office Left Office Years in office Notes Monarch
Direct Rule by King Kamehameha I from Waikiki.
1 Kūihelani  ?  ? circa 1796? circa 1815? 9? [1] Kamehameha I
2 Isaac Davis ʻAikake
circa 1758 April, 1810  ? April, 1810? 9? Kamehameha I
3 Oliver Holmes 02 Nov 1777 06 Aug 1825 circa 1810?  ?  ? Kamehameha I
Kamehameha II
4 Lydia Namahana Piʻia
Lydia Namahana.jpg
circa 1787 September 12, 1829 circa ? circa 18..  ? Kamehameha II
Kamehameha III
5 Boki Kamāʻuleʻule
Boki Kamauleule.jpg
circa 1780 December, 1829 18.. December, 1829  ? Kamehameha III
6 Kuini Liliha
circa 1780 August 25, 1839 December, 1829 April 1, 1831 1 acting; widow of Governor Boki Kamehameha III
7 John Adams Kiiapalaoku Kuakini
John Adams Kuakini.jpg
circa 1789 December 9, 1844 April 1, 1831 circa 1833 2 acting Kamehameha III
8 Elizabeth Kīnaʻu Kaʻahumanu II
Elizabeth Kinau.jpg
circa 1805 April 4, 1839 circa 1833? April 4, 1839? 6? Kamehameha III
9 Mataio Kekūanāoʻa
circa 1793 November 4, 1868 November 17, 1846 February 18, 1864 18 widower of Kīnaʻu
Deputy N. Kahulanui
Kamehameha III
Kamehameha IV
Kamehameha V
10 John Owen Dominis
Gov. John Owen Dominis.jpg
March 10, 1832 August 27, 1891 February 18, 1864 October 4, 1886 22 first time Kamehameha V
11 Curtis Piʻehu ʻIaukea
Curtis Iaukea.jpg
December 13, 1855 March 5, 1940 October 4, 1886 August 5, 1887 1 Kalākaua
12 Antone Rosa
Antone Rosa.jpg
November 10, 1855 September 9, 1898 April 12, 1887 July 7, 1887 2 months acting Kalākaua
13 Archibald Scott Cleghorn
Archibald Scott Cleghorn (PP-69-5-022).jpg
November 15, 1835 November 1, 1910 July 7, 1887 July 26, 1887 19 days acting; first time Kalākaua
14 John Owen Dominis
Gov. John Owen Dominis.jpg
March 10, 1832 August 27, 1891 August 5, 1887 August 23, 1888 1 second time Kalākaua
15 John Owen Dominis
Gov. John Owen Dominis.jpg
March 10, 1832 August 27, 1891 March 2, 1891 November 11, 1891 eight months third time Liliuokalani
16 Archibald Scott Cleghorn
Archibald Scott Cleghorn (PP-69-5-022).jpg
November 15, 1835 November 1, 1910 November 11, 1891 February 28, 1893 2 years second time Liliuokalani


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Richard A. Greer (1998). "Along the Old Honolulu Waterfront". Hawaiian Journal of History 32 (Hawaii Historical Society). pp. 53–66. hdl:10524/430. 
  2. ^ "Governor of Oahu" (PDF). official archives. State of Hawaii. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  • Colin Newbury, Linacre College, Oxford University (2001). "Patronage and Bureaucracy in the Hawaiian Kingdom, 1840–1893". Pacific Studies. Brigham Young University Hawaii Campus. pp. 1–38. 

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