House of Kamehameha

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Royal Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Hawaii.svg
Country Hawaii
Parent house House of Keoua
Titles King, Queen, Prince, Princess, Aliʻi
Founded 1795
Founder Kamehameha I
Final ruler Kamehameha V
Current head extinct
Dissolution 1884 or 1903, exists as Bishop Estate

The House of Kamehameha (Hale O Kamehameha), or the Kamehameha Dynasty, was the reigning family of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi between the unification of the islands by Kamehameha I 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 freedom of religion and the promulgation of the Great Mahele, allowing private ownership of land for the first time in Hawaii.


Kamehameha I established his dynasty upon unifying the Hawaiian Islands to become the Kingdom of Hawaii

The dynasty developed from royalty of the Kona district of Hawaiʻi Island. They supported chief Kamehameha in gradually taking over control of first the other parts of the island of Hawaiʻi, and then the other islands of the Hawaiian Islands archipelago.

His father was Keōua Kalanikupuapaʻkalaninui the Chief of Kona, and his mother was Kekuʻiapoiwa niece of the reigning King Alapaʻi. Relations were wide: for example, Kamehameha's father had also been the father of Kekuʻiapoiwa, the wife of his son's rival Kīwalaʻō and both were parents of Kamehameha's most sacred wife Keōpūolani.

Kamehameha himself descended also from Aliʻi Aimoku of Oʻahu, Maui, Kauaʻi, and Molokaʻi since the princely or chief class (aliʻi) of the islands was rather intermarried, and legendarily all descended, chief Wākea the original star-born chief.

King Kamehameha III and Queen Kalama with their niece and nephews.

Expansion of realm[edit]

Kamehameha I started a series of wars of conquest and strategic alliances. Succeeding his brother as Aliʻi of Kohala and Kona in 1782, he set out to unify Hawaiʻi Island, and later to subdue the neighboring islands. He ultimately unified the whole of the Hawaiian islands into a single kingdom by 1810. His descendants ruled until the death of Kamehameha V on December 11, 1872.

Kamehameha Monarchs[edit]

The influence of the foreigners took a toll on the Kamehamehas. Alcoholism and foreign diseases to which the Native Hawaiians had no immunity were the main reason for 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.

Kamehameha V named his sister Princess Victoria Kamāmalu Kaʻahumanu heir, but she died in 1866. After the death of Kamehameha V in 1872 who had not named another heir, the dynasty ended. On his deathbed, he might have offered the throne to Bernice Pauahi Bishop who refused, and died an hour later. The Chiefs and Nobles nominated William Lunalilo who became the first elected monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom. He was the son of Charles Kanaina and Miriam Auhea Kekauluohi, a niece of Kamehameha I through her father Kalaimamahu, Kamehameha I's half-brother.


Bishop, who had rejected the offer of becoming the ruling monarch, died in 1884 and was the last of the house of Kamehameha in line to the throne. Her dying wishes to her husband, Charles Reed Bishop, were to use the estate for the education of the native Hawaiian people. He founded Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools. He made preparations for Bishop Estate to continue after his death which came in 1915. Bishop Estate continues to be a large land holder in Hawaii.

Family tree[edit]

Kalaniʻōpuʻu (k)
Kalola (w)
Keōua (k)
Kekuʻiapoiwa II (w)
Kānekapōlei (w)
Kekuiapoiwa Liliha
Kamehameha I
(The Great)
(died 1819)
Kalākua Kaheiheimālie
Kamehameha II
Pauli Kaʻōleiokū
*Kamehameha I saved Pauli after the Battle of Mokuʻōhai and is said to have claimed him as a son. Whether that is of natural or adopted status is not known.
Kamehameha III
Elizabeth Kīnaʻu
Kaʻahumanu II
Laura Kōnia
Abner Pākī
Keaweaweʻulaokalani I
Keaweaweulaokalani II
Queen Emma
Alexander Liholiho
Kamehameha IV
Lot Kapuāiwa
Kamehameha V
Victoria Kamāmalu
Kaʻahumanu IV
Ruth Keʻelikōlani
Charles Reed
Bernice Pauahi
Prince Albert
William Pitt
Keolaokalani Davis


External links[edit]